Thursday, March 16, 2017

Great Expectations


May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desired be withered into nothingness,
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child
And sing and dance in the love of God
Who is the Father, Son, and Spirit.

~ Blessing given to Brennan Manning by Larry Hines

What great expectations do you put on yourself?

What about on others?

I seem to be running up against others’ expectations and assumptions. In some ways I’m quite traditional. In others I’m an outspoken bohemian. Do I have it together completely in all areas of my life? Am I always happy and satisfied with every outcome and every situation? Of course not. But keep in mind my version of contentment and your version of contentment may look very different.

And God’s version of contentment? Oh, I think we have no idea.

We wrap life up in a tidy package in a two-hour feature film, a chick-flick-like romance novel, or better yet a Hallmark movie. Perhaps my current healthy distance from paid television is skewing my outlook and attitude.

We all edit ourselves in certain circumstances and for certain audiences. It just has to be done. Living completely maskless probably isn’t wise, nor does it serve a higher purpose. It’s refreshing when you can relax and be yourself, though.

I’m a happy person most of the time, but I’m finding when I express a passing lament, a dissatisfaction with some situation, a desire for something more, or maybe a desire for something in particular … said passing expression gets swept up and set in stone as a be-all, end-all goal for all time.

There’s a second version of the expectation grind. People want your goals to look like theirs, or the great American dream, or some great hope they have for you specifically. Perhaps to them you’re the Great White Hope that will restore their faith in humanity.

Pedestals have their perks, but mostly they suck.

Maybe there’s a third version of problems-with-expectations. Goals and dreams we had long ago. Life, learning, experiences, acquired wisdom via good and bad things … those have all shaped my existence, my hopes and dreams. What I wanted at age twenty-five doesn’t look much like what I want now.

And I know what you’re thinking. How can her life have changed so much in just four short years???

It’s truly a paradox.

Cats drinking coffee on camels. Also quite the conundrum.

Today has been a day of praying without ceasing. I’ve done pretty well in staving off the distractions. Both the oblivious / well-intentioned and the wow-this-feels-like-it’s-straight-from-Satan-and-intended-to-pull-me-off-the-most-important-thing-I-can-be-doing-right-now. Get thee behind me. Y’all can wait.

I’ve had plenty of moments and phases and seasons when I was seeking direction. Direction from above, but sometimes that comes in the form of a person placed in your path. I realize that. But when it’s from above, you just know. Acceptance and understanding may take much longer, but you just know. You can litmus test it to an extent (hello, scripture), and that helps, but you just know.

The little smidges of expectations, assumptions, and offers to help change my life I’ve been running into are more like anti-direction than direction. I don’t need fixed so much. I’m content. There are a couple things I have my eyebrow raised at right now, but I’m content.

There are some things I just know. They may not look traditional at all. And I don’t care. And I don’t care what you think. And I don’t care what you think I should do. And I don’t care what you think the outcome should be. Am I violating biblical commandments? No? Okay, so it’s all good, right? Great. I’m gonna crawl back into my little cocoon of no false or forced expectations for a bit …

Keep looking up. Maybe you’re supposed to go that way.

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