Archive for the ‘Expectations’ Category

A house divided against itself cannot stand. – Abraham Lincoln
If that quote is true then where does it leave me with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, the body of Christ, the world?
Unapologetically is the title but that is for me. i choose to have expectations based not on what is expected but on what is my response, whether met or unmet. That will probably make more sense once i finish this post.
The time has come to put this series to rest. Truth be told i wanted to put it to rest last week but could not get a release to do so and so i continued on, hoping for something more definitive. That may not be the case depending on the day and the hour. So i am left to a conclusion that i must hope and expect is from God. i spent the time in studying to show myself approved, i asked of the Lord and others for spiritual guidance and input, i prayed, asked, meditated and sat in silence. Those are all i know to do and what comes from that or what i am left with must satisfy.

As i sat watching a movie this weekend and looking back at having watched the new movie Courageous earlier in the week, i went to a lachrymose state. If you are not familiar with that word i posted on it months ago and basically it means weepy. This fact spoke to me and said that i have hope or i would not have cared and thus would not have cried. my tears are not given up easily. i will not go into the details of what moved me other than to say that it is a sin for me and i believe the church to allow the fatherless children situation (over 50% of children born in the next year are fatherless) to go unaddressed. That’s all i can say at this time. Sorry, bunny trail.

This past Sunday i wrote this, my conclusion to expectations. i see that this topic could be discussed for months if not years but i’m not up for that. So… i am going to revert to God’s character and nature as i have experienced it.

i do not necessarily think that God has expectations as much as i believe He has desires and the two are different.

Expectations: the act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.

Desires: a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame. an expressed wish; request.

i have tried to share the why of that determination through-out these many posts. i believe that my expectations, my hopes are to be in Him.

i do not really know if i should have expectations of others but i do and probably always will. my expectations are not to bring guilt and condemnation nor undue stress but they are a desire for everyone to experience the fullness of God and that fullness is beyond any human expectations. So, i will endure long with others. i will be patient with others. i will be kind to others. i will not be envious or jealous of others, i will not be rude or act unbecomingly toward others. i will not insist upon my own way with others. i will not record records of wrongs done toward me by others. And everyone knows the rest of 1 Corinthians 13 so i’ll stop there and finish by saying that i will behave in this manner not because anyone treats me that way although i will hope, desire and yes even expect that they will find these things in their hearts and through their own relationship with the Father. But… if they don’t, or when they don’t, when there is a gap between my desire and expectations for others and their behavior, i may weep, i may sob, i will most definitely hurt, but i will continue to expect and desire toward all people or life will be empty. i was meant to do life with people, not to endure them but to enjoy them as part of god’s creation.

From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, being chosen by God for this new life of love, i will dress in the wardrobe God picked out for me: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. i will be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Colossians 3

So i’m sorry but nobody is being let off the hook. i am going back to the expectations i had when we all came together, when i was surprised by a behavior that was less than what was expected. i have expectations and i make no apology for it. i see such potential in those around me, so how can i not expect what i see.  As the Holy Spirit reveals each of you to me, i am to intercede on your behalf, that in itself is expectation.

my task in these expectations is to manage the motives.

All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.Abraham Lincoln

Well this is out-of-order as somehow when i uploaded my closing post from my pad it somehow published it. my expectation of my electronis device is unmet. It in no way was finished. No spell check, no grammar check, no reread for thought consistency, just my gathering of thoughts. i thought about asking everyone to delete it and wait for tomorrow but… it’s out there and so i’ll let it be. If it’s too painful to read as is, i am correcting it and posting it again. But before that my last thought regarding this topic is this…

When what i was expecting to happen…doesn’t

And he gave heed unto them, EXPECTING to receive something of them. Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none; but such as I have, give I thee; (Acts 3:5-6a).

i have received a Christmas or birthday gift… that was not what i really wanted or expected? The attitude in which i said thank you was probably not really from the heart because of disappointment. But on the other hand if i receive a gift that i ” was expecting”…my thank you would certainly be from the heart. God does not look on the outward appearance the way i often do, but He looks on the heart… which reveals the motives of why something is done.

There will be times when what i may be expecting to happen will not…and it is important to keep an attitude of thanksgiving because, 1Thess.5 says in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. i am not to give thanks for troubled times… but in the midst of troubled times. The lame man was expecting silver and gold, but Peter and John did not have any, But what they did have was what the lame man really needed…healing to get up on his feet and never need to beg again because he would now be able to support himself. When what i am expecting to happen…doesn’t, i am to remember God may have something far better than what i was expecting.

And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called beautiful to ask alms of them that entered the temple…(Acts 3:2).

When i expect the best out of someone… i become surprised at the worst that occurs because i know that the person is capable of much more. If i identify myself by my problems it may be that i am expecting very little because i really don’t know who i am. Notice in the text that the man is
identified by his problem (lameness). Today people are called thieves. drug addicts, alcoholics, adulterers,etc all labeled by their problem, and these
people may expect very little in life because of not knowing who they really are. Now this may sound like my conclusion to this series but not so… at least not just yet. The man was lame and could not get up on his feet like so many people today…but his support helped him to do what he could not do on his own because they expected the best for him as well as from him. People who expect something special in life plan and prepare to get to certain places in life… and they do not allow their handicap to stop them. When something is really expected…persistence and diligence in the form of small advances may happen for a long time before significant change occurs. This man was born lame and only received a small amount of alms before he got his total healing. Little successes add up to big ones that’s why God says to despise not the day of small beginnings

Disappointment in life is directly related to my expectations. When i want something, expect to have it, achieve it or experience it and it doesn’t become a reality, i feel let down, upset and/or disappointed. Why would i set myself up for disappointment by creating mental expectations for some result that may be in the control of others: parents, a spouse, a company, a boss or a friend? i think on what i don’t have verses what i have. My daughter has recently shared some news that…. well wasn’t what appeared to be the best regarding here health. i had the opportunity to be frustrated and disappointed with what i would not have should her health fail completely. i also had the opportunity to recall all that i have had with her and to come to the conclusion that i am grateful for the time and i will not let what i want or my emotions want to take that away. By the time i recalled some of the memories i had a renewed expectation of more time and more memories for the two of us.

It is often natural and/or normal to want something i don’t have. To desire to achieve something i have yet to accomplish. To accomplish some task or enjoy some special status, recognition or power. It is not natural, however, to get everything i want in life. i can have almost anything i want – if i am willing to pay the necessary price (both short and long term) for it. But i can’t have everything i want! It’s just not that kind of world.

Disappointment is a part of life.

When i was young, my parents never considered my disappointment, but later i did experience a truth life wants me to learn – everyone experiences disappointment. No one is immune. i cannot escape it, i can only learn to manage it, and that’s not by eliminating all expectations.

If my disappointment is directly related to my expectations, what can i do to ensure that i am disappointed less in my life? And this is where the closing post was to pick up and bring this series to a conclusion.

When i don’t know what i am expecting…i go through the motions

Purpose and expectations are the reason why…

Now Peter and John went up to the temple at the hour of prayer being the ninth hour (Acts 3:1).

The above text tells us that Peter and John went up to the temple which was something that they had incorporated into their day. my day is filled with
things that i incorporate into my day also, but there must be a reason for doing what i do. If i am not expecting anything of importance then what i am
incorporating in the form of my actions throughout the day is simply that of going through the motions.

For instance…if i do not have a good reason as to why i go to church…then i am just going through the motions of going to church, if i do not have a good reason as to why i go to work…then i just go through the motions of going to work, which becomes very boring. Purpose or the will of God for one’s life brings excitement… so Col.3:17 declares that whatever you do in word or deed…do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and the father by him.

If everything that i do was done to honor our heavenly father then that automatically brings purpose into the equation because… one answer could be, because God expects the best from me. Purpose brings the best out of me because i know that part of my existence is exemplified in everything that i do.
When i don’t know the reason why …i can expect the worst because i will abuse the system… abuse myself… abuse others… abuse position etc. Example: i would not wash dishes in a microwave oven…why? Because it was not created for that purpose, but the creator and manufacturer created the dishwasher to wash dishes and the microwave oven for cooking. The worst can be expected if the true purpose is abused…then nothing positive can be expected.

“If i aim at nothing, i’ll hit it every time.”

Lowered Expectations

Happiness, what is it, how do i get it, and do i deserve it? There are more than enough differing opinions. i found it interesting that there is a survey to find the happiest nation in all the world. That nation is, Denmark. Two-thirds of Danes say they are “very satisfied with their lives,” according to the Eurobarometer Survey. It’s been that way for more than 30 years. Danes tend to be healthy, married and active — all contributing factors to their happiness. Why?

The answer, in a word, are you ready, expectations. Danes have low expectations and so “year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find out that not everything is rotten in the state of Denmark,” says James W. Vaupel, a demographer who has investigated Danish bliss.

Every year, some new study confirms Denmark’s status as a happiness leader. Danes receive this news, with newspaper headlines that read: “We’re the happiest lige nu.” Lige nu is a Danish phrase that means literally “just now” the idea is “for the time being but probably not for long.” Danes, in other words, have low expectations about everything, including their own happiness.

Danes are not known as a spiritual people. They live their lives in the present tense, not grasping at future happiness. Not long ago i posted about being a simple person of God’s creation. Not needing to head up some huge ministry, not needing to be remembered for some great words i spoke. Just simple and happy being one of God’s creation in the simplest form. Fully content in that alone.

Danes seem to believe that expectations kill happiness, leaving the rest of us unhappy un-Danes to sweat it out on life’s treadmill. The treadmill is the tendency to constantly step up my expectations, for an emotional high that devalues today’s accomplishments and robs me of all but the most fleeting contentment. If a B-plus grade made me happy last semester, it’ll take an A-minus to register the same satisfaction this semester, and so on until eventually, inevitably, i fail to reach the next bar and slip into despair.

The treadmill slips into my life, in large and small ways. Example: A while ago, I received a set of headphones as a gift. Wow, I thought, this sounds incredible. At least that’s what I thought for about a month. Then my ears grew accustomed to the enhanced fidelity and craved something better. i know technology is continually changing and thus improving. Intellectually, i know that my next audio fix will be just as fleeting, but I can’t resist the pull of the treadmill.

One study, by the University of Chicago, found that as i grow older i grow happier. Really? That’s not what television portrays. The study says that older people tend to have lower aspirations or, to put it in a more positive way, greater acceptance.

Another study, found that women are less happy today than they were in the 1970s, despite the great strides they’ve made in the workplace. Again  expectations, as the women’s movement raised women’s expectations faster than society was able to meet them.”

Happiness may very well be a function of my expectations — or, as it has been said: “Happiness equals reality minus expectations.” Given that neat
formulation, there are two ways to attack the problem: boost my reality or lower my expectations. Sometimes i choose the former. i’d rather stew in my
misery than trim my expectations.

i choose to not just boast my reality but to change it. i choose the word of God as my reality. i am personalizing the following words from the Message as a statement of what that reality looks like. Colossians 3, i’m serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, so i must act like it. i will pursue the things over which Christ presides. i will not shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of me. i will look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. i will see things from His perspective. my old life is dead. my new life, which is my real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is my life. When my real life, shows up again on this earth, i’ll show up, too—the real me, the glorious me. Meanwhile, i will be content with obscurity, like Christ. That means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever i feel like whenever i feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts my fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that i was doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But i know better now, so i will make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. i will not lie to another. i’m done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes i’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now i’m dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of my new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with His label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, being chosen by God for this new life of love, i will dress in the wardrobe God picked out for me: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. i will be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. i will forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave me. And regardless of what else i put on, i will wear love. It’s my basic, all-purpose garment. i must never be without it. i will let the peace of Christ keep me in tune with others, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing my own thing. i will cultivate thankfulness. i will pursue the Word of Christ—the Message— and let it have the run of the house. i will give it plenty of room in my life. i will instruct and direct others using good common sense. And i will sing, sing my heart to God! Every detail in my life—words, actions, whatever—will be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

What about expectations of myself?

Guaranteed! If i have low expectations for myself, i will NOT work to reach higher levels of abilities.

That is how my mind works. In fact, i will probably unconsciously prevent myself from succeeding. i will give up at the slightest problem. The chances are i will succeed in failing. – – – THINK about it!

Guaranteed! If i have high expectations for myself, i WILL automatically work towards meeting those expectations.

That is also how my mind works. If i have a positive attitude to succeed, then i will not give up. i will work, or even struggle, to find ways to reach my goals. The chances are i will succeed in succeeding. — – THINK about it!

Whether i think i can, or think i can’t, i am correct.

Think about it!

my self-expectations are usually self-fulfilling prophecies.

Think about it!

Level Of Self-Expectation

i get many expectations daily. They may come from within myself, or come from others. The expectation may range from high to low requirement. Some may match my abilities, while some, sadly, do not. What can i do to reduce the gap in the expectation?

