So your wife expects that you will not be home later than 5:15 pm. Your husband expects that the house will always be perfectly clean, your boss expects that you will always work overtime, your parents expect a 4.0 grade point every semester, and on the list goes. Not all expectations are bad or oppressive, so decide which ones you can live with patiently without fussing about them, and then do that, that is be patient and don’t fuss, verbally or in your thoughts.
Where and when possible choose to “go the second mile”, that is choose to do more than what is expected, when you only do what is expected you are a prisoner, when you choose to do more than what is expected you are acting in freedom.
In the Old Testament Daniel was expected by his captors to eat food that was in violation of Jewish dietary laws. They had this expectation because they believed it was the healthiest food, and would make Daniel strong. Daniel graciously suggested a test where he would eat foods that were approved by the standards of the Laws of God in the book of Leviticus for a time and then the “boss” could check and see if Daniel was healthier or not. Gracious communication can often clear up expectations and what they are doing to you.
Sometimes you simply do what you believe is best and right and you trust God and take whatever displeasure is directed your way patiently without getting upset or defensive.
To be disappointed is to be sad or displeased because something or someone didn’t meet our expectations. Expectations are a super big problem in our life. Our expectations of others causes us to be upset at them, hurt by them, and grieved by them to the point that we often terminate our relationship with them officially or unofficially. When those who are close to us, family, friends, and work associates sense our expectations of them they will begin to feel trapped by those expectations, and they become increasingly wary of serving us for fear that they will add to the already long list of expectations. As a pastor I find myself formulating expectations of various people because of their maturity level, position, personal strengths, and their history. I also have expectations of my wife, Patty, my kids, son-in-laws, daughter-in-law, grandkids, and waitresses at restaurants, and on the list goes. If they fail to meet my expectations I get irritated in my thoughts and feelings, and can work up quite a mental tantrum. If I find myself in that place of being disappointed, I write out what my expectations of that person are, that is I type them on my Ipad, I then delete the list and write a prayer in place of the list of expectations, “Dear Lord, I give You these expectations, if You want to stir and motivate them to do these things that would be great, but I am going to trust You. I will counter the disappointment I feel by looking for an opportunity to serve them. Help me to do that, and not to have a wrong attitude when I do.” When I give all expectations of others to God everything they do after that is gravy, and I try to be very thankful towards them for what they do.
I am using a two part epoxy in building my boat. It is very strong stuff and glues wood together well and is great in fiberglassing the outside of the boat. The problem is that I am very allergic to it, and if I accidentally get a little bit on one of my fingers I will get a rash on both arms up to my elbows, and it will itch like crazy. I try really hard not to get even a little, tiny bit on me, I wear rubber gloves , and take every precaution I can think of, but somehow I always end up getting a little bit on me. An itchy rash is an incredible annoyance, it doesn’t let up, and drives a person crazy. So what am I supposed to do with this irritant in my life? Ignore it? I wish I could! The book of James in the New Testament says that we are to “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials”. This would certainly fall under the category of “various trials”. So “consider it all joy”, does that mean I laugh and declare with enthusiasm that I am having the time of my life? Probably not, but I think it does mean that I acknowledge that as I patiently (no grumbling) endure it that my character is being developed, and that is a good thing.
Thanksgiving was super, especially having two, one Thursday and another one Friday, so let’s keep it going through the weekend minus the food, I for sure don’t need any more food. This Saturday night at 7 pm there will be a great Concert at Jefferson Baptist Church with those whom God has given a special gift of music to, blessing us with that gift, and also thanking the Lord for all He has done for us. Then we will have the same inspiring music again on Sunday at 9 and 11:30 am. If you don’t go to church anywhere else this would be a good time to choose to go. God is real, and He promises to draw near to you as you draw near to Him. This service would be a nice step towards God. You really have nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain.
Ephesians 5:18-20 says, “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father”.
This passage says to “speak or communicate to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” and that will happen as these very gifted musicians bless our hearts, and the passage goes on to say, “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus”, and we will do that as well. This is going to be a wonderful, uplifting, joy filled service, with a great sense of God’s presence.
Patty and I drove up to Trout Lake, Washington where my Mom, my sister and her family, and my youngest brother and his family live. Trout Lake is where the family dairy was and where I graduated from High School. It is about 30 miles straight North of Hood River Oregon, and very close to Mt Adams, a very beautiful place. We ate with and celebrated thanksgiving with my mom and my sisters family. Patty and I have 22 grandchildren with 23 on the way, my sister and her husband Monte Pearson have 24 grandchildren so it was a pretty big gang we ate with today. Our 8 kids, 6 son-in-laws, daughter-in-law, and 22 grandkids all love the Lord, and I think that is pretty special. Monte and Laura’s kids and son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, and 24 grandkids all are committed Christians as well, and it was such a special time being with them today. Before we ate we went around the room and each person shared what they were thankful for, and as I listened to the little ones clearly articulate thankfulness I glanced over at my mother and thought, “my, what a heritage she has”, 5 children, around 22 grandchildren, and I think getting close to 90 great grandchildren, and I think almost all are walking with the Lord. As I think about all that I have to be thankful for, a major one is that I was well parented. I can’t take any credit for the positive character traits in me, they are there because of my parents.
This past weekend I preached on 10 key commandments in the New Testament. One of the 10 was, “Love anybody God sovereignly brings into your life, that is you are nice to them, you aren’t rude to them, you look for an opportunity to help them.” There was a homeless person in the audience who heard my sermon, and today they showed up at the church, walked into my office and quoted that whole point to me, and declared that they were sovereignly brought into my life by God, and I needed to take care of them, and they wanted to live with me. They talked non-stop for about 15 minutes presenting their case and need, and I listened attentively trying to figure out the solution to this situation. I suggested some alternatives to their plan and desire, but they seemed totally focused on this one thing and would not be deterred from it.
Last year we let a homeless guy move into my “Man Room” I had built out in my shop where I had my weight set, a chair and some books and a heater, he stayed about 2 months. About 25 years ago we had a visitor come to church that was basically homeless, old, and legally blind, and we moved her in with us in our home and we had all 8 kids still at home, and she got her own bedroom. She stayed with us about a year. That turned out to be a good experience for us and a great learning tool for our kids.
As I listened to this person quote my sermon back to me I had to admit that this was a significant coincidence or indeed a sovereign act of God, and perhaps I was supposed to let them move in with us. As I listened I let them ramble on much longer than I typically would have, but I was processing this situation in my mind trying to figure out what was right and what was God’s will not wanting to take the simple, and easy way out, but also wanting to be wise and the protector of my family. As I listened they said something that made all kinds of whistles, bells, and red flags go off in my head, and I then responded graciously and but firmly that if they didn’t want me to try and find a shelter for them then they needed to be on their way, and I stood and escorted them out of my office. They left, but I am not sure if we will see more of them in the days ahead or not.
As I was thinking about the whole scenario over again tonight, I thought, boy, I hope I don’t get to heaven and find out they were an angel in disguise, that would be embarrassing even if I was in heaven.