Ah, the wedding.
The bride exuded joy, confidence and beauty. The groom stood tall, handsome, and beamed as he gazed into his new wife’s eyes. Their personalized vows left guests asking for a copy and remarking at the God-honoring day. Weather, while hot, provided near perfect conditions in a stunning venue.
It was an amazing day. So many expectations met and exceeded.
Expectations. By definition: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of. Or, as I like to think of it, having my mind set on something going a specific direction or anticipating a certain outcome. Generally speaking, I have not found that holding firm expectations is a particularly successful way to live.
Expectations come in all shapes and sizes and they sneak into our daily choices and conversations, often without recognition. I wake on a work morning believing that I’ll have breakfast, gather my belongings and head to the office. But what if my car won’t start or I get a flat tire en route? I may not have articulated my expectation of a reliable vehicle but it was there and when the engine doesn’t turn over, I am disappointed, annoyed, perhaps even angry that my car let me down.
It begs the question, do expectations lead to entitlement? They certainly lurk in the shadows of conflict, internal and with others, and mingle with motives and choices. Do I take time to consider what I’m really hoping for and is it in keeping with God’s best for me?
Paula Rinehart says it this way:
“Where dreams and expectations don’t work out—you are being issued the invitation of your life. Disappointment is, strangely enough, a doorway to the real adventure. It’s the point where you start to leave behind most of your notions of how your story should read—and enter into your relationship with God as a journey.”
I have found a great deal of freedom in opening my hands to the Lord – physically unclenching fists and laying open palms up – as a deliberate act of letting go of the outcome. My life has taken unanticipated twists, valleys, stalls and accelerations, most of which I didn’t see coming yet stitch together the fabric of who I am.
Perhaps C.S. Lewis sums it up best:
“The greatest thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s imagination.”
What do you expect today?
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst