Unmet expectations are cancerous to our faith in God. They eat away at our confidence that God is a good God and is capable of not just doing what He promises, but that He also cares about what we desire and is able to deliver on it. We think because He hasn’t clicked His fingers and given us what we want in the way we want it, that He either doesn’t care about us or that He is powerless to do something about it. So we get disappointed and we get angry and we shake our fists, all the while failing to realise that it’s our expectations that have led us here.
It took years for me to realise that it wasn’t that God didn’t care about my desires, rather it was my “ATM” approach to God and these desires that was the issue. If I just did the right thing, if I just played the Christian part right, if I said all the right things, then God would love me enough to deliver on what I wanted.
I am currently going through a process of undoing. I knew for years in my head that God loves me, but I truly am only now discovering that for real. That I don’t have to behave a certain way to win His affection. If something that I have asked of Him hasn’t made it’s way into my life yet, then it’s either a bad thing for me (so withholding it is an expression of His love) or He is working on it. I have also realised that this is how I have approached every relationship in my life. And I mean every relationship, from friends and family through to romantic relationships. If I could do and say the right things and earn your love, then that would mean I was accepted. But it all hinged on me earning your love.
Whilst this might seem obvious to some, for me it has only been this year through a lot of soul-searching and some amazing mentors, that I have realised I had it all wrong. I’m in a season of proactively re-training my mind to know first that God loves me, regardless of achievement or how high I raise my hands on Sunday, and secondly the things I want, the things I desire, He knows about and is willing, is able and wants to deliver on them.
God simply says to bring your requests to Him. He doesn’t ask for your map on how to get to where you want to be or what you want. He just says “Tell me….and leave the rest to me. I love you. I’ve got this.”
That’s why that little thought of “I thought I’d be doing that with my husband” that wafted through my brain caught my attention immediately. My spidey-senses started to tingle and I knew that there was something not right with that thought. There was something deeper to it and I needed to bring it into the light.
We find ourselves wrapped in bitterness and anger and disappointment because we are holding ransom the “how” of our desires. We think that because we can dream it then we know how to get there or what the best way to get there is. If we could just trust God enough, if we could just let go enough, if could just surrender, and then surrender again, we might just see the miraculous unfold before us. We might just see God deliver on our desire in a truly mind-blowing way. A way we could never have thought of. A way that is exceedingly, abundantly above anything we could ever hope or imagine. A way that puts Him at the centre of it all instead of us.
I’m choosing surrender again. I haven’t seen the mind-blowing miraculous unfold yet, but I surrender the desire, surrender my thinking, surrender my ‘how’ and instead choose to believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
So I’m going to give morning church ago. When I walk inside on Sunday I will probably be clutching my coffee tight and eagerly seeking out my friends. I’ll probably yawn in the sermon and wish I was at home, snoozing in bed. But I’ll go. And I’ll go because I choose to no longer hold out for my way, holding the “how” to ransom in expectation for God to deliver on what I want. I’ll go because, with or without a husband, God has led me to this point. I’ll go because I trust His way more than I trust my own.
Article supplied with thanks to Neri Morris.
About the Author: Neri is a speaker and mentor focused on helping you have an authentic faith life.