Note that, expectations from external factors cannot be controlled at times. What i can do in this circumstance, is to negotiate the terms and relevant scope that is expected of me.

Think about it.

The other type of expectations are those that come from self. This is definitely under my own control. i know best my limits and threshold of pain. So for this type of self-expectation, what is the level i should set for myself?

Sometimes, i hear people complaining, with all sort of reasons, why they cannot succeed in a particular area. They blame this and they blame that, but not themselves. Self-expectation comes in here.

The level that i set for myself, if too low, will result in a low reward. The path to success will, therefore, be slow. The less i expect, the less i am willing to do to achieve the expectation. If i set the standard to be too high, and outside the reach of myself, i am asking for failure and frustration.

Think about it.

Thus, to set an appropriate level is not a simple task. It may have to be changed at times to adjust for a suitable standard. i must not be afraid of those changes. i need to be honest and do accordingly.

Here’s where i’m at. i want my expectations to be those that God desires for me. Yes i live with daily expectations but when it comes to those that are centered around people i must manage them evn better than i do for things. If my boss wanted me to work 80 hours a week instead of the 40 i am paid for i would manage that expectation in a flash. i have several options, i can quit, i can say no, i can do it, or i can have a discussion with my boss. If i go with God expectations (did you get that, again i said God expectations?) they for sure will be at a level that is above my norm.

Let me go back to my words of God expectations, no i have not come to any conclusions. i said that out of years of figuring that God was all about expectations, His word was one big book of expectations. It was a time when i understood very little about His love for me.

i will say in closing that i need to “man up” and go for the ride of my life. i do believe i need to set suitable challenging self-expectations. i can not live life as “whatever will be will be.” For me that is just being lazy and living in fear as i do not want to fail so the idea at times is do nothing.

Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes i have felt that my prayers lack the power to penetrate my ceilings. It seems as though my petitions fall on deaf ears and God remains unmoved or unconcerned about my passionate pleading. Why do these feelings haunt me?

There are several reasons why i may sometimes be frustrated with my prayers. One is that my expectations are unrealistic. This, perhaps more than any other factor. i make the common mistake of taking statements of Jesus in isolation from other biblical aspects of teaching, and blow these few statements out of proportion.

i hear Jesus say that if two Christians agree on anything and ask, it shall be given to them. Jesus made that statement to men who had been deeply trained
in the art of prayer, men who already knew the qualifications of this generalization. Yet in a simplistic way i interpret the statement absolutely. i assume the promise covers every conceivable petition without reservation or qualification. Think of it. Would it be difficult to find two Christians who would agree that to end all wars and human conflict would be a good idea? Obviously not. So what’s the hold up? If two Christians agreed to pray for the end of war and conflict, would God grant their petition? Not unless He planned to revise the New Testament and its teaching about the future of human conflict.

Prayer is not magic. God is not at my beckoned call to satisfy my every expectation. In some cases, my expectations within my prayers must involve the travail of the soul and agony of heart,  such as Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane. Sometimes i and others alike have been bitterly disappointed in “unanswered” prayers, not because God failed to keep His promises, but because i a well-meaning Christian made promises “for” God, that God never authorized.

How do i avoid expecting and praying for unauthorized God things?

Stay connected with God and His word. John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for
you.”

Make sure that my expectations in prayer are seeking to please the Lord. 1 John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Remove any unconfessed sin in my life. 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”

Check the motive for my expectations? James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Where does God’s will fit into what i am expecting and praying for? 1 John 5:14-15 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Do i actually know how to pray? Luke 11:1 “…Lord, teach us to pray…”

Is there faith in my prayers? Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and
that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
My faith can also be “built up,” by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).

What if my faith wavers? James 1:6-7 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the
wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;”

When i pray and expect i must apply spiritual authority. Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

How long am i in it for? Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations. Patricia Neal

Expectation… And a certain man lame from his MOTHERS WOMB…(Acts 3:2a)

The lame mans mother like all pregnant women had come to the conclusion that she was expecting…and because of that fact she was now placed into a different role… that of mother. When i expect things to come to pass, desires to manifest, etc i must be willing to step into another role. Whether a
mother wants to be a mother or not…at the time of expectancy that is what she is, and she must begin to do whatever is necessary to take care of the baby. If i desire to be a friend or a mentor i must be willing to step into another role than that currently filled in the relationship. A person… whether man or woman who is pregnant with an idea or vision must protect that idea by,,, 1. not allowing anyone to talk me out of it… 2. Believing in myself to do what is needed to bring it to pass…3. Believing that God will help do what i cannot…4. Don’t procrastinate…5. Look for divine connections needed for support…6. Keeping an atmosphere around that is conducive for the idea during times of not seeing any physical evidence, remember an expecting mother does not see any physical evidence of her pregnancy in the beginning…and neither will i see physical evidence of success in the beginning. This principle keeps yours truly working toward my ideas though-out my life, because I know it will be awhile before I see any fruit of my labors…but I must continue expecting good things to happen. All of these suggestions help to keep a healthy idea growing until it becomes a reality.

