I lived a lot of years in expectation. Expectation of something good happening, someone acting a certain way, or fitting into a particular pair of jeans.
I would expect certain outcomes, crushed when things wouldn't happen the way I had hoped. I expected people to treat me a certain way, wounded when they wouldn't. And, of course, I expected near perfection of myself, livid when I didn't live up to my impossible standards.
The problem with expectation is this……when things don't meet your level of expectation, you can always bank on disappointment.
And disappointment brings shame.
It was a massive life-changer when I realized God had no expectation of me. I remember the day I sat in my little white kitchen, sobbing on top of a barstool. God didn't expect anything of me? How could this be? Didn't He expect me not to sin, to worship Him, to pray, to do all the right things?
For God to expect something from us means, if we don't do what He expects, He'll be disappointed. The problem with this mindset is, unconditional love and disappointment can't coexist.
Unconditional love means that it's without condition–it keeps no record of wrongs (I Cor 13:5). God hopes for the best in your life, because He knows what He's capable of.
Yes, He has a best way for you, because who doesn't want the best for their kid? Yes, He has a plan, because He sees the beginning and the end and He knows which way is safe! But when you make a bad decision, when you mess up, when you fall down, God isn't nodding His head in shame, feeling disappointed that you blew it again. He has a HOPE and a FUTURE for you (Jer 29:11). He turns all the things you screw up into something good, if you'll let Him (Romans 8:28). He believes in you, hopes in you, endures with you. Because LOVE NEVER FAILS (I Corinthians 13).
When you realize that God offers you grace and relationship instead of the expectation of a disappointed task-master, I promise you, you'll run to Him instead of running from Him.
When I expect Studhubs to always take out the trash, if he doesn't do it, I'll get disappointed. And where there's disappointment, there can't be grace. When I expect a person to value me more than they do, I guarantee you my feelings will get hurt, which means I'll want to pull away. That means, my love is conditional upon their behavior. If I set a goal for my book sales when God Loves Ugly comes out and they don't get to that expected number, I could feel like a failure.
But if I feel like a failure, how in the world am I going to be faithful with those of you who are being encouraged as I pour myself out in this blog every week? (:
Instead of putting expectation on circumstances and people that are far beyond your control, try to hope in the one guy who never changes–your Father. Hope in His promises. Hope in His love, His forgiveness, His grace. Those are things that will never, ever let you down. I promise. (:
Have you been placing expectation on yourself, on your friends, spouse, or circumstances? Has it only brought you heartache, sadness, and disappointment? Hand over expectation to God now. Release your vice-grip….let it go.
“God, I hand over my expectation of ______________. I place it in your hands. I will hope in you, God–in your promises, and in your character. In your grace and in your love. Amen.”
I love the song Hope's Anthem that the amazing William Matthews let me help write with him. When I move into expectation and out of hope, I sing this chorus over and over until my feeling match the truth:
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My hope is in you, God
I am steadfast, I will not be moved
I'm anchored, never shaken
All my hope is in you