“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV).
Much of life’s enjoyment relies on correct expectations. We battle our expectations of ourselves, and the expectations others place on us. And when we dig still deeper, we discover we’re even harboring expectations of God. These can make or break our spiritual lives. When God lives up to our expectations, we thrive spiritually. When he doesn’t, we are left disillusioned.
It is not wrong to have expectations. But at times along the way, we may find that saying goodbye to our normal expectations is a healthy step to take. We do this in a sense by faith, believing God has a plan that’s better than even our best expectations. We do this by allowing God to rebuild our expectations in light of who he is and what he has promised. When we place our hope and anticipation in his expectations, we can be confident they will never be destroyed.
We’re used to speaking in the negative of expectations that must be lowered, plans that
go unmet, and hopes being destroyed when our expectations are unmet. When we walk in faith, placing our expectations on what God will do, we can receive more than we can ask or think. It’s good and necessary to make plans and natural to expect those plans to go through without a hitch. But what if our expectations are limiting the work God wants to accomplish in and through us?
As we seek to say goodbye to normal and to the expectations we hold for our lives, our families, and our futures, our role is to simply take the next step in front of us, asking God
to turn any disappointed expectations into a greater expectation of what he will do in and through us. It means handing control over the outcome of our lives to God. Let’s say so long to
our expectations, asking God for fresh eyes and fresh faith to expect greater things to come— greater than we could dare to dream.
Keep in mind that leaving your normal for what God has in store may require time to break patterns of thought or rhythms of life. Whatever your process or time frame for saying goodbye may be, let it be just that: your process, your time frame. God is never in a hurry, and most of his best works are long works.
As you work to let go of control, you will see that God is your source of security—not your plans, circumstances, or relationships. This releasing keeps bitterness for taking root and allows us to trust that God is good. We can choose to respond with faith. To choose faith means to let go of the security of our man-made plans and embrace a greater plan—a plan perfectly designed by the God who is our true provider.
Living anxiety-free is not normal for most of us, and often we don’t even consider worry a sin. But worry is wringing our hands wondering whether God will come through. As God’s children we are secure in his palm (see John 10:29). God wants us to be set free of worry and has provided truth to help us deal with our anxiousness. Look to the one who promised he would always provide.
How would you describe the dominant subjects of your times in prayer? How can prayer help you align your will with God’s?
How can you actively choose to dwell in gratitude for what God is doing and will do in your life?
When you consider the future, what does it look like to choose faith rather than anxiety?
Take a gratitude walk. As you look around, consider all that God has provided for you and thank him for those things, people, and circumstances. Thank God for the way he is using difficult things in your life as opportunities to choose faith. Listen to Laura Story’s song “One Life to Lose” (available on YouTube).
Lord Jesus, thank you that you have great plans for using my life in your greater story. Help me to look at each circumstance as an opportunity to choose faith in you. Help me to let go of expectations that are not grounded in you and to release any anxiety that hinders my security in your capable hands. I praise you for the truth in your word that helps me to know of your
faithfulness in the past and your power to fulfill your promises in the future. Amen.