Well girls… it’s late. It’s 11:32pm and way past my bedtime. What happened to me? I used to be able to stay up till the sun was practically rising. I was young, wild, and free! Now I feel like an old lady who only wants to sit on my cozy couch, drink a cup of tea and lay my head on my pillow by 10:30. Life. It passes by so quickly. And I’m not even that old. ha So I’ll be honest… like my friend Heather wrote the other day.. I am just not in the mood to sit and write to you all. I would much rather be sleeping. Must be the post traveling “flu”. The circumstances of the week have left me to write at the very last minute, so my apologies if this comes across a little confusing or jumbled. I pray that the Spirit will speak through me tonight in the midst of my weariness and hopefully meet your expectations. 😉
Even though I’m just now sitting down to write, I have been thinking about the very essence of what I would like to write about. Throughout the week I have been talking to a lot of friends who have been going through significant struggles. Some battling depression, some battling indecision, a lot of insecurity and hopelessness. And as I began to think about them and pray for them I felt like I began to look into a dusty mirror. I began to see myself in different times of life with the same struggles and insecurities and I felt like the Lord really spoke to me. I feel like certain feelings of depression or worry or hopelessness can stem from the very root of expectations. We all have them dont we? Whether we are aware of them or whether it presses secretly within our hearts and we only come to find them when they are not met.
For me It started as a little girl. Barbies were apart of my every day life. I would always have a romantic plot to every story I made up with them. Barbie would always find Ken in the end and they would experience some kind of conflict that would keep them a part and build up the tension. But Ken would eventually find her and chase after her until he had her. They would get married, raise a family and of course live happily ever after. Slowly this began an expectation in me for myself. I expected to meet a guy, fall in love, he would then chase after me until he had me, we would get married by the age of 21, have a beautiful family filled with boys and girls who were all well mannered and obedient and life would be good. But my expectations were not at all what God had planned. When my high school boyfriend ended up not being the man I was going to marry I began to panic. I became depressed and hopeless. When the college of my choice ended up not being what I thought it would, I became fearful and unsure. When my good friend let me down and wasn’t the type of friend I thought she should be I became discouraged and frustrated. When I hit the age of 23 and still wasn’t married I was annoyed and a little freaked out. Crap! I was supposed to have kids by now! All my friends are getting married!! When I met Mike and he didn’t meet the expectations I had in my head of the tall, dark, and stable 9-5 job kind a guy that my dad was I became confused, indecisive and anxious. When I eventually had kids and found that my expectations of what kind of mother I would be were thrown out the window- I began to believe lies about myself that led to sadness, anger, shame and again hopelessness.
God has really blessed me girls! Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful. However, life sure didn’t happen the way I thought it would. It sure didn’t happen when I wanted it to. And a lot of my expectations were shattered when they eventually lined up to the will of God. We ask for it all the time right? Not my will, but yours be done Lord. But do we really mean it? Are we really willing to lay our hearts and plans down on the line in order for God’s work to be done in our lives? Are we willing to let go of the ideas of how we think our life should go and give complete control over to the Lord? And are we willing to search our hearts today and see what expectations may be lingering without us even being aware of them?
” The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”- Prov. 16:9
” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will HEAR you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”- Jeremiah 29:11-13
Hear me when I say this- The issue does not lie with having desires and plans for your life. God has given you desires and He sees them and knows them well. The problem forms when we hold onto those plans and desires with a death grip and expect them to happen the way we want them to. We begin to believe that we know what’s best for our life and nothing can change that. It’s when our desires become our idols and then God changes our plan of action so we freak out and begin to fear and begin to doubt the goodness of God. Here is where our joy begins to shatter and we see that our hope has never been in God, but has been in ourselves all along. I still battle with opening my grip and laying down all the expectations that I not only have for my life, but also the expectations I have for myself. Ya know?? Aghhh- Lord strip us of expectations!! And I pray that as we let go, God will give us the grace to teach us how to be content in any circumstance and the grace to hear His voice when we seek Him with our whole heart. (Phil 4)
In all of this I have come to find a few truths. Even when my expectations happen to be met, I still find something to be discontent about. And when my expectations are met with a different plan from God, I have come to find that His way really is what is best. And in everything, I wish I would have laid down my own will a whole lot more to experience the peace of God’s path, rather than the anxiety of fighting against it. I want to live my life expecting God. Expecting Him to act. Expecting Him to comfort. Expecting Him to love me, hold me when I cry, listen to me, and carry me down the path that may be windy and may be bumpy, but is full of life, beauty and His promises that He is for me and for my good. And through that I want to learn to be content with every thing He has handed to me and will hand me as I walk forward one step at a time.
What expectations do you carry and need to let go of today? Are there plans in your heart that you need to carry with open hands and begin trusting in God’s plan for your life? Are there expectations that you have had that have not been met only to leave you with disappointment and hopelessness? If so, may I encourage you and myself. You are in the hands of the Almighty God. He is far bigger than any plan that we may have. And He loves you. He is taking care of you and bringing you to a place of glory. There are troubles and pain in this life, but there is a God who heals, comforts and is overjoyed in giving His children good things. His plan is perfect for you and was created even before you were born. We may not always understand His ways or agree with the life He has given us… but we can surely rely on His goodness and love and hold on to the promises that He is for us! And He most definitely has a plan! He will never give up on us or leave us out to dry. He is working in your life right now. He just desires you to take your eyes off of yourself and place them on His face. For He sees you, He sees your desires and He’s asking you to trust Him every step of the way. Let go of the disappointments, the expectations you have for yourself and your life, and expect God to move in ways that will bring you hope and true joy.