Preparation: a proceeding, measure, or provision by which one prepares for something

An expectant mother prepares in advance for what is about to transpire in nine months. She eats a balanced diet…maintains daily doctor check-ups…obstains
from smoking and other activities that could be harmful to the child…attends a baby shower that helps to provide for the child… to name a few. This preparation in advance helps to relieve the stress that accompanies expectancy. A blessing that comes before one is ready and capable to handle it …is really
not a blessing. Many lotto winners were not prepared to handle the blessing of finance…and it caused problems that were undetected because of a lack of experience in that area. Prepare by reading and gaining knowledge, by asking questions, through mentorship by those who have done what i am trying to do, by learning from my mistakes and failures, and most importantly…by not giving up.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Expectation? i’m just not sure? If i am to do my best to present myself to God as one approved, does that happen as a result of God’s expectation of me or do i do so out of a revelation of God’s love for me. To me one requires my purposed effort and the other comes as a natural response. One is form and function and the other is lifestyle.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Again is this an expectation? i realize that God is stating this as fact and i see that in order for me to be able to test and approve what is God’s will, His good, pleasing and perfect will, then i must not be conformed to this word, and the way that happens is for me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. But is this, His perfect will an expectation or a desire presented as opportunity? Would God speak this to me if He didn’t expect me to do it? But again He may speak it to me and then the expectation is not that i do it as a command, but again out of revelation of His love for me. i do it because it’s my lifestyle, it’s who i am, who i am becoming.

How about being pregnant with the Word? And one step further, the woman must prepare for a new role because she is pregnant . i don’t see that as expectation, if anything perhaps consequence, cost or better yet privilege. Once i accept Jesus into my heart, now come expectation? Or… i now have the privilege to step into a new role.

God says, “Study to show yourself approved before God.”

The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is His written Instruction Book to mankind. It answers every important question in life. It explains how to live—and reveals the road to salvation. So am i expected to read and apply it or is it just suggested that i read it, that reading it will be to my benefit.

Rightly dividing the Word of Truth—knowing the Bible, inside and out—takes a lifetime. God’s Holy Spirit opens one’s mind to this spiritual understanding (Psa. 119:18; John 16:13). True biblical knowledge and understanding come from diligent effort and God’s Spirit working in me. Is that His expectation?

Does God expect me to familiarize myself with His Word. Only by fully appreciating it will i act on it. Christ said, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Taking in the Word of God for spiritual nourishment surpasses the need of taking in physical food. The Bible provides light to avoid pitfalls in the path of life. The Bible gives me wisdom to understand the aspects of salvation. All scripture is inspired by God to mold and teach His people so that they may become perfect and equipped “for good work of every kind.” At this moment it sure sounds like expectation.

Is this my part of the cleansing process, do i have a part—doesn’t God expects me to do my part or… does God just expect me to love Him and out of a revelation of that love i will be and then do. The process takes place as i internalize God’s Word. This leads to the desire to repent and grow in godly character. God’s Spirit is instrumental in this cleansing process.

But in any case, I did poorly on the tests and so, in the first three years of school, I had teachers who thought I was stupid and when people think you’re stupid, they have low expectations for you. Robert Sternberg

The little that is completed, vanishes from the sight of one who looks forward to what is still to do. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Living Up To Others Expectations

Please take note these are not the expectations of my boss as he is paying me to meet his expectations and it is my obligation to meet them as unto the Lord. This is personal relationship expectations and God expectations whether stated or implied, whether legitamit or not, whether real or imagined. Living up to others expectations can be very rewarding, a pat on the back goes a long way. A child coming from a healthy home and environment lives up to the expectations of their parents in school…and as long as the parent remains in balance with their own expectations for the child…this will remove stress and frustration from the child. But out of balance expectations is for me the parent to live my dreams through my children. The child now is under pressure to perform and be someone who they really are not. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions by someone…but that accountability should not be overbearing and demanding because it hinders me from expressing and being who i reallyam. Living up to others expectations in an unbalanced way is to submit to others opinions. If i commit to such behavior and don’t know who i am i may experience frustration and disappointment. Being someone that i’m not is a waste of time because life passes by and that time cannot be recovered. Also people miss out on what i have to offer when i am not where i should be in life.

