When I was a young child, my doctor told me that I was the greatest “anticipator” he had met. So, I look forward to things, including pain. So what? The only problem with that is my heart response when things don’t go the way I expect. Yes, I tend to be a dreamer and this “housecleaning lesson” is difficult for me. I would like life to be a certain way and I can become frustrated when it doesn’t.
Today I am going to ask the Lord to relieve me of my expectations. Now, before you react, let me explain. I have no desire to become a fatalist (what will be will be). I believe there is good in life and I want some of it. I will set goals and work to achieve them. I will maintain a perspective on life that is positive and beneficial because I trust in the love of God for me. Fatalism is not Christian.
But setting up a future in my mind that conforms only to my desires or expectations isn’t Christian either, especially when I become angry or upset because the real future does not conform to my image. Much of our negative emotion comes because we are not willing to accept reality. We expected something different, something we thought would be better.
If I want to be rid of the fear of failure, I have three choices: try nothing, perform perfectly, or release my expectations of success. Since no one can live by either doing nothing or by doing everything perfectly, the only way to be truly free of fear is to be rid of the expectation of what is desired. Will the people like me? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Will this project work? Perhaps failure will lead to future success. Most of the things we fear are tied to our expectations.
If I want to be rid of anger, I have three choices: stay away from all relationships, forgive everyone instantly, or release my expectations of others. Now, it would be great to be able to forgive everyone instantly, but I am not there yet and by the time I get there I won’t have anything to forgive. Instead, I could realize that others go through their lives sinning and failing just like me. Sometimes their sins and failures affect me. When I tie my happiness to a future or a result that depends on their perfection, I am foolish indeed.
So, here’s what I am going to ask the Lord: Surprise me with your love and help me not to focus on the future for my happiness. Let me enjoy today and trust you to provide and protect in the best way for me. Let me plan and build, but remind me not to define success by my limited perspective. Let me dream and desire, but let my delight be in You. Remind me that others have their walk, that You have Your good plan, and that the reason I need a Savior is because I am prone to error. Tell me again that I do not have to be afraid.