Lately, not much in life is going quite as expected.
Case in point, I spent several hours in Labor & Delivery triage one morning this week, where our baby girl and I were monitored to ensure I wasn’t going into preterm labor. We are all thrilled to meet her, but she needs to stay put for another several weeks! Waking up that day, I wondered what I would do with the kiddos all morning—options such as pool or park made their way to my mental list.
Spending time at the hospital and having my husband rearrange his day to take care of the kiddos did not.
It’s just the latest example in a string of circumstances that aren’t mirroring what I expected or planned—and as any of you mamas out there know, the need to “nest” and plan and control things skyrockets with the approach of a new baby. Indeed, I find the sweet term “nesting” to be synonymous with “trying to doing everything in my hormonal power to control circumstances in preparation for circumstances over which I have no control.”
Or something to that effect.
In moments of self-reflection, I’m amazed at just how many expectations I place on all kinds of things—and very often without even realizing it! I’m not always aware of the “plan” I have until things go off plan, and I’m left feeling disappointed, confused, or frustrated.
Can you relate? Oftentimes, many of our biggest messes find their genesis in the unmet expectations we place on people and things. When we’re each carrying around our own agendas, its no wonder life can feel so full of conflict and disappointments!
It seems that creating expectations is a part of our very DNA—a highly human and normal thing to do. God is acutely aware of this, for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14 NIV). And in His goodness and compassion, He provided the outlet for all our expectations by sending us Jesus.
I believe God’s heart for us is that we would take our expectations—every single one—and bring them to the feet of Jesus, placing them all in the cool shadow of the cross.
God’s Word and His promises are the only thing upon which we can place our expectations and know with certainty that we won’t face disappointment. The things of this world will leave us in a near perpetual state of let down, but in Him we are promised an enduring hope [that] does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Romans 5:5 NIV).
I don’t know about you, but my little organizing and planning heart loves that I can continue forming expectations—just as long as I file them in the proper place:
I can expect to never be left alone (see John 14:18).
I can expect that all things—good and bad—will be used and redeemed for my ultimate good and God’s ultimate glory (see Romans 8:28).
I can expect that God has a plan and is making a way, even when the path up ahead seems muddied and too difficult (see Jeremiah 29:11).
I can expect the consistency and steadiness of character from God that I so very much crave in this fickle world (see Hebrews 13:8).
Are you finding yourself disappointed and frustrated these days? Then let me encourage you to dig into God’s word, and find a promise or two that speaks to your weary heart. Find that promise, write it on a notecard, and let the whisper of those life-giving words be ever on your lips.
Ask Him for help in transferring your expectations from the people and things of this world to the arms of Jesus alone. I find myself needing to pray this prayer on a daily basis.
Stepping out in total reliance on the promises of God is a lot like watching baby birds learning to fly. It’s terrifying as all get out, and at first it seems like a really dumb idea … but then, like some kind of supernatural magic, those little birds leave the nest and soar.
And so will you.
“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
~ William Carey