Are expectations stealing your joy?
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - Thessalonians 5:16-18
I have an expectation problem. I know it. My family jokes about it. My husband rolls his eyes at it. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been dreaming up these perfect situations and scenarios in my head and marking them as fact. It's like I've been telling God all my life that I've created a beautiful piece of artwork for my life in my mind, and if he'd just cooperate, paint the picture I want and give me what I expect, I would be the happiest, funniest, most content woman in the world.
However, I’ve come to realize that our paint by numbers lives doesn’t usually set us up to be the holiest versions of ourselves to surrender to God’s will and advance His kingdom. The minute we expect things to happen or people to act a certain way, we lose the possibility of finding joy in the moments to come. How many times do we miss the moments of happiness that could come from the words on a birthday card because we’re too fixated on the quality or thought of the gift? How often do we miss the beauty of a road trip landscape because we’re too busy anxiously reading the map (or restaurant reviews on Yelp) towards the destination?
God blesses our blank slates and clean canvas with beautiful memories and outcomes if we come to Him with open hands and open hearts. It's when our expectations and preconceived notions take over that we lose sight of His possibilities and risk becoming bogged down with negative thoughts and let downs.
Weekly Challenge: What expectations for your life (or the way it’s supposed to go) are you holding onto? Ask God to help you release an expectation of yourself, your circumstances or another person that’s keeping you from joyful contentment.