What Are Your Expectations?

Jesus, faith, trust, inspirationI’ve heard it said that expectations are premeditated resentments. Although the statement rang true, a recent experience took the meaning to a whole new level.

A situation I was in fell far short of my expectations. Going into it, I wasn’t consciously aware of the expectations I held. That’s how sneaky they can be!

Not only did I come away upset, there was also resentment towards the person that I felt was responsible for my disappointment. I’m ashamed to say that it took me several days of nursing my wounded feelings before I fully realized my part in this.

It’s impossible for another person to know my expectations. How can they when I am not fully aware of them? Even if I am able to vocalize what I expect, I’m sure there is more that I just assume. Variables and the unexpected come into play, throwing off even the best laid plans. The only thing I can be certain of is my inability to control the final outcome.

My life works much better when I put my complete faith and trust in Jesus. I have found that the fewer expectations I have, the more he is able to work. In essence I believe this is because I stop resisting the changes to my plans.

The only expectation that works for me is to know Jesus is able to handle anything that comes my way and to use it for his greater purpose.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ( Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

How Tall are You?

quote, inspiration, Jesus, messageI hadn’t seen my thirteen year-old granddaughter in a few weeks and went to give her a big hug. Something felt different and I realized she now surpassed me in height.

When I commented on this she crouched down to make me appear taller. I asked her to stand back up again and told her that I never wanted her to be “less than” she really was.

Later, I explained that we are all equal in God’s sight. She has special talents and abilities to share with the world and playing small robs others of the gifts she has to share.

In the book, Return to Love, Marianne Williams said “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

This may have been a deep message to give someone my granddaughter’s age. I understand what a crucial time this is in her life and I remember the self-doubts that started in my teens and continued for many years.

They are still able to interfere with my life today. Perhaps the message was as much for me as it was for her. My talents and abilities are not the same as hers but each of us is an important part of the body of Christ. As such we need to rise to our full potential and use the gifts we’ve been given.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (Romans 12:4-6 NLT)

Do You Wear a Mask?

authentic, Jesus, strength
My husband and I recently attended an event called Behind the Masque. It was mandatory for everyone attending to wear a mask. I had discovered that it wasn’t easy to fit a mask over my glasses so chose to have one painted on.

After I told the face painter that I liked turquoise and had a book coming out with the word Dragonflies in the title she came up with the amazing design you see pictured here. It was a work of art and seemed such a shame to have the canvas washed clean later that night.

Although people wore masks during the evening, we could usually tell who was behind them. This made me think of the masks I have hidden behind in my life. Maybe I haven’t hidden quite as well as I thought!

My struggle has been to be authentic. My ego doesn’t want to let people know that everything in my life isn’t perfect. They may not like me if they really know what’s behind this mask of confidence and self-assurance.

I was speaking to a friend about this and we agreed that wearing these masks is exhausting. She had recently taken hers off and was amazed at the new depth in her relationships.

In order to remove my mask I had to stop thinking I needed to do things on my own strength. Instead, I allow Jesus to take control. He has told us that he works best in our weakness. No I don’t see my weakness as a bad thing, but as an opportunity to let his strength work through me.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)

Out of My Control

prayer, God, inspiration
image from bing.com
In the early morning hours, we drove to an airport shuttle service. We entered the lot and followed another vehicle to the appointed row. After parking and unloading our luggage we walked stand by the couple from the other car.

The husband was removing the luggage and the wife paced anxiously behind him. We said, “Good Morning,” to them and the only response came from her. She said, “We’re running late. I hope we don’t miss our flight.”

The shuttle bus slowly worked its way down our row, picking up groups of people along the way. The woman became more agitated, constantly muttering about missing the flight.

A few more such comments were made as she took her seat on the bus. Just before we exited the lot, she realized that her purse wasn’t with her. Calling out to the driver, she said she had left her purse in the car and we needed to go back. The driver obliged but of course this delayed all of us in getting to the airport.
We were flying on different airlines so don’t know if she ended up missing her flight. What I do know is that she reminded me of a very important lesson.

It serves no purpose to worry about things I have no control over. What I need to do is to take care of the small details that are within my control. In this way I will cause less stress not only in my own life but also in those around me. When I do my part and then leave the rest up to God, life runs much smoother.

A wise man once told me, “It’s no use laying awake at night worrying about your problems. God’s up anyway so give them to him.” This advice has served me well. It is amazing how much better I feel when I pray and leave the things out of my control in the hands of my heavenly father.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Luke 12:25 NIV

Imperfections

shells, God, photos,No matter how hard I try, I always seem to write on an angle. It has also been pointed out to me that I don’t hold a camera straight when I take a picture. More than once I wrote in the sand, dotted the i’s with shells and took a picture. The glare of the sun made it difficult to see what the picture would be like before I took it.

This picture was important to me as it was something I wanted to share. My efforts were not what I’d hoped for and I was disappointed. Wondering if there would be another opportunity, I sensed God telling me not to worry. He is not looking for perfection from me.

The two words I was writing were inspire and inspiration. For reasons I will never understand, God has chosen to inspire me and has given me the task of passing this inspiration on to others. This is nothing I earned or deserved. Many times I have been uncertain about sharing my thoughts. The words often don’t seem polished enough to pass on.

What I have learned, is that God wants me to share what he has put on my heart. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just authentic. I have heard that God does not call the qualified; he calls the willing and then qualifies them. I am living proof of this. When I allow him to use my imperfections, it inspires others that he will do the same for them.

But he said to me, “My grace is made sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Gift Baskets

My first gift basket
My first gift basket

The owner of the store I work in is known for the amazing gift baskets she creates. When she wanted to teach me how to do them, I panicked. Feeling that I don’t have a flair for that sort of thing had me terrified to even attempt it. As she guided me through the creative process, I secretly hoped the day would never come when I would have to make one on my own.

Through her encouragement and belief in me, I slowly gained confidence. Then the fateful day came when it was necessary for me to create a basket completely on my own. The fact that I enjoyed picking out and arranging the items in the basket surprised me. After wrapping it and making a bow, I stood back and admired what I had created. I even took a picture of the finished product! The saying “I didn’t know what I could do until I did it” came to mind.

Thinking about this, I realize how many times I have been stopped in my tracks by something I thought I couldn’t do. Now I realize that just because it’s something I’ve never done before, doesn’t mean I can’t do it! When I stop and pray about the situation, Jesus guides me every step of the way. Through Him, I am able to accomplish far more than I ever thought possible. When those negative, “I can’t do it” thoughts enter my mind, I just need to think of the gift baskets and remember that all things are possible through Christ Jesus.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Be inspired this week!