Skip to main content

GrEaT eXpEcTaTiOnS

Visitors and projects and several birthday celebrations have kept me from writing much in the past few weeks, but today the house is quiet (except for the snoring cats and the dishwasher) and I can once again take a few moments to sit quietly and mull over the lessons being offered, along with homework, on the journey of life.

This past week has been a seminar in EXPECTATIONS. We had some family members visiting us for a week and we had made plans to complete some outdoor projects, take in some beautiful sights and do a bit of walking around our neck of the woods. That was before the rain started. For four days in a row we experienced everything the wettest, windiest and coldest May on record could deliver and there was no way we could do anything outdoors, so we modified our plans and decided to shop for a few things for our home. We spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday driving from store to store checking out coffee tables and when we finally decided on the right one, the store was out of stock (what??? it can't be!!!) and we returned home empty-handed. After days of seemingly nothing being accomplished, I finally sighed, “I think we have to lower our expectations. Tomorrow, we will simply get out of bed and that will be enough, we will be satisfied that we have done what we set out to do.” I was kind of kidding, but in a way, also realizing that my expectations were once again clashing with reality and it was decidedly uncomfortable.

So Sunday night at church, I was thinking about these things and wondering about expectations and if they serve any purpose at all. Wouldn’t life be easier without expectations? I could simply accept everything that came my way and never be disappointed. But what about having vision and setting goals and working towards them and accomplishing great things and seeing projects completed? A person determined to live without expectations would be unmotivated and passive and probably negative and generally frustrating to hang around. One of the things I really like about myself is that I am a person with a lot of hope; I easily believe that anything is possible and doable and can happen and no situation is hopeless or unredeemable. And in truth, expectations are part of the equation of hope and faith, so, yes, they have their proper place, but what exactly is that? What are good expectations? What are bad expectations? And where do I need to adjust mine to better reflect my faith and hope in all things good?

I asked God these questions and this is what I believe he said to me, “I AM faithful. Put your expectations in me, not in events, or what will happen, but in my consistent character and you will never be disappointed.”

So it appears that my expectations have in fact never been too high, but too low! I have settled for counting on certain events to happen or for circumstances to work out a certain way, or for small things to be resolved, or something to grow and take shape in a certain form, or for people to act and react in a certain way, when in fact, I should be hoping for my life to be extraordinary, looking for God to be present and at work 24/7, planning on encountering love and joy and grace and peace, expecting sacrifice and suffering that shimmer with glory, and never doubting for a moment that everything is beautifully and creatively being woven into a tapestry of holy worship for a holy God.

Those are my GREAT EXPECTATIONS today.

Comments

Doug Floyd said…
Good word Matte. As usual, your thoughts inpsire me.

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

lessons from a theological memoir and a television series about lawyers

It's a hot Wednesday afternoon, so let's talk about false binaries. Basically, a false binary or false dichotomy happens when a person's options are artificially limited to two choices, thereby excluding all other possibilities. Insisting on the limited choice of either A or B leaves no room for middle ground or another, more creative solution. In other words, a false binary assumes the rest of the alphabet (after A and B) does not exist.

Binary thinking is quite prevalent in our society. Either you are for me or against me. Either you are guilty or innocent. Either you are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal. Either you are a Christian or a pagan. Either you are all in or all out. Admittedly, it is convenient to see things as either black or white, but we live in a multi-coloured world and not everything fits neatly into two categories. This is why insisting there are only two choices when, in fact, other options exist, is labeled as a fallacy in logic an…