While at service this past Sunday I was enlightened when the speaker talked about expectations.
He characterized expectations as mental pictures of what we believe life should be or what should happen.
All in all these mental pictures really are simply illusions. We have illusions of what we think should and will happen. These mental illusions and our belief that they will occur forms the base of much of our disappointment. It’s a powerful truth and one that I’ve had to come to grips with both in my own personal and professional lives. This is not to say we should not have any expectations. But often our mental pictures are distorted.
I recently went in for my eye examine, and in doing so the doctor consistently had me look at the eye chart while he placed lenses over my eyes and asked me to evaluate which image was better. Life is often similar in that we “see through a glass darkly” at reality, only having a limited scope to see accurately.
The reality is that expectations or mental images are not limited to just myself but to all of us. As such we must often mange not just our own illusions about the way thing should be but also those around us.
The speaker listed 6 areas that he uses and that I will adopt in my own life about expectations. These 6 things I find can unlock some secrets to happiness in our life.
Here’s number one: Life is difficult.
This doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun, or that one can’t find love, riches, fame etc. But that life is not just a series of perpetual positive experiences. People die, hope fade, and dreams can die, justice is not always served this side of Heaven, and dang nabit sometimes the bad guy actually wins. We get sick and despite all the faith we have in God or in our ability to overcome. Sometimes we don’t overcome the situation. We fail. When I read my Bible I don’t see anywhere where Jesus told his followers they would have a life of ease. What I read is…”in this life ye shall have tribulation.” “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.” What I do know of a surety is that he’s promised to walk with me during said trials and tribulations. But never that he would remove all problems from my life.
I think part of disillusionment with God is that often it’s just the opposite he doesn’t take the pain away. It’s almost arrogant to think on some level that if God would sacrifice his own son why we think he won’t on some much smaller level allow us to experience pain?
So I’m going to have difficulties on the job at times. My relationships sometimes will NOT measure up to what I expected. In fact some relationships will downright test my mettle to live in the light of my professed convictions. There will be misunderstandings. I will lose loved ones. Life is difficult.
When it’s all said and done, He’s promised to be there through it all.
I once read this scripture and joked…
Psa 46:1-3 … God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
I remember asking in prayer if we could have a lil less of the mountains be carried into the sea. But as in this scripture the Maker makes it clear. His presence in all things is something we can rely on, and that’s an expectation I can handle.