Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Expectations



"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1

You were waiting for this big event. It was going to change your life. Counting down to the big day was like watching paint dry. The moment you’d been waiting for finally arrived. But wait…it wasn't so special after all. What happened?

You expected it to be better than that. Expectations are such a plague.

My expectations are a Me-Problem. Your expectations are a You-Problem.

You waited for your wedding day and when it finally arrived, you soon discovered that weddings come with marriages attached. Marriages are a work of heart.

You waited to have a baby and then you finally gave birth to the most demanding little boss you’ve ever met. Parenting is a work of heart.

You expected more of that person, but they disappointed you. Relationships are a workout for the heart.

Expectations magnify events to epic proportions. No wonder they fail to please us. 

When we're waiting for any change in life, it usually comes with a vision in our minds of how life will be once our expectations are met. Visions hold hands with expectations, skipping into our lives looking so ideal, and then reality shows up.

God waits for us to get this: He doesn’t want us looking at tomorrow on the calendar with longing in our hearts. He also doesn't want us stuck in the past. He wants us to live the moments He grants us. Why are we squandering today’s moments on the yesterday we no longer possess or the tomorrow that has yet to come?

Our expectations are in constant combat with reality. It is very rare that the things we’re expecting live up to our imaginations. What can we do with our tendency to live in a state of continuous waiting for people, places, and things to live up to our dreams?

We can take all expectations to God and leave them as prayer requests. When we transform an expectation into a request, we can detach from it. Our demanding expectations do not have to rule us. We can unplug the power of expectations by passing them to the Lord and leaving them there.

Expectation is not a bad word. It's actually biblical, when it comes in the form of hope rather than a demand. If we're pouting because something didn't go the way we wanted, that is demanding expectation. When we're able to sincerely pray, "Lord, your will be done," that is hopeful expectation. Prayer transforms demanding expectations into hopeful expectations. 

Hopeful expectations are never followed by adult temper tantrums because whatever happens, we have already accepted that God is doing what is best for our lives. Abandon the demanding expectations. Trade them for hope.
"And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee." Psalm 39:7
Francie Taylor


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Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Not Yets


We pray. We wait.

We repeat.

We pray. We wait.

We repeat...

What's on your waiting list of prayers? I call this my list of Not Yets. 

The waiting period of prayer is labor, and this labor builds strength. We may think that we would prefer to just have our answers without the strength-training, but God loves us too much to give us whatever we want. 

It is possible for an adult to be just as spoiled as a toddler.

Parents know what happens when they let toddlers have their way. It's chaos and crabbiness. We are grown up toddlers if we are only happy when things are going our way. Waiting and praying through some very uncomfortable situations is "wait training" at its best. We wait. We grow. We learn how to patiently endure, and then the next waiting period doesn't seem as hard.

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalm 27:14)

The list of Not Yets is often filled with people and circumstances that matter to us most. We are not taking these prayer requests lightly, and have often soaked a pillow with tears while praying...and waiting. We know that God answers prayer in the manner and timing that He deems best, and we realize that can't rush Him. It's just challenging to wait for answers to things that weigh so heavily on our hearts. 

God is building our strength along with good courage while we pray and wait. We may imagine that it would be easier to just put in a prayer request by 10 a.m. and have the answer by 4 p.m., but having our answers on demand would train us to expect life to be easy. Life is not an endless series of easy paths. Extended times of prayer are also extended times spent with God. We want a stronger relationship with God, so we need to learn to accept that sometimes that depth is developed in the dark and needy times.

What about those times when the answer seems to be "no"? It may actually be a different "yes." When I was praying for my husband Norman to be healed from cancer, I really meant this: "Dear Lord, please heal my Norman and spare his life." God's answer was to heal my Norman by taking him where there is no cancer. A very different yes.

God hears and answers prayer repeatedly. We don't know how or when our particular answer will come, but we have not been forgotten. Until we have an answer, the best position is keep our sins confessed, keep our attitudes right, and trust God. He knows what He is doing, as well as when He will do it and why.

Keep praying. He hears you. And for loving reasons that only He knows, the answer right now is not yet. Pray on.

"Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me." (Psalm 27:7)



Expectations

"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."  Proverbs 27:1 You were waiting for thi...