Expectations could be the death of me.
Unmet expectations that is.
I will never forget in premarital counseling our counselor said, “The greater your expectations the greater your disappointment.” File that one away in the mental Rolodex. I have quoted him a million times. I have suffered disappointment and had my heart broken by my husband, my kids, my family, my neighbors, my church, our job, my friends.
Unmet expectations are not caused by people alone.
Disappointment comes from a new pair of running shoes, a restaurant, new laundry detergent, my cable provider, a cake I made, the weather, birthday parties, a book, a doctor’s visit.
Today, for example, I loaded up all the boys for a surprise trip to the movie store. It is rainy and cold….how fun to have a movie day. We get there and I let them loose in the family section. “Pick one each! They are only 99 cents!” Let me tell you, my second born is the most indecisive child on the planet. He picked up Space Buddies, put it back. Picked up Wiggles, put it back (Praise the Lord). Picked up Curious George, put it back. Pick one!! So FINALLY we get up to the check out, put our movies and a Reece’s peanut butter cup on the counter….that will be $12.33. Say what? “Yes, ma’am. We have changed our rental policy. All movies are $5.00 for five days. It will be an additional dollar per late day.” Well. Every now and again Darlene (my Mother) comes out. She did not tolarate feeling ripped off and she had no reservation in saying so. “Are you kidding me?” I said. ” What happened to no more late fees? Five dollars!? I could practically buy the movies for that. Why wasn’t I notified about this?” Yes I really said the last part. The clerk was so nice, empathetic and apologetic.
So, two movies, a piece of chocolate and $12.33 later, we are home. Expectations. Unmet. Disappointment.
The Word says that, “Hope deffered makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12.
A sick heart. What a word picture.
Sick in this verse means wounded and grieved. Wouldn’t you agree that disappointment grieves your heart?
But…a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Awww…. But wait. Exactly what does that mean? … A tree of life is living, alive, flowing, fresh (of water), lively, active, reviving. Self explanatory, yes. Piecing it back together …. Hope deffered, or disappointment, grieves our hearts, but a longing fulfilled, or a met expectation, is reviving like fresh water.
How does this apply to us in a world where man is fallen and we WILL hurt one another? The movie store WILL abruptly raise their fees? Our kids WILL do something we thought they never could do? Only one person shows up to your birthday party? The doctor gives a grim diagnosis?
There is not one simple answer. However, there is One common denominator. Jesus. He is The Fulfillment of our expectations. He is our Tree of Life. He is our Reviver. He is the Fresh Water.
One of my best friends sent me a very insightful message in regards to my “sick heart” not long ago. She said, “I was praying for you and thinking through what it looks like in the spiritual realm for you to chose to lay down your rights, feelings, expectations (whether right or wrong) and chose love and grace. What victory for Christ! The ramifications are huge and there is a rippling effect.” Yes. What if we could just lay down our expectations, give each other a break and love each other deeply? To choose grace over grudge? Allow Jesus to be our fulfillment? He met the ultimate expectation on the Cross. Perspective. Oh Jesus. I could cry. The freedom to be had. I want it.
I need healing here. Am I alone on this? I would love to hear from you and how the Lord has walked you through or is walking you through hope deffered.
I want a healthy heart. Not a sick one.