Today I was delivered very frustrating information. Information that led to me crying in the middle of a busy coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon. The details of this conversation aren’t the point of this post though.
Today I realized that I have to be so careful when setting expectations. I can’t be upset at someone else when I create expectations in the privacy of my own mind and then am told that things will go another way.
Today I experienced disappointment and frustration.
But today I was also reminded of the value of perspective.
And today I witnessed the growth that has occurred within me in the past 19 months.
When I was delivered this bit of news, I asked questions. I got answers I didn’t like. And so I took a solid two minutes to breathe deeply before responding. I started to respond and realized two minutes wasn’t long enough. So I took another minute. I was then able to express my frustrations to this woman in a calm manner without a hint of attitude in my voice. (Y’all, I was so proud of myself.) Old me never would have been able to do that. Old me would have been rude and gotten very angry and defensive. But I didn’t. We ended our conversation with me telling her that I trusted her. And I do because I specifically prayed about my time with her this morning while I was at church. I asked God to give her the wisdom and discernment of what to communicate to me. I just didn’t like what it was.
Expectations are a setup to be disappointed. Oh, but it’s so easy to create expectations, especially for a dreamer like myself. I realize now that goals are better than expectations and flexibility is better than rigidity.
When I got into my car I just sat there and processed and prayed. God has been showing up in my life in such breathtaking ways lately. When things suddenly don’t go the way I expect and want them to doesn’t mean that God isn’t still in this. The more I prayed about it, the more I realized that God is using this woman in my life for very specific reasons. I prayed for God to show up and be the center of the conversation and then I didn’t like what I heard- and I can’t help but start to think that this might be another breathtaking moment God is playing out in my life.
The most beautiful moments in my life have been moments of surrender. The moments when I trusted God completely, are the moments that I have received the most peace-even if things haven’t gone my way.
So I’m here to suggest tonight that maybe the moments when you feel like God just isn’t present, He isn’t answering your prayers, he isn’t giving you what you want or think you need- maybe those moments are actually a breath of God’s grace.
Church was powerful this morning. Worship went on far longer than normal because the Spirit of the Lord was showing up in such a tangible way. I had never felt the Lord’s presence in the way I did this morning. There was a moment in the middle of one of the songs where I started laughing- my joy couldn’t be contained. I serve the most incredible God. The most powerful, steadfast, gracious Father. Fast forward 90 minutes and I was crying in the middle of a coffee shop.
Tonight I am dealing with disappointment. But tonight I’m also finding joy and confidence in the fact that breathtaking God-moments are sometimes things that go the opposite of how I was hoping they would.
In fact, I bet God is smiling down on me right now, knowing full well that my disappointment is His grace showing up. And I have a feeling that eventually I’ll get to see this through a different lens, and attest to how much more lovely God’s plans were than my own expectations. We can choose to let circumstances affect the rest of our day- we can choose to throw pity-parties and let disappointment shape our view of God. That power is ours. We also have the power to choose joy in any and every situation. Today I choose joy, because I know that my ways are pale in comparison to the life God has planned out for me. I’ll take a “no” or a “wait” from Him any day if that means I can walk more in line with His will for my life. I choose joy because accepting His “no” is also an acceptance that He is good…
And I could go on the rest of my life telling you just how good my breathtaking Savior is.