Remaining Present Through Expectations

(written by Abby Hamilton)

Have you ever noticed how much our expectations affect our state of mind?

Over the last few months I have been in and out of doctor’s offices. I had understood that after my surgery, I would start a protocol of treatments two weeks later.

But those two weeks turned into a series of delayed appointments, unexpected additional appointments and a stomach virus that backed everything up. Although I was feeling fine physically, I was irritated and impatient emotionally. I wanted to know when the treatments would get started. I wanted a date. I thought I would be well underway toward completion and hadn’t even begun! Two weeks turned into four and was heading toward five.

I hated living in limbo.

Honestly, there was zero rush on starting treatments. But, I had “understood” that they would begin in two weeks and it was way past that! Instead of enjoying feeling great and enjoying my daily life, I was frustrated.

Usually, I don’t realize I have false expectations until that inward disappointment begins to set in.

Disappointment and dashed expectations are part of our human experience. We are so human – limited in knowledge and certainly very limited in what we can control.

As I began to realize the power of expectations shape my internal peace and joy, I have been asking God what I can expect from Him.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is: His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

What can I expect from God? His will, His plan, His involvement in my life is good, pleasing and perfect.

He doesn’t say that His will is easy and I get a “pass” on difficult situations. He doesn’t say I get immediate gratification on what I want when I want it.

We’ve been learning about “remaining present” this semester. What do I do when disappointment and frustration well up inside because things aren’t as I expected? I think the beginning of Romans 12:2 is a good place to start. We are told to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The beginning point for me is when I release my expectations to the Lord. Journalling or telling Him what didn’t go the way I thought and expressing my disappointments to Him, begins to clear my head. My inner rants are given to Him and there begins to be space in my head to hear His Voice. By faith I begin to focus on what I can expect from Him.

His way for me is good. His way for me is pleasing, even when it doesn’t feel enjoyable at the moment. His way for me is perfect, even if the timing feels eternally long!

Rehearsing all my reasons for why something is wrong or too slow or whatever only keeps my mind refueling on frustration. Releasing these reasons and emotions to the Lord (and also to trusted Jesus-minded friends), begins to open my mind to the transforming power of Christ to trust in the unseen. We can truly expect His plan for us to be good, pleasing and perfect.

So, I finally received a start date to the treatments. And guess what? The date is perfect. I don’t have to miss Moms Groups and other involvements I love. Two weeks turned into seven weeks, but sitting here right now, I’m happy about it.

Sometimes it just drives me crazy how right God always is! 🙂

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