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Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Realistic Expectations - Eleanor Shepherd
can determine whether an experience is positive or negative for us. When we are
expecting an event to be exciting and uplifting and it fails to meet our expectations
we are disappointed. On the other hand, if we participate in a social event out
of a sense of obligation our expectation may not be that we will be enriched by
it. Yet if we enjoy some stimulating conversations and make some interesting
connections with people we will find that this affair exceeded our expectations
and created positive memories for us.
spiritual lives our expectations can determine our progress in learning to
internalize those things that we believe. If we expect that we will never be
able to overcome the character flaws that we become aware of in ourselves, we
may come to a point in our journey where we either conclude that the Gospel is
powerless or that it does not work for us. The spiritual disciplines enable us
to chisel out realistic expectations of who we are and who we can become as we
gain and apply knowledge of who God is and base our relationship with Him on
When I was
in my twenties the Charismatic Renewal was rapidly gaining steam within almost
all denominations. The church was gaining new converts as those who were filled
with the Holy Spirit boldly spoke of the power of God and how he transformed
lives and gave evidence He did. As an avid reader, I read all about this and my
expectations were ignited. If I were filled with the Holy Spirit I would speak
in tongues and do all sorts of dramatic things that would give concrete evidence to
others that God was alive and well in my life. I could be a successful
Christian in every sense of the word.
I turned to
books about the infilling of the Holy Spirit to discover how I could
be a part
of this great movement. As a disciplined individual, I took the books and
followed their instructions to the letter with the expectation that I was going
to at last become a first class Christian. However, nothing happened.
no supernatural manifestations of God’s presence in my life.I did not receive the gift of tongues. I did
not become capable of seeing instant miracles in answer to my prayers. I began
to wonder if I really was in tune with God at all. Instead of becoming the
joyous Christian that I wanted to be, I became miserable.
God in His
grace has blessed me with those around me who have more wisdom than I do. First
my husband, and then a friend assessed my situation accurately. They noted that
I was so unhappy about what I did not have, that I had completely lost the joy
of what I had. The problem was expectations.
God to give me what I felt I should have. However, He is not required to
perform according to my expectations. He is the sovereign God and knows what is
best for me better than I do.What I had
to do was surrender my expectation to Him, so that He could align them with His
purposes for me.
what I finally did. In a time of intimate prayer, I admitted that I had been
expecting God to equip me in the way I thought He should. In humility I had to
admit that I wanted Him more than I wanted what He might choose to give me. I
decided to appreciate all that He had done for me in giving me His forgiveness
and unconditional love. I would choose to love and serve Him whether or not He
ever gave me any spectacular gifts.
was that my life was inundated with an incredible joy that has never left me.
What do I now expect from God? I expect that He will give me exactly what He
knows I need for every situation and He has proved 100 per cent faithful in