You should be living your life with expectancy.
“Yeah, right. Nothing seems to be working out for me right now. Why should I expect it to get better?”
Expectations are central to your ability to handle a wide variety of situations. Expectations set by past experience, education, insight, wisdom, perception, intuition, understanding, and more are all wrapped up in the decisions you make every day.
The challenge is that your expectations are not always in line with the outcomes you achieve. Sometimes you read the situation right, understand the context, see the opportunity and take it. Other times you are blindsided by a gap in your awareness, a change in direction of a peer, or a misunderstanding that leads to a failure to realize the results you were looking for.
Meeting and exceeding expectations is a powerful way to build relationships, grow businesses, develop careers, and succeed in life. But missed expectations can be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome.
“I thought you saw it my way.”
“I could have sworn he would come with us.”
“I was so sure she would back me up on this.”
Missed expectations hurt. Missed opportunities hurt. Missed connections hurt.
Missed promises, failed attempts, lost relationships, misunderstood goals, mismatched interests, misaligned time lines, fundamental conflicts — there are so many ways that people are going to fail you or already have. You likely have memories that replay again and again or that come back even years later from times when your expectations were set or proposed or defined or suggested or understood only to be dashed by the reality of what followed.
Jesus was speaking about dealing with expectations when He said,
“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” – Matthew 5 (NLT)
So many times I have been told that the answer to expectations is simply to “look on the bright side” of what results and “find the silver linings”.
Maybe you were diagnosed with a terminal disease, but at least you will get to spend more time with your family in the time you have left.
Maybe you don’t have enough money to pay the bills, but at least you have your health.
Maybe you thought you were going to start a new business, but at least you have a decent job.
This is certainly a place to start, but God has more in store for you than looking for silver linings.
God is not a God of someday, somewhere. God is a God of right now, right here.
God isn’t asking you to ignore, dismiss, or deny what the enemy has done in your life.
God doesn’t want you to pretend that the enemy isn’t real or that the obstacle isn’t in your way.
God wants to overcome the obstacle with you and defeat the enemy through you.
If the enemy thinks that disease, poverty, and defeat are enough to stop you in your tracks, they had better have another think coming!
You will not be overcome. You will not be stopped. You will not be prevented from achieving everything that God has in store.
You have health coming your way. You have abundance coming your way. You have victory starting right now, right here.
You are not responsible for what has knocked you down. You are only responsible for getting back up again.
God didn’t say life was fair. It isn’t.
What God did say was that He loves every human being the same amount — infinitely.
You have infinite resources at your disposal. So don’t let the momentary interruptions of the enemy overcome the eternal life that God is building in you and through you every day.
One of my favorite lines in the movies is in the 1978 version of “Superman: The Movie” with Christopher Reeve as Superman and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. At one point in the film Lois falls from a damaged helicopter on the roof of the Daily Planet building only to be caught by Superman who swoops in to catch his soon-to-be lady love and her helicopter before both fall to their doom on the streets of Metropolis below.
As Superman takes her up in his rock solid grasp in one arm and flies up the side of the Daily Planet building to catch the helicopter with his other hand he says, “Easy Miss, I’ve got you” to which Lois replies, “You’ve got me!? Who’s got you!?”
It can be all too easy to lose perspective. It can seem more reasonable to get bogged down in assigning blame, explaining the contributing factors, and letting the enemy get the upper hand by allowing their attacks to define your experience and set your expectations.
The answer is to realize that God has you. You aren’t the enemy’s. You belong to God. The enemy doesn’t get the final word. God does.
If you find yourself asking, “You’ve got me!? Who’s got you!?” it may be that you haven’t realized who is holding you yet.
The challenges you face don’t define you. God defines you.
The obstacles you see before you don’t measure you. Overcoming them does.
The greatness of the victory can only be increased by the power of the attack that seeks to prevent it. There is nothing that the enemy can do if you choose victory over defeat, life over death, blessings over the curse.
Consider this. The enemy fought Jesus every step of the way. They sought to confuse, test, tempt, try, hide, discourage, obstruct, deny, silence, and slander Him. The enemy tried over and over again to kill Him and, eventually, they succeeded on a hill at Calvary.
“You’ve got me!? Who’s got you!?”
On a bright and early Sunday morning just a couple of days later everyone found out.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged.
Defeat is temporary. Victory is eternal.
It’s time to start living with expectancy again.