“He lifted his hand up over his head as though he was placing it on something tall and said, “These are your expectations.” He then lowered his hand below his waist and said, “This is reality…and everything in between is disappointment.”

This illustration has not only helped Sarah and I with unrealistic expectations of one another that used to cause conflict in our marriage, but is helping us day to day as we patiently wait and pray at Bowen’s bedside. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having faith, hoping for the best, or being optimistic, but we have to be careful not to live in constant disappointment with the reality in which God has placed us while we pray for great things to unfold. And great things ARE unfolding for every believer, whether we see it now or later.”
-Matt from Sanctus Real, http://www.bowensheart.com (Disappointment, September 24, 2010).

That illustration really struck me today. I feel like I have really high expectations in my life. Too fantastic expectations for any humans to fulfill. And I feel like I get down a lot because life just isn’t as amazing as the life I imagine in my little perfect fantasy world when I let myself daydream (which is another excellent reason to squelch that awful habit). I am afraid of being so caught up in everything my life isn’t that I miss everything it is. That thought absolutely terrifies me.

I think of missing Tyler. I have days where I start missing him so bad that I get so disappointed and dissatisfied still being here that I miss the truly great things that are going on while I”m here. So I’m going to make a list, so that the next time I start to get anxious for January, I will be reminded about all the things that are going on here, and all the things I would be missing that God didn’t want me to miss.

  • Discipleship with Kyla. This girl is starting to become more comfortable with me every week, and I just pray that she and I will be able to get some good conversation in before I leave that will really get her rooted like I know she wants to be.
  • Music for Linda. Our music leader needed a break so badly, and God has blessed me with enough music know-how to give her that break. She’s so happy; it’s like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. She’s smiling so much bigger already and I haven’t even started yet.
  • Getting Chelsea ready to lead music. It’s so incredible to watch her grow. I’m excited to start phasing myself out on the music selection on Thursday nights and for teen services. She’s got so much talent and such a hunger for Christ. She’s inspiring, and I hope to be able to guide her correctly in her love for worship.
  • Preschool class. Our preschoolers at church were just sitting in the nursery doing nothing, and God put a burden on my heart to teach those precious growing minds His truths. Tomorrow is my first day. We’re going over the Creation story :)
  • Reliance on God. With doing the music and the preschool class and school and work…I’m learning to schedule my time and rely on God way way more than I have ever needed to before. I love it. I’m learning how frail and weak and useless I am outside of God’s power. But it’s more than just time. It’s ability. I have huge doubts in myself as a music leader and preschool teacher. But God told me to do these things. How could I say no? I’m excited to see what He will do with my meager abilities and willing heart.
  • Lessons about myself. I’m learning to more self-confident. To have more self-esteem. To not be dependent on other people’s approval to know that yes, I do have worth. Yes, I am beautiful. Yes, I am worth chasing and fighting for. Just because you might not see me that way, doesn’t make it untrue. And I have this worth because I am God’s daughter. Because God loves me. Because God is my substance, my breath, my life, my love.
  • A chance to learn to lean on God. I’ve shared before how I usually tend to just vent to other people and ask their advice. This semester I’m learning to vent to God first. To go to Him for comfort. Sometimes God uses my friends for this, but sometimes I just need to be still, and let His love wash over me. It’s a discipline to be still, to make time. But it’s so important.
  • Learning what exactly I believe. Some parts of the theology I grew up with has been challenged lately, and then the church I love changed a vital part of its theology not too long ago, and I’m all confused as to how involved I should be there anymore, because I love the people so much. I’m really searching for answers, and the frustrating thing is I don’t know who to talk to. I look at my Bible and one man says it means this and another says it means this and…ugh. it’s so frustrating. But I’m really digging into Scripture to find out what it has to say for myself. To know why I believe what I believe. It’s so important.
  • I’m getting stronger. I still cry, because it still hurts. But I’m getting stronger. I’ve learned not to worry. I’ve learned not to fear (two things I never thought I’d be free of; God is so incredible!!!! I’m crying just thinking about it. God has given me so much freedom. It’s incredible). Now I just have to let myself be happy again. I have to let myself get happy about other things, and to not wish you were here to share them with me. It’s ridiculous how much God has shown me and changed me, and it’s only been like 40 days. I’m in awe.

Lindsey, stop looking at your expectations. Start looking at what God is doing right here, right now. Start looking at what God is giving you. God’s beauty far surpasses your expectations, but in completely different ways than what you’re expecting. Just open your eyes, I’m begging you.

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