Expectation; The Invisible Sabotager of Our Joy

Have you ever been sitting somewhere, looking at something in the distance, somewhat glazed over in a daydream type of stare? When you catch yourself, you blink, you pull back your vision & realize in the path of the long gaze was something directly in front of you that your eyes almost intentionally blurred out. In the same stare everything changed in front of your eyes when you re-directed what & how you focused.

You can also have these moments with the spiritual eyes of life. The things that are most obviously in our face are often the things we look past our entire lives. One day a light goes off, we retract our view, and all of a sudden the blurry becomes crystal clear. The blinders fall…. and we get it.

I had one of these this morning. You see when you are churning through life missing something that you know you are not seeing, you change your prayers. When asking God to remove the thing or heal the thing that doesn’t seem to fade, heal or leave, I always realize there is no learning in the removal. So the past few weeks I have been begging God to change my view. What am I missing God? Why have I cried too often lately because I feel the joy & the moments fading; life re-shifting, time passing me with hurdling speeds & I cannot hold on tight enough; To the people, to time. The memories of joy I have planned just aren’t happening….why? And as soon as I said, “I expected so much…. from this last year we’re home before Chase leaves for college-from Grace’s OT healing-from more quality time together as family-from this ministry you’ve called me to” As soon as I said I expected, God snapped His fingers & reminded me in a flood of thoughts & scriptures & devotionals, yes you did & that’s your problem: YOUR EXPECTATIONS, not MY PLAN. 

When we wipe our eyes from the fog of expectations we’ll be free to accept things as they really are, with eyes of appreciation. God designed the journey as He planned, not as we think it should be. Every time we feel let down over an outcome, we lessen who we say God is & what He can do- We live as if our faith is a myth.

So 40 years old & I sit in my daddy’s 1980’s Sweet Home AL shirt, leggings, polka dot UA socks & dirty hair, in the most non expected arrival of the revelation of the Holy Spirit, God arrives to say, drop the expectations & scoop up the appreciation of every person & thing around you & let me do my job, the job you say you trust me with every morning. You say you give yourself, your marriage, your kids, your prayers, to me, but when I work my plan through these, you hang your head in disappointment; like it was ‘supposed’ to be different/better since you assumed the turnout on my behalf in advance. Do you want the holy & the joy only I can provide or do you think your list of ideas & outcomes are better than mine? Do you want me to perform to your life list or do you want to love & trust me so I can leave you awestruck in my ability & promise? When I was all you had, did I not give you miracles that even your daughter’s doctor’s can’t explain? Did I not use your family’s journey as one of the biggest births of testimony & ministry that still leaves you drop jawed? —He said to me

And with that, I found my Christmas gift. The gift of God that I get to unwrap every day. Today I give Him expectation & He starts to give me back my joy. Joy only found through appreciation….in ALL things & circumstances, not just the ones that feel good or that we ask for- layers peel & in that weird moment, I get it.

When my daughter is delivered from an OT fear only to replace it with another: appreciate. Appreciate the fact that God allowed that triple wrapped cord around her neck the night she was born 5wks early, not to give her brain damage. When her thyroid levels are off the charts & she can’t control herself: appreciate. Appreciate that when she laid cold & nude on the NICU team table & her heart stopped & her breathing stopped, that it wasn’t the bag the nurse pumped into her lungs that gave her life back, it was the Almighty who breathed the breath of Heaven into her, along with His plan: appreciate. When your Senior is offered 2 full tuition scholarships to major Universities where it’s extremely difficult to receive them, but may graduate top 11% not top 10% (like you expected) because he made mistakes Freshman year: appreciate. Appreciate that when you were a pregnant single momma, 22yrs old sitting on a couch after working a 15 hr shift at a Bbq restaurant in tiny Moulton, AL, that God spoke audibly to you for the 1st time in your life about the anointing that was coming for your baby son. This unfolding was part of the promise. Stop expecting. Stop being selfish. Appreciate. When other teens are having sex, drinking & smoking pot, but yours isn’t: appreciate. When teens are selfish, but yours works long hours after a heavy school day to save his money for college: appreciate. When your husband works layers of hours so you can be home to attend to the needs of the family for 4.5 yrs stop remembering the nice salary you walked away from: appreciate. When you look in the mirror stop looking at the younger version of the woman who should’ve known better than to treat you like she did, the one who abandoned you & start looking at the older version of your kids faces: appreciate. Appreciate a new legacy. Appreciate that God turned what could’ve been an extremely messy life for all 4 of us, into a message of extreme hope & fulfillment of what He says. EVERY word of God proves true— Doesn’t it though? {ie. Proverbs 30:5} 

I’ll leave you with a wonderful excerpt & reminder from my favorite advent devotional this morning:

Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift

Expectations can ride like highwaymen, ransacking joy, killing relationships. 

In the wilderness there are few roads, so Christ is the only Way. 

Rest here.

The wilderness offers you grace: we are most prepared for Christ when we are mostly not prepared.

Rest here.

There is only room in us when we are done with us.

You are unconditionally accepted & wanted because you merely know of Him:

you are related to Him by blood.

He comes for you in the wilderness. 

You are most prepared for Christmas when you are done trying to make your performance 

into His gift & instead revel in His presence as the gift.

You can feel it, even now.

Your Christmas becoming more.

Becoming miracle.

Ask Him today to take your secular tasks & turn them into something sacred.

Lay down your expectations for appreciation.

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*any bold emphasis above, mine

 

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