Sketch by Lyubov Malygina of “Penning a Letter” by George Goodwin Kilburne 1871
About ten years ago, I became aware that expectations were significant in relationships. I’m still learning about the importance of this concept for life in HIM.
It all started when I was very hurt and angry with Bucky. I had just had it and I had been learning that the primary posture of prayer was face down in the Bible: prostrate prayer. (Of course I thought it was kneeling.) I was crying out to God, threw myself on the ground, face down, on the girls pink, playroom carpet. Sobbing. (Okay, so I admit, I can be a bit dramatic at times, I’ve got a tender heart!) When I quieted long enough to hear anything other than my own pity party. . .I heard GOD say. . .
“What if this is his best? What if it doesn’t get any better than this? What are you gonna DO THEN?”I thought a while. I don’t think that had ever occurred to me! Oh God, help our ignorance in marriage!!!
Well, then, God, I will have to accept it as his best, and move on. I can’t expect more than he knows how to or is able to give. People can’t give beyond what is all they know.
It forever changed my perspective and I began understanding about other family members, and friends. . .
Most people do not set out thinking, “I’m gonna let this person down. I am going to personally sabotage every expectation they have, whether it is appropriate or not, and hurt them so they don’t ever want to be in a relationship with me anymore.”
As I watched myself, people in ministry and their woundings, much, not all, but much of their pain was from unmeet expectations. We, most often, are not even aware of the expectations we put on ourselves, others and God. We just know severe disappointment. We never think to link it to expectations.
Three Common expectations that set us up to loose ground,
in Kingdom relationships and the truth as I’ve experienced it.
(Expectation) I am a Christian, therefore God will not allow me to suffer.
Being a Christian does not make me an exception to worldly suffering.
The lesson is to expect at some point to understand the suffering of Jesus through my own pain.
(Expectation) Men and Women marry to complete themselves in each other and find happiness.
God created marriage to symbolize Jesus’ relationship with the Church.
Read the letters from Paul to the first churches, full of real people with issues. We are complete only in Jesus. (This process is finished when our earthly bodies die and go to heaven.) Our marriages are a training ground to learn to sacrifice, love and enable others. Why do we expect happiness when two selfish, bull- headed people marry? The lesson is to pursue 1 Corinthians 13.
(Expectation: This is my own personal albatross!) If I love and my intent is good, it will all turn out rosey.
If I offer or receive love, I can count on when, not if, that person will let me down or disappoint me. Efforts to love are always somewhat misunderstood because of the imperfection of our flesh!! (God gets the intent and invests it!!!) Love makes us vulnerable to hurt. The lesson is to love anyway. Love is the only thing that is eternal, why would we spend our time doing anything else?
So, it all comes down to laying our expectations at the cross. And doing that as often as an expectation is revealed. A path will be worn shortly, from your pilgrimage there. Let them die there. It’s hard, partly because we cling to our expectations. They are linked to desires and dreams. We hold tightly because we falsely believe that is the source of our “life.” We never get rid of them completely. Many are hidden and new ones create themselves over night. The best of life comes when we accept what God offers is enough . . .
Your grace is enough:
2 Corinthians 12:9
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Help Connie and I see our expectations for what they are: hinderances to love and Kingdom building. Reveal to us what our expectations are in our marriage that minimize growth of our marriage relationships but also who we could be with others as well. We know it will be painful to allow our expectations die at the cross with Jesus. We cling to them because we believe met expectations bring life. That is a lie1 What truly brings life to love is as we release our expectations and recognize them, you give us what we need. We love you and want to expand our hearts to greater selfless love in your name.
In HIS LOVE and mine, your twe