For the longest time I expected certain things in my life. I expected my friends to be supportive and attend my birthday parties. I expected that the people I loved would still write to me long after I moved away. I expected myself to get top marks in all my classes. I expected to have an awesome career and be completely satisfied with my life by the time I was 30. I expected, I expected.
So what happened? Well, as any good story, it ended when reality caught up. I got older and moved on to other things and so did my old friends. I got my first low mark in high school and I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort anymore. I began to give up on a lot of things that truly mattered, actually. I gave up on the idea that I was worth loving (after all I didn’t have any true friends to support that idea) and the belief that I could be physically healed. I gave up on believing God heard my prayers even though I still prayed. I gave up on finding a career because I got tired of fighting with the obstacles. My expectations dropped lower and lower as I got older.
For those of you who like oversimplified equations, this was my paradigm:
Unmet High Expectations = Crushing Disappointment (Hurt)
Unmet Low Expectations = Meh, Oh Well (Not Hurt)
I decided I was more comfortable not having high expectations and left it all to chance. If my low expectations were met, great! If not, it was still better than feeling the disappointment of unmet high expectations.
I even carried that worldly philosophy over into my relationship with Jesus…
Well, if Jesus wants to heal me, that would be nice, but I won’t expect Him to just in case He doesn’t.
Well, I’ve given up on hoping for this one thing from God…if it doesn’t happen then I was right to give up on it in the first place.
Does this way of thinking match your thinking? Now, you may ask me what’s so bad about having low expectations. Well, the answer is nothing. Having low expectations with God means you’ll receive nothing…literally. Why? Because your expectations of nothingness doesn’t give God glory. He doesn’t operate that way.
Where do all the great songs of praise and thanksgiving come from? They come from hearts that believe God is good and sets high expectations that He will do good. Despite the circumstances and the risk of disappointment, a heart firmly believing and expecting the Lord to move will ultimately be rewarded, and consequently give God glory for it. Think of it! Have you ever heard a song or a story in the Bible that goes something like this:
Oh fair-weather God, hear my cry! But just in case you’re too busy or you don’t like me, I won’t expect you to help me out. If you do, I would appreciate it. If you don’t, then I won’t be obligated to send a ‘thank you’ card.
You won’t find that nonsense anywhere in the Bible! And it’s a good thing too. Let’s read something that we would find in the Bible:
Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for.
Glorify God with all your wealth,
honoring him with your very best,
with every increase that comes to you.
Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
from an uncontainable source of inner joy!
— Proverbs 3:5-10 (TPT)
Wow! Music to my ears! Change your tune, change your life! But did you notice what the first part of the stanza says? Do not rely on your own opinions (or more popular, Lean not on your own understanding). There you have it, folks! You may freely chuck out the window low expectations, for they are of a human opinion and therefore does not bring glory to God!
Such a great and marvelous God we serve! He insists that we throw caution to the wind when it comes to expecting Him to move. In fact, this translation calls it wise! Only with undivided devotion (expectation) will we find our healing refreshment we longed for and glorify God with it! How sweet is that?!
So this week, I encourage you to reaffirm a lifestyle of recklessly high expectations of God. Forgo whatever knowledge or experience the world has taught you– it was only rubbish and held you back anyway. Ask God for forgiveness and allow Him to rise to the occasion! And when He does meet your high expectations, I hope you’ll notice He’ll go beyond what you’ve imagined.