Monday, May 24, 2010

Expectations

Photobucket

So lets be honest, raise your hand if this applies to you. No, not the panda mating part, but the being disappointed part. Everyone has been a victim of being disappointed by others. We set expectations of our friends and family and when those expectations are not met, we get upset and sometimes even angry and bitter. However, as humans we already know that we're going to fail. We are not perfect and we all make mistakes and fall short of the glory of God and we certainly all fall short of the expectations of others. So what's the point of even having expectations if they're not going to be met? Well, there's not one. Bare with me on this post, it's kind of long, but I promise it's well worth it!

Photobucket

"I've found that if you have a goal, you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you're never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya...it feels phenomenal". We all laughed when we heard Vince Vaughn say these words in the movie Dodgeball (one of the best movies of ALL TIME by the way), but ol' Peter LaFleur had it right! Can we apply that quote to expectations? Yes, we certainly can!

Shattered expectations usually start off small; a friend canceling on you when they know how much you needed them, a significant other cheating on you, or a family member lying to you. Once these things happen more and more throughout your life, you start to question if anyone out there REALLY loves you. You get angry at that friend, boyfriend or family member and you hold a grudge for what they did and it never goes away. You spend so much time being angry and bitter that it ends up overtaking you and becoming who you are. I've experienced that before, just like all of you have. The real questions is this....how do we deal with it?

One of the best quotes I've ever heard anyone say is "You can't control what others do, you can only control how you react to it". I've been pretty much living by this quote the past couple of years. Anytime someone disappoints me and I want to get angry, I remind myself that I have to control my reactions. This leads me to the reason for this post. My old pastor from high school when I went to First Baptist Church of Hoover, Bo Brown, leads a church in Alabaster that I went to with Ashley Matherson a couple of weeks ago. I've missed Bo so much. He always spells out the scriptures for people with no creativity (aka, ME). I didn't go to church there this past Sunday, but he posted a facebook status about the overall message. The message was this:

"Expectations of others - Give them up
Expectations of God - Lift them up
Expectations of ourselves - Toughen up"

WOW! I don't think anyone could have said it better. First up to discuss is the expectations of others. You know the best way to get rid of the anger and resentment that comes with people disappointing you? To not have expectations. We are all flawed and imperfect. God commands us to love anyone, give everything, and to expect nothing in return.

I gave up on expectations for other people a long time ago, but not for this purpose. I gave up having expectations because I knew people would fail me since it seemed to happen so much. It's human nature. But when I did that, something happened that I wasn't anticipating. I was happy. ALL THE TIME. It was a sort of "freeing" experience. I let go of expectations of others and all of a sudden, my eyes were opened. The by-product of letting go of those expectations was appreciation and gratefulness for the things that they do. I was grateful for people doing and saying things to me and I showed that gratitude in return, which made them happy and making them happy in turn made me happy. I didn't see the acts of kindness of other people before because I expected it.

When you are humble and show gratefulness for the small things in life, you will be so much happier. Don't expect someone to do something for you because they're your friend or because they're you family member. EXPECT NOTHING. If you show the people in your life how grateful you are for them and all they do for you (even if you do kind of expect it from them), they will want to do things for you more often because they know you appreciate it and recognize the fact that they didn't have to do anything at all, but CHOSE TO. Doing that helps remind us that even the closest person to you (best friend, spouse, parent, etc.) will inevitably fail you at some point. The key is to remember all the other places where they excelled. When someone disappoints you, try to remember all the times in the past where they've been there or done something that they didn't have to do and be grateful for that. People can't be perfect at all, but they certainly can't be perfect all the time.

Now onto the expectations of God. We should have expectations of God and we should lift them up to Him. That sounds so bad right? This guy sent his son to die on the cross for us and here we are saying we have expectations of Him?? Doesn't sound right. Well, the reason we do have expectations of God is because unlike us, He NEVER fails. He is always there, even when we don't realize it. God doesn't exaggerate either. If He says He will provide, He will provide. We need to have faith in Him, we need to believe in miracles.

Do you think that something so outlandish and unlikely as parting the Red Sea was something Moses thought God would do? Probably not, but he had faith that God would deliver whatever way He saw fit. It doesn't seem likely that one man could simply touch the hurt and injured and they would instantly be healed, but Jesus did that many times. God doesn't exaggerate. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! God wants us to have expectations of Him because by having those expectations, it shows you have faith that He will meet them. Be cautious though, just because God doesn't deliver the way you want Him to, doesn't mean He didn't deliver.

And finally, expectations of ourselves. What Bo means when he said we need to toughen up is that we need to be tougher on ourselves and not tough on others. Don't judge someone for their faults, we all have them. They may not be the same faults as the person you're judging, but you have faults in other areas. Everyone is a sinner, even pastors. If you feel the need to judge someone, judge yourself. Be tough on yourself. Get mad at yourself when you catch yourself in sin and pray for forgiveness. It's not about other people. It's about YOU and YOUR relationship with God.

As Christians, we sometimes see our christian friends doing something bad or un-christian and sometimes our gut instinct is to think "Wow, so and so really isn't being very Christian right now". Guess what...you were just un-Christian too in making that judgement. It is not our jobs to fix other people, it is our jobs to fix ourselves and PRAY for other people.

Regardless of how well you know a person, you will never know their heart like God does. Just because you saw, with your own eyes, a person do something bad doesn't mean that that person didn't go home and feel so awful about it and pray for forgiveness and strength not to make that mistake again, which, by the way, you wouldn't see with your own eyes. You don't know someone's heart. Only God does. Let Him be the one to make the judgement, it's His job! Judge yourself first before judging others and be harder on yourself than you are on others.

Bo mentioned saying the following prayer:

Lord, I pray for three things...
A heart of fire for Thee,
A heart of flesh for others,
and a heart of iron towards myself.

I hope this will help some of you the way it has helped me :)

10 comments:

Lauren K said...

I totally agree! It's tough to have such high expectations of everything/everyone. I think I learned this most when I was planning my wedding. I really struggled with this this past weekend.

Thanks for this post, I needed a reminder!

Samantha said...

You're right on the money. Steve calls it pessimism, but I disagree. I just don't expect anything, and so when people come through for me I am thrilled. And I don't waste time being disappointed. Great post!

Heather Marie said...

Hey! I love your blog and I love this post. I am a teacher and I am constantly telling my children, "You have a huge job worrying about what you are doing, you don't have time to worry about what other people are doing." I try and remind myself often that I need to worry more about me and not about what others are doing. I have my own flaws that I need to work on!

Jilly said...

You and your new hubby are so cute! Your 101 list is a great idea....I need to make one too, but I would lose it most likely! Found you on blogflow~~~ Jilly
www.brycenbaby.blogspot.com

Jenny said...

Marcie.... This just helped me so much! I needed to read this! For some reason your blog was the first one I clicked on this morning! And now I know why! If you don't mind I am going to print this blog out and keep it at my desk?! Its great having Christian friends that blog!

I hope you have a gret week!

Gina said...

Hi Marcie - thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a great post - the part about God delivering (maybe not in the way we expected) made me think of a quote I heard in an episode of MASH (I know, totally random!) - the priest told a soldier "God answers all prayers - sometimes the answer is no" - that has always stuck with me!

Laura Sue said...

thanks for taking the time to write this. i really needed to read it today.

Tamara said...

Hey thanks for the invite. You are officially followed. :-)

missykade said...

Following you, please follow back:)
http://lucasjourneyspd.blogspot.com/

Kim Darnell said...

that's great, Marcie! I really enjoyed reading your list of things that you're going to do...:)

Archive