I have to admit...very rarely are there nuggets of a Sunday sermon that stick with me longer than the time it takes to drive home from church...but this week was different. This Sunday was a service dedicated to families and included baby dedication and a message that in some ways was directed towards parents but was really applicable to anyone who has any close relationships with absolutely anyone.
It was a sermon about pruning. It was a discussion about pruning those things from your life that need to be removed in order to allow other things to flourish and how to prayerfully prune those you love in a way that lifts them up instead of tearing them down. The speaker talked about 5 different things that we need to prune from our lives in order to be filled with the love & compassion God desires for us to have. And again, I honestly can't remember them all...but I remember one specifically and it's been eating away at me ever since.
Expectations. They sound great, right? Looking longingly towards an event with joy & happiness of what's to come. Going into a situation or relationship with high hopes of everything going just swell. Getting your hopes up for new and exciting things because it all seems so perfect. Ever been there?
Sounds like a fairy tale to me. Except I am SO incredibly guilty of thinking that all of these crazy expectations I have in my head are going to come true. Then when something or even more likely someone doesn't meet my expectations I am a frustrated, bitter, grouchy individual who is a real joy to be around.
Sunday's sermon was a real slap in the face for me. For an incredibly LONG time, and maybe for my entire life, I have had these unreasonable and unrealistic expectations of people or situations and SO many times it's these expectations that disappoint me or hurt me, and not the actual individual. My crazy expectations put so much pressure on those around me and even on myself, which truthfully sets every one of us up for failure. My expectations have gotten so out of control that anything less than perfection or at least anything less than what I've imagined comes into my brain and convinces me that failure has just happened. That I've been let down....again.
However, in reality, those expectations were never anywhere close to being realistic! Those expectations were crafted out of my sinful, human brain and created this idea of an absolutely perfect family, perfect husband, perfect child, perfect friendship, perfect whatever. And those ideas have come from song lyrics, movies, status' from friends on Facebook, reading blogs, magazines, conversations with friends..whatever, it's all around us! Anytime I come across something that might seem a little bit better than what I currently have, I add it to my LONG list of unreachable expectations and when it doesn't happen immediately or without effort--check it off as another failure. Or at least another disappointment.
But God didn't create us to live up to any expectation but his. He wants us to love him. Period. And to love others. Second Period. That's it. If I love Him and love others the way that I want to be loved--eventually those crazy human expectations will be replaced with some incredible realization that I have a pretty incredible life--that far exceeds my expectations every single day!
So I really have no idea, what the point of this post was...other than to try and get some of my crazy thoughts from the last few days out in actual sentences and paragraphs. I've sat down and made a brief list of all the unrealistic expectations I have for myself and even for those around me....wow, that list is RIDICULOUS!!! So my goal is to work on removing those expectations, to accept the blessings I receive each day as good enough, and to step away from my sinful human expectations and look at God's expectations for my life and know that those are the only ones that matter.
I loved what the speaker said on Sunday morning..."So many times you hear that the grass is greener on the other side, it's really not greener...it's just better taken care of!" So my goal is to take better care of my grass, to work it, and put effort into it, and pray over it--so that instead of thinking that the grass is greener, maybe I'll take a moment and pause to reflect on how blessed I am to have green grass at all.
1 year ago