By: Hannah Schelling
A couple months ago I bought a book called “The Best Yes” written by Lysa Terkeurst. I bought this book because at the time, I was troubled with knowing when to say “no” and when to say “yes” to certain people and certain situations. In the chapter I read last week, Lysa talked about the space between our expectations and our reality. Personally, I always try to see ahead of my current situation and what the outcome or future might look like. It’s a struggle for me to see ahead when making decisions because in my own mind, I have so many different expectations that I get stuck in the midst of it all. I try to decide which expectations are real, which expectations am I basing my decisions off of too much, and how do I let go of the expectations that are just simply unrealistic.
Psalm 23 is a whole chapter on God being the shepherd to his people.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
The word “want” means to lack something, to become empty, or to be without. If the Lord is our shepherd, we don’t’ have to lack, we don’t have to be without, and we most certainly don’t have to become empty. We don’t have to constantly be drained dry by our circumstances and expectations. Expectations of what we wish things could be, but they won’t be. A lot of times I get caught up in trying to live this “perfect” life. Being the perfect student, having a lot of friends, being the perfect Christian, and the perfect daughter. It’s all just not realistic though. If I am already perfect, and if I already am living out this great expectation of myself and my own life than how am I going to be used by God?
Expectations hold us captive, the unrealistic ones anyway. Having expectations and holding on to them, and living off of them will be the very thing that keeps you away from the reality that God has intended for you to live. So, you might ask, how can I know if my expectation is unrealistic or not? Ask yourself, does this certain expectation stretch you past your limits mentally and emotionally? Does it push you to some kind of breaking point? Does this expectation leave you feeling hopeless, stressed, does it feel forced; or do you lose yourself trying to fulfill it? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then it is an unrealistic expectation. Don’t confuse yourself with the saying, “God won’t give me anything I can’t handle” because although it is true, he also wouldn’t give you such a sticky situation and unrealistic expectations to overcome if it didn’t glorify him. Evaluate your options, evaluate the expectations and don’t let them become something that they aren’t meant to be, because God is always in control not us.
You weren’t meant to become empty, dried out, and disappointed and when you get to that point, you weren’t made to stay that way. You were made to rise up, to live in truth and peace. It’s never easy to understand the expectations you had aren’t realistic. They aren’t easy to let go of. Having an idea of what your life should be like, what your relationships, and friendships should be like will waste all of your energy trying to make them reality. Nobody is perfect, and not everyone has it all figured out.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:2-3)
If Jesus is our shepherd, we can be at peace knowing that he will lead us towards good things. His reality is better than any of our expectations.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
All of the things that we try to fix and make happen by our own hands and in our own time just won’t work, because the God had his own expectations for our lives and he will continue to complete his good works in us until it is finished.