i also should be considering, how do I live up to my own expectations? How do I find acceptance within myself? There are options you know. Drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc., etc.. And then there is the word. Two scenarios for me to consider.

i can constantly sit around feeling inadequate with myself, and i can meditate on not understanding why I feel this way. i realize that these feelings of inadequacy tend to get blown out of proportion. and, if left to consume me, i may become uncomfortable in my own skin, uneased with myself, disgusted with myself. In the disgust come words like, i don’t know what is wrong with me… Even when i succeed in life, i will feel like it isn’t enough. i will feel like nothing will ever be enough for me.

Now the other scenario requires faith and just as much effort as the one above. The difference…. the end result. Micah 6:8 ESV He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Sounds like a cop-out, but if i have faith that there is a God, then why not in the words He speaks? i exchange my thoughts for His thoughts, my plans for His plans. i like the sound of welfare and peace much better than, i am so dumb, i can’t do anything right. And as i said the difference is in the outcome, God says, He gives me hope in my final outcome. i like when God presents me with potential or… expectations way more than those of others or even myself.

As for being able to live them out and believe in them, to have the faith that they are true… i must surrender self, Philippians 2:13 [Not in ed’s own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in me [energizing and creating in me the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

When i start “feeling” like expectations are consuming me i must go to what i know… these thoughts are not God’s thoughts, and immediately i realize that there is a deficiency with in me, “for God is ALL the while effectually at work in me” and i know what that looks like, feels like and sounds like. So why would i settle for anything less or different. When a baby begins to cry the first thing that comes to a parent’s mind is that they are hungry, and they probably are. So when i begin to cry because of unmet expectations i need to be fed. i need a dose of the uncompromising Word of Truth to fill the emptiness that makes me feel hunger.

Joshua 1:7-16 ESV Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’” …

There’s a few words (underlined) expectations…. Words (in bold) take away the hunger.

The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. Abraham Lincoln

Bring the past only if you are going to build from it.  ~Doménico Cieri Estrada

Expecting the worst – Forgetting the past – Forgiveness – Expecting the best

When i experience negativity for prolonged periods of time…i come to expect the worst.For example an unfaithful spouse who continues to be unfaithful leaves the other spouse always expecting the worst from them even when they change…a rebellious child leaves a parent expecting the worst even on a good day because the past has not been forgotten . Negativity is like nails on a chalk board for me. It’s easy to be negative, it doesn’t require much effort. Not many would expect this of me but, i am one of those people who when i expect the worst in someone, i am not surprised when the worst happens because i have conditioned myself to protect my heart. The problem with this… others may know whether or not i believe in them or not…and if not…the negative pattern continues. Believing in a person means becoming surprised when the expected as well as the unexpected behavior occurs because believing the best in someone may very well give them the support needed to change (The process of becoming different).

Philippians 1:20 ESV As it is my eager EXPECTATION and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

One of my favorite clichés is: ‘First time, shame on you; second time, shame on me.’  Sometimes it’s difficult to forgive if i feel that forgiveness leaves me open to the future repeats of same negative treatment.  It’s important for me to understand that forgiveness is not the same as condoning the offending action, and it’s OK (and sometimes vital) to include self-protective plans for the future as part of my forgiveness process.  For example, if i have a co-worker who continually steals my ideas, belittles me in front of the group, or gossips about me, such ongoing negative behavior can be difficult to forgive.  In fact, blanket forgiveness of someone who is continually hurting me isn’t necessarily a good idea for my emotional health.  However, if i make a plan to address the behavior according to the word which includes the community around me, and if necessary, get out of the negative situation, forgiving will bring the benefits of forgiveness without opening me up to further abuse.  i don’t need to hold a grudge in order to protect myself.

Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Forgiveness brings many benefits, particularly to the ‘forgiver,’ but to forgive is not always easy.  Many times i would like to let go of disappointment, unmet expectations, hurts and forgive but i am not sure of how to forgive. i shared that i had found a key regarding my expectations of people, and it may apply as well to forgiveness. “The key for me is to get to know people and expect them to be who they are. Instead, of expecting people to be who i want them to be – and when they’re not, i cry.”

