I really try and focus on JOY and HOPE. Because life is good, and God is faithful.
But sometimes, I get swallowed up in the creep.
The creep of unmet expectations.
They showed up with great fanfare about a month ago.
Maybe you can relate to moments like this? …
We have plans, but someone else changes them.
(Our plan is to get home by a certain time, but someone else is late, delayed, or changes their plans.)
Our hopes are high and then they hit the ground hard.
(Thanksgiving family get-togethers? Gathering with friends over a meal? Minnesota Vikings fans?)
Prayers are prayed but God feels silent.
(We’ve all felt this … lost.)
We want simple and easy, and complex and hard show up.
And isn’t this interesting …
When one or two of our expectations aren’t met, we start to look for situations that let us down, right? We begin to expect that we will be disappointed or hurt. And sure enough, that’s what happens. And then we become even more annoyed. Frustrated. Bothered.
Yup. It’s the creep of unmet expectations, like an ugly rash on our neck.
And we’ve given it a place to settle.
Well, I got tired of my own reactions to annoyances, and the gloominess was not a fun place to live. So, I got rid of the creep by looking at The Shepherd.
In my Psalm 23 studies, I keep going back to the first verse:
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I have everything that I need.”
That means that God supplies all our needs. He has given me everything I need for my present happiness. He takes care of me. He is greater than I can ever imagine. He is God. I am not.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
(By the way, when really big-time crummy stuff is going on in my life, I still believe that He is supplying my needs through His divine way, with a love for me I cannot begin to comprehend. He gives me Peace. Calm. Rest. As Babbie Mason says, “When you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”)
This Christmas season lays out a smorgasbord of potential unmet expectations: family gatherings, meals together, full churches, money to pay the bills, health, hugging those we love, shopping trips, peace.
Our responses to those unmet expectations matter.
We can choose to grumble under our breath, argue with those we disagree with online, and discuss ad nauseum with anyone who will listen about how awful the world is, or …
We can see the lovely glimpses of joy and beauty and good around us. We can watch how people are showing love through actions and words and we can keep our annoyances to ourselves and show each other love-enriched grace.
We can recognize all of our needs that are being met.
For the next few weeks, I’m staying connected to Psalm 23, verse 1.
Want to join me? I hope so.