The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Expectations—sometimes real, sometimes perceived, sometimes mine, sometimes others—are an effective tool of the enemy in my life. Freedom for an abundant, victorious life is mine when I bring it all back to Jesus.
Rebellion was my youthful response to expectations. The guy with a jail record or a tattoo was more interesting than the hard-working student. An apartment and work as a waitress more appealing than college. Riding a motorcycle was a contradictory expectation to embrace. Gradually fierce independence became an iron chain; its lock closed tight with my dad’s death and my subsequent rejection of anything expected by God.
Rejecting existing expectations necessitates establishing our own. So, I set out to be the ‘best’ human being I could conjure up. God simply waited for me to realize my best was not too impressive. In His love and mercy, He even blessed me along the way. God provided a perfect man for me: raised in a conservative Baptist home but wandering far away in chains of his own, Craig was (and is) a treasure from God. While God’s hand was unseen by all, He was at work in the midst of our chains of alcohol and faulty expectations. In the workplace, I found success and joy in serving others…secular humanism was an appealing, deceptive chain. A decade of band-aid service began to reveal the hopelessness of striving to live within its expectations.
Then, my loving God gave the ultimate blessing: pregnancy. Pregnancy comes with a list of ‘to dos’ that I was faithful to follow. A high-risk pregnancy and premature birth were the unexpected results. Mothering a premature baby quickly revealed that my best would never be enough; my self-created expectations and desires were a waste of time. The need for a greater planner than me was the key that unlocked my heaviest chain: self-reliance. Every chain unlocked when I accepted God’s expectations; but He allows each chain to remain until I see the faulty expectation I have accepted and choose to embrace His perfect plan.
The persistent love of God, life itself and my inadequacies continue to expose new chains—and give greater blessings. A second baby arrived with a passionate temperament-- and colic. She joined her toddler sibling, a terrier puppy, and our two-careers to exhaust all remaining reserves of self-reliance. Aggressive cancer created nursing needs for my mother that I could not meet. Daily, the weight of high school home education crushes me if I seek to meet my expectations—or those of friends or even college recruiters. The list could go on but the answer is always the same: take the yoke of Jesus. His only expectation is that I look to Him and trust Him. Accepting God’s expectations frees me to see that His love and power are sufficient for every situation.
What expectations are choking off the abundant life in you? The eternal paradox of freedom as a slave to the King of Kings is the key to joyful, abundant living. Please share your glimpse of the freeing ways of Christ. Give God the glory that others will see Him and long for Him.