Forgiveness Is Not: Play Acting For Show… Remember when as a child you were forced by some adult to “forgive” someone who was first forced to “say sorry” to you? Is this really repentance by the perpetrator… or forgiveness by the victim? Mark 7:6 (Phi) Jesus replied, “You hypocrites, Isaiah described you
beautifully when he wrote: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ These teachings are but rules made by men.”

Denial Is Not Forgiveness… The inability to really forgive is often due to a false concept that “forgetting is forgiving”. Forgetting is NOT forgiving. To be sure, if we forgive we will forget as a result. But the reverse is not true: forgetting is not forgiving–it is denial. Denial is merely a delusion: flimsy, fake, and shallow. Forgiveness is real: robust and solid and deep. It is not an avoiding of the truth, but a dealing with it squarely, however painful.

Is Real Forgiveness Humanly Possible? It has been said, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” There is a truth in this. Luke 7:49 (GLT) And those reclining with Him began to say within themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” For what “seems right to a man” (Prov 16:25) is revenge. If the offense is not avenged, will not the perpetrator be sanctioned in his behavior to do more of the same? What about justice and fairness? Does forgiveness even “work” at a human level? What would happen to our community if everyone REALLY did this? Is “loving our enemies” something that appeals to our sensibilities?

Authorized By Grace… i Can Do What God Does Col 3:12-13 (Jer) i am God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves me, and i should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven me; now i must do the same.

What i know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring me to this very moment.  And this is the moment i can choose to make everything new.  Right now.

“You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.”― Alison McGhee

What do people do when i fail to live up to their expectations for me? Some turn away – break the relationship, what kind of a solution is that? The question came to me, what about when i fail to live up to God’s expectations? By virtue that i am asking that question it means that i believe He has them. To think God does not have expectations for me is to believe in an impersonal, hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused god; a non-entity? Does God turn away from me when i
fail to live up to His expectations?

My answer will bother some people – but my answer is, sometimes yes. The problem is that there is no pattern for me to figure out, not form or function that i can make sense of, so as to monitor my behavior. In the Old Testament, when the people of God failed to live up to the covenant relationship with God, He withdrew His power and protection and the people suffered the consequences of oppression, tribulation and even destruction. In the New Testament, Jesus made His expectations clear to those who would follow Him, and when they weren’t willing to accept them or live up to them, He moved on. He didn’t lower His expectations in order to appease the people (rich young ruler, Pharisees, people of Nazareth, man who wanted to bury his father [Jesus said, “let the dead bury the dead”, ouch!], even the cripple at the pool [Jesus said, “Do you want to be well? Then get up and walk!”]. Jesus never changed the expectations so people would like Him or follow Him. But with God in the Old Testament and God in the Flesh, Jesus, in New Testament when the people failed to live up to His expectations, all that was needed to restore the relationship was repentance: “I’m sorry Lord; I blew it. I let You down and I’m sorry. I’m ready to get back on track with You.” And His response was/is always, “You’re already forgiven. Let it go, don’t look back. Let’s move forward.” (Thank you, Lord, for You’re amazing grace!)
i wish it was like that in my relationships with others? Too often i’m expected to jump through hoops before there is a willingness to forgive (a sign they don’t understand grace or true forgiveness). And in some cases, well… it doesn’t matter what i do, it will never be let go. The record of wrongs done keeps me from giving real forgiveness. Then as more people fail to live up to my expectations the record gets bigger and harder to carry. It might be said that, “life’s too short not to live by grace.”

In Matthew 11 Jesus says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Learn – Acquire experience – Acquire ability – Acquire skill

Unforced- Not resulting from undue effort.

Rhythms – A specific kind of such a pattern

Grace – favor rendered by one who need not do so

First i learn about God. i learn how gracious He is. i learn that He can handle events in ways that i couldn’t dream of or anticipate. i see him work things out in ways that i could never have guessed. i learn that i always triumph in Him.

Then i learn about myself. i learn that we are not as strong as i thought i was. i learn that i wanted to bail out much sooner than i thought i would.

When this inner strength of character is developed in this learning process, i find hope… i need to possess HOPE. (To look forward to with confidence or expectation🙂

So “IF” i am going to have expectations they should be tempered by grace – the grace that God has given me.