We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20 NLT
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Have you ever anticipated a situation to go a certain way, only to have it turn out completely different?
I think we’ve all had expectations for amazing outcomes that have turned into epic fails. However, just because things don’t go our way, doesn’t mean that God isn’t with us. Sometimes, it’s just “human error”.
If you were to google Steve Harvey today, you will likely find an array of articles scrutinizing the game show host for his grueling introduction of the new Miss Universe. I’m sure he, along with the two contestants involved in the mishap, had high expectations for the night. Being his first time hosting the event, surely he anticipated some flaws; however, I doubt he envisioned the Great Mistake of 2015. Although the world may see him as “botching the show” or messing it all up, I choose to see him as human. Just like Jesus, I extend mercy and grace to him. I say to his critics, “Let the one who has never made mistakes take the first shot at him.” The truth is, we’ve all made mistakes. Because his gaffe was in the spotlight, it was more apparent and drastic. As I pondered how he must be feeling today, I began to think about the repercussions of expectation. There is a danger in placing hope in our ability to perform. If we succeed, we can become prideful, but if we fail we become shameful and feel condemnation. When our expectation or hope is in the Lord, we will not be discouraged. When we prosper, we know it’s His grace; when we fail, our identities are secure in Him. The truth of His Word permeates our being, telling us who we are, not what we’ve done.
During the Christmas season we all have expectations of events or even relationships that may not go the way we anticipate. We have to decide in advance how we will respond if things don’t go how we plan. The key to avoiding frustration is to keep our expectations flexible. Expect the unexpected. Because we do not live in a perfect world, we have to leave room for errors. I know this is not the easiest thing to do, we all have certain expectations of how things should go. Trust me, this is new ground for me. In the past, I had a tendency to be that person who expected everything to go perfect. Needless to say, I was frustrated a lot of the time. Just this morning I had to let something go that I wasn’t expecting. I had all the children’s clothes laid out to go run errands, but we were missing one shoe. We finally found it….the velcro on the shoe had attached to a crochet headband at the bottom of the shoe bin, making it very difficult to find. Finally we arrive at our destination, only to find one girl didn’t put her shoes on. Normally this would not be an issue since my car has become the girls’ shoe closet, but I cleaned out all the shoes in my car a few days ago, so no extras today!
Each day we have to do the best we can and lay down the rest to Jesus. What I’m learning is sometimes in life, we simply have to pick out a different pair of shoes and roll with the punches . In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that big of a deal. If we have flexible expectations, when the unexpected comes we will maintain our peace and avoid frustration.
Preparing for Events: It seems that every time we have an event we have missing socks, shoes and other items. When you know you have an event coming up (Christmas pictures, parties, or in my case school!) plan for the unexpected. Leave yourself an extra 30 minutes to get there. Set the clothes out the night before. This may not completely eliminate all the “unexpecteds” but it will give you a cushion.
Preparing for Family: As you prepare to see family members that you haven’t seen in awhile, pray for them. Ask God to help you see them the way He sees them. Ask Him to prepare your heart to see the people that you may not be so excited to see this year.
Preparing for Life– Make it a habit to be flexible in your expectations of daily living. Many times the things that throw us for a loop are the little things that pop up everyday that we don’t expect.
Lord, thank you that you love us in spite of all of our weaknesses. Help us to have flexible expectations of ourselves, others and events that we encounter each day. As we go about our lives, help us to guard against the unexpected things that can get us frustrated. Help us to see the big picture of what’s important. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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