As a child, teenager and young adult we have dreams and desires for our life. As time grows closer for those things to happen our excitement wells. Some things I hoped to encounter in my life were/are: a loving joyful marriage, going to college, being a mother, owning my own home, financial stability. Some of these things have happened, some haven’t. Some have happened only after serious bumps in the road. What do we do in those times when it looks like our dreams are far off or seem impossible? What do we do when what really happens, is a far cry of our expectations?
I am all too familiar with expectations falling short as I’m sure many of you are as well. As for my list above: I got married young but it didn’t work out. We owned a home but filed bankruptcy at the time of our divorce. I’ve had three miscarriages and when I did become a mother it wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s much harder … and so much greater at the same time. The same thing happened with homeschooling. When I started out I had very different thoughts of what should happen then I do now.
Expectations aren’t just for the big things in life but the little things as well. Many of us get up in the morning and expect our day to go in a certain way. We have a schedule or order to follow. A flow we go with. We have expectations with people we come in contact with. We want our kids to listen to us, our spouse to love and support us and our friends to be there for us. These aren’t bad or wrong things to expect but I’ve noticed that when things don’t go as I hoped, especially with loved ones or people I respect, it throws me for a loop. I get angry, grumbly… down right unpleasant to be around. Sometimes even synicial, sarcastic. Hurt or weepy.
I remember a few years ago a lady in my church was going through a difficult time. The Lord prompted me to share with her a promise the He had for her. I wasn’t very close to her so I thought, “I don’t think so. She’ll think I’m crazy.” Still I felt the Lord prompting me. As opportunity was growing closer my heart was beating faster til I felt like it would beat out of my chest. So… I stepped out in faith and trusted that this is what God was telling me to do. I went up to her and shared with her what the Lord told me. She smiled at me but I could tell it wasn’t genuine. As she began speaking I could tell she didn’t believe me and wasn’t accepting what I was telling her. To make a long story short, she was thankful I was trying to encourage her but hasn’t seen any of God’s promises come true for her, only the opposite. I stood there not sure how to handle the situation. Afterward I asked the Lord what happened? I did what I was told. Why the negative response? The Lord showed me that it was only my job to do what I was told. I’m not responsible for the way she responds. The Lord still delighted in my obedience and faith.
I saw a quote once that said, “Expectations are the root of pain.” When our expectations are not meet there often is pain. We must release our hurt and our expectations to the Lord and allow Him to interrupt our daily lives in whatever fashion He sees fit. Sometimes our dashed hopes or dreams are a result of our sin or someone else’s sin having it’s effect on us. Other times the Lord asks us to sacrifice a dream we’ve held on to for so long. Just like Abraham being willing to sacrifice his only son. That was the promise him as Sarah had been waiting for. Their miracle. Their promise that would fulfill all the other promises God gave them. Yet he was obedient and trusted God had a plan. God may be asking us to sacrifice some of our dreams. It’s so hard to let go BUT, when we do He replaces that dream with plans of His own. Plans that ALWAYS give Him glory and He will do all of this through you, if you’ll let Him. We usually can’t see what His plans are when He’s asking us to give Him everything but I will tell you His plan is bigger and better then ours. The joy and peace and amazing sense of purpose you get when you walk down His path is far greater then anything you expected of your dream. After all, it’s not about us anyway.
As for the list of dreams I started out with, I told you some that didn’t get fulfilled but here’s the rest of the story. He has now given me a wonderful marriage with the best guy ever! I have four beautiful children and am blessed to be able to stay home with them and raise them in the ways of the Lord. Through several amazing miracles from God, we own our home. I still want to go to college and have pursued it several times but always come to a wall that stops me. I was getting very frustrated with this awhile ago but the Lord is showing me to stay content. He has plans for me, I’ve not been forgotten. It’s all in His timing. When I look back on all the things He’s done for me I know that is true.
Release your expectations to Him and let Him do what He sees fit with your life.