Thursday, August 26, 2010
My Unmet Expectations
It was a very challenging weekend for me. The news about my sister, Bobbi's pregnancy came as a shock to most of my family. This just is not what we expected.
All too often, I find that I want God to not just consider my expectations, but make life play out just as I have imagined. I form expectations about any given situation and just assume that God will work it out the way I want. Thankfully, that's not how God works. He is God and He knows what is best for me.
But let me tell you, it hurts to have unmet expectations. I was disappointed many times throughout my weight loss journey when things did not go as planned. I would eat really well and have a gain! There were other times when I made poor food choices and I would lose. I wanted the weight to come off over night and it took over a year. I wanted to lose 1-2 pounds per week. However there where some weeks where I only lost 0.2 pounds, I would think to myself, "Does this even count as a loss?".
I am sure that you have a list of things that have not gone your way, talk to God about it. Then we must learn to change our expectations so that we expect God to work in each and every situation in our lives. What used to be disappoint to us, now looks like the hand of God at work in our lives.
Our expectations must be realistic and flexible. I am not a very flexible person so this is challenging, but I want to begin to work on this in my life. I hope that you have the courage to do the same.
Below is Monday's Proverbs 31 Devotional that was such an encouragement to me. I hope that the Lord uses it to encourage you as well.
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Faith over Feelings
23 Aug 2010
"For you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5b (NIV)
I spent months working on it, with big expectations and high hopes. But in the blink of an eye, it was crushed. This reality tore into my heart like a jagged knife, ripping my dream into tiny little shreds. Disappointment was so great; it was difficult to process my feelings. I had worked tirelessly on this project and now I was not only feeling disappointment, but rejection.
Disappointment soon turned to irritation, then resentment. I didn't FEEL it was fair.
Why didn't God answer my prayers? Why had He placed a dream in my heart only to allow it to crumble? Why had He let this happen? Why me?
I knew I needed to have a good attitude and not give up, but I did not FEEL like doing that at all!
Questions continued to pummel my brain. What is the use? Why try again? If God didn't answer my prayer after all this time, why bother to keep trying?
You see, I allowed my feelings to overtake my mind, and let my FAITH take a back seat.
All I could think about was how this disappointment made me feel, instead of what God may be doing that my faith could not see. I felt things weren't fair, without remembering God's ways are best. I felt a longing for immediate results, instead of trusting God's timing is perfect.
I soon realized my feelings were getting in the way of my faith. So I went to Psalm 25 (NIV), and allowed the following verses to wash over my spirit.
Verse 1, "To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;"
I felt discouraged, unworthy, hopeless, rejected. So I poured my feelings and my soul out to God. And He listened.
Verse 2, "...in you I trust, O my God. Do not let m e be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me."
God reminded me to trust Him, not a desire or a dream. Not the world's view of things. Not my abilities. Not my timeframe. Not my ideas. Just Him. I prayed about my enemies - intangible feelings such as self doubt, insecurities, frustration, and discouragement.
Verse 3, "No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse."
Regardless of whether or not my desires become a reality, I will not be put to shame, because God is my God. If His plans coincide with my dreams, I know He will keep His eternal promises.
Verses 4-5a, "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me,"
These words stopped me in my tracks. I began to think more rationally. Why have I been beating my head against a wall? Why have I been consumed with anxiety and frustration? Am I allowing God to direct my paths? God gently reminded me that He is the teacher; we are the students.
Verse 5b, "...for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
If I put my hope in my own desires and abilities, I simply set myself up for failure. My only hope for joy and fulfillment comes from Christ alone. Hope can only be found in Him, not people, careers, husbands, children, church, financial success, a carefree life, or dreams that come true.
Disappointments will always happen. With God, however, we can turn those disappointments into God's appointments to trust Him. The first step is exercise our faith over our feelings.
Dear Lord, You know the hurt in my heart and the sting of disappointments I have experienced. Please help me trust You, instead of being consumed by feelings. Empower me with a faith that is stronger than my emotions. In Jesus' Name, Amen.