Expectations. We all have them. Expectations for our marriages, our friends, our children, our careers, our retirement and the list goes on. Sometimes we don’t even realize that they exist until they are challenged. As hopeful and optimistic as the expectancy can make us feel, it can become equally heart-breaking and devastating.
At the time that I met and married my husband, my life circumstances were, let’s say, not ideal. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior earlier in my life but He was definitely not at the center of it. I had not surrendered control or chosen to seek His direction. When we married, I was so hopeful that my knight in shining armor would fill all the empty places and mend the broken ones. I knew just what I needed and the part that my husband would play in making it happen. Ok, this is where the beautiful music stops abruptly and you hear the needle scratching across the record. God had other plans and I am ever grateful. My husband tried to meet my expectations but it very quickly became apparent that he was just a mere mortal like me. Fortunately for him – and me – in our second year of marriage, we surrendered control of our lives and marriage to God. Allowing God to fill the empty places and mend the broken ones yields a much better outcome. It wasn’t an overnight change. Often, healing takes time. I didn’t always see God’s hand as the changes came but we relied on Him and our commitment was to do it His way. By doing so, I could remove from my husband the expectation for something that only God could do.
“He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3
I was then, and I remain, thankful for God’s choice of a spouse for me.
There are so many expectations in life. Some trivial and some monumental. So many times they are wrong from the start. The motivation behind them is often not based in truth. That’s where God comes in. When we surrender the expectations to Him, He will direct our path to His planned destination and He does it with love and patience. Perfectly, in fact. Sometimes we can see where we are going and sometimes, it’s one step at a time. Either way, we can depend on His character.
“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord determines his steps.”
Other expectations are hopes and dreams. Some placed in our hearts by God himself. When surrendered, they become desires that we can confidently hand over to Him. We may not understand His plan to accomplish things in our lives or why the timing is what it is, but we can trust that His heart is always for our good.
The more I practiced letting God hold my desires, the more I began to see where my heart’s desires and His plans intersected. Life has definitely had it’s difficult and challenging times, but I have been able to see His goodness in all of it. Not because the circumstance or the outcome was always what I desired but because my hope is in Him. I am so thankful that God attends to all that concerns me!
“Rest in God alone, my soul, for
My hope comes from Him.”