Expectations

“He expected them to do what was good . . .”

“Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Almighty; the people of Judah are the vines he planted. He expected them to do what was good, but instead they committed murder. He expected them to do what was right, but their victims cried out for justice.” (Isaiah 5:7)

Last Saturday I attended a special training event led by our bishop.  Now, before I tell this next part let me be sure to emphasize that I was paying attention to the bishop.  However, I’m a drummer, so when I walk into a new sanctuary my attention is drawn to a lot of things, but especially to any sort of drums that might be sitting around.  In this sanctuary they had a set of drums for contemporary songs and a set of tympani as well.  The tympani were parked on the raised platform in the sanctuary up against some beautiful stained-glass windows.  Since I was sitting on the floor level, all I could see of the tympani were the sides.  The heads of the drums were above my line of sight.  The longer I sat there looking at the drums and the sun passing through the windows, I began to wonder.  “Hmmm, there are no covers on those tympani, hmmm . . . I wonder if the windows are in the drums?”  My expectations were realized when I went up to the drums during a break and found these beautiful reflections in the photo.

Expectations, we have them of our selves, we have them of others, and others have them of us.  Expectations can be positive, serving to guide us toward particular goals and decisions.  Expectations from others can help us formulate strength and character that we might not have found on our own.  Expectations from others can help us learn to develop realistic expectations for our selves.  We learn to count on our selves because we’ve learned we can fulfill expectations.  We learn to pace our selves in such a way that even when we slip or falter, there’s hope.  Learning to formulate realistic expectations for our selves and striving to meet them is an important life skill.

Expectations can also be negative, so unrealistic and heavy that they can literally beat a person into despair.  The only expectation someone suffering under such a burden can hope to make is the expectation that they will fail – again.  We can learn to make such negative expectations of our selves from a variety of experiences.  We might make such despairing expectations because we’ve been so tainted by the expectations others have had of us.  We might also learn to make such negative expectations because of other life circumstances, including illnesses like depression.

I think it’s important that every once in a while we stop and ask our selves some important questions: First, what expectations do I have of my self?  Second, what expectations do I feel others have of me?  And third, what expectations does God have of me?  With each question it’s also important to ask:  How do the expectations make me feel?  Do they motivate me toward some positive outcome, or do they simply reinforce a negative image of my self that’s defeating or paralyzing.  I guess we should ask similar questions about our expectations of others, as well as our expectations of God.  After this sort of examination we might need to make some changes in our expectations.

Expectations and our responses to them make a difference.  That’s the story in the passage from Isaiah.  God’s expectations are pretty much laid out in Jesus’s new commandment in the Gospel of John: “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  What are the expectations that guide and influence you?  I pray that God will help me live into God’s divine expectations revealed for me in the love of Christ.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on April 13, 2016.

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