In the beginning of 2019, I asked the Lord for a word to mark this new season. The word he gave was expectancy.
I began to turn this word over in my mind. Living with expectancy, to me, meant living with the joyful anticipation that something good is going to happen because God is good, and His promises are true.
We live in a culture of expectation, something that is altogether different than a lifestyle of expectancy.
Expectation means that you will achieve something. Everywhere you look, people expect things. Others expect things of us. We expect things of others. We expect things from circumstances. We expect things from God. None of this is bad, in and of itself… but when our expectations are not met, disappointment can seep in, which over the course of 2018, is exactly where I found myself.
The more my expectations were not met, the more disappointed I became, and soon, I grew discouraged. The problem is, when you carry discouragement, you have little room left for the joy of expectancy.
My Perfect or His Perfect?
Years ago, I heard Stephan DaSilva speak in Santa Barbara about what makes something ‘perfect.’
Ancient Greek culture disdained the olive tree as ugly and ill formed. There is no such thing as an olive tree with perfect symmetry, hence, to a Greek, there is no such thing as a perfect olive tree. However, to the Jewish culture, the olive tree is one of the most highly regarded of all fruit trees. It operates exactly as God designed it to, symmetrically or not, and as such, it is perfect.
Our idea of ‘perfect’ often does not line up with God’s idea of perfect.
The process of growing, harvesting, and curing olives is a long one. But if I release my expectations for things to happen the way I think they should happen and make room for expectancy, my fruit will be sweet, not bitter.
It’s difficult to release expectations on yourself when you feel the need to perform well. Especially when people you love are involved. Expectancy allows the Father to work in our lives, and in other’s lives. Expectation sets everyone up for failure.
As I contemplated the last year, I came to the conclusion that I was trying to love people well, but it was rooted in performance. Why? My actions were based on my idea of ‘perfect,’ and not my Fathers. Anytime that happens, creativity and life get stifled.
When we operate as designed, then our hearts are perfect towards the Lord, which is so sweet. We don’t have to be flawless or live up to everyone else’s expectations. All we have to do is learn, discover, and continue to live with expectancy.
We’re still early in the year, and now, with this new perspective, I’ve found that taking my focus off of all the expectations leaves a huge horizon for God to move and bring solutions and strategies to what I am facing day by day. And there is so much freedom and peace in letting Him do it!