One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to pile all the boys into the car and drive through the bazillion lights at Saluda Shoals Holiday Lights on the River! This year, my expectations were dreamily exceeded while I held my darling little two-year old boy as he pointed and exclaimed in wonder at all the twinkling beauty of Christmas.
But, expectations can easily get me into trouble.
I expect my children to act this way. Oops.
I expect my friend to respond this way to my gift. Ut-oh.
I expect my husband to affirm my new outfit in this way. Bummer.
I expect a certain quality of a product I buy over the internet to be like this. Not so.
And even worse, when I place expectations on people as an assumed source for my validation, oh boy, do I ever get into trouble! I am usually left disappointed, irritated, and feeling bad about myself.
- When my children don’t meet my expectation of behavior, I confront the truth that maybe I’m just not a good mom.
- When my friend isn’t as excited about receiving her gift as I was in giving it, I walk away feeling unappreciated.
- When my husband doesn’t mention how cute and young and snazzy I am in my new outfit that took hours to pick out, I am hurt and feel old and fat and foolish.
- When I open the anticipated box of my internet goodie and realize that it is smaller and flimsier than I expected, I am left frustrated and disappointed.
Unmet expectations can easily become powerful, painful arrows.
But WHAT IF…there was one expectation that will NEVER be disappointed? WHAT IF…there was a guarantee that what you expect will ALWAYS happen? Wouldn’t that be a truly wonderful gift?
Today, we unwrap:
I will betroth you to Me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in loving-kindness and mercy.
I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. Hosea 2:19-20
The promised, betrothed truth: God is love. And we can always expect God to respond to us and with us in ultimate and supreme and mind-blowing loving-kindness. The problem comes when we assume that God should lovingly respond in a certain way. The problem comes when we put expectations on what God’s love should look like:
- My dad shouldn’t get cancer.
- My husband shouldn’t die.
- I shouldn’t suffer loss or pain.
- My child shouldn’t bear the burden of a life-threatening disease.
- I shouldn’t wrestle with a rebellious child.
- I shouldn’t have chronic pain.
- I should get the raise I deserve.
- My child should get into the school they want because they have worked so hard.
- I should have great friends.
- I shouldn’t feel lonely.
- I should be married.
- I should get pregnant.
- I should have a healthy baby.
Here’s the truth: I will always be disappointed if I expect God to act a certain way in my life.
“If He loves me, then He should ___________________________.”
How do you fill in the blank?
But… I will NEVER be disappointed if I expect God to always respond out of ultimate love and genuine concern for me. No matter what… it… looks… like. Take a moment to breathe and let that settle on your heart.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
God will always respond out of loving-kindness in my life. He promises.
Resolve with me this weekend to put no “shoulds” on God’s love. Relax and breathe in the truth that whatever He does will always be the ultimate picture of love- will always be what is right and just in my life.
In His loving-kindness, we can find the gift of an always met expectation.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back on TUESDAY for the next love gift from God.
Can you guess it? Starts with a M and ends with a Y.