Friday, October 21, 2011

My NOT-So-Great Expectations!

I have been in the middle of a big fight with someone these past few days!  No matter where I go, she’s always there...I see her staring back at me in the mirror every morning.  I’ve been in a battle with myself, but don’t worry, I am not going to introduce you to me, myself and Irene here!  I think what I’ve been struggling with is something we may all contend with from time to time.  

So here is my challenge of the week: what is triggering my frustration and anger when things don’t go MY way?  At first, it was easy to blame all the OUTER  issues: a person, an unmet need or a bad circumstance.  But when I dug a little deeper to the ROOT of these things, it all came back to ME. I had an expectation that something or someone wasn’t living up to.  Oh Lord forbid others not meet MY great expectations since I know I ALWAYS meet the expectations of others (this is meant to make you laugh hysterically, especially if you are a dear friend or family member that is still awaiting a returned email, phone call or late birthday gift!!).

I love how subtle God is when he wants to get a message across to me.  I basically keep taking the SAME dang test until I pass (over and over and over).  There is no fail in God’s school only re-take...and re-take, or as Master Yoda would say, “There is no try, only DO.”

ALL week long I faced the same dilemma and I almost wished I could just fail the test and be done with it!  After all, test taking makes me break out in a cold sweat!  But alas, I was not so lucky...or maybe I should really say, I AM so lucky that God doesn’t ever give up on me.

Part of God’s subtle approach to my struggle this week included a scripture verse that nearly knocked me over it hit me so hard, it was just what I didn’t want to hear and exactly what I needed to hear.  What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have...You do not have because you do not ask God." (James 4)
I FINALLY got the message!  A light went off and I realized what the Lord AND my loving but head-strong cheerleader (thanks, dear!) had been saying, “Tara, it’s NOT a person or circumstance that is disappointing/making you upset/________ (fill in any destructive emotion here).  It is YOUR NOT-so-great-expectation in someone other than God to fulfill something that they were never even created to fill.”

I’m definitely not saying it’s wrong to have expectations, we all have them!  But when our need for the satisfaction of that expectation begins to steal our peace and joy, honey, we have to let it GO!  Take that need to the Saviour who longs to fulfill your every need.  Did a close friend forget call on your birthday or have to cancel something with you three times in a row?!  Yeah, those things aren’t cool...BUT that desire for recognition and love is a need that God longs to satisfy for you.  

The battle between me and myself is drawing to a close for the week...okay, who am I kiddin’...for the day, er...minute!  I know the war between MY desires and God’s desires will continue on but this week was a really nice kick in the pants in the right direction for me (even though it was hell getting there!).

The greatest part?  I’m free.  Try it out if you’d like: let go of all your expectations of what your kids should be, what a friend should do, what your spouse should give you on your anniversary (of course I have no personal experience with this one, wink, wink!)  and any other circumstance or person that you are hoping to get your happiness from.  Our happiness should be based on the ONE thing we CAN control: the condition of our heart.  

When it comes to the condition of our heart...there is no try, only do!  So I’m going to let God do that work in me, let go of the rest (including my not-so-great-expectations) and enjoy life for what it is..and sometimes for what it isn’t!!

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