I had breakfast this morning with an ex-church planting wife. Her and her husband started a church in Texas and then, after 10 years felt called to move. Can I just say that I love when God puts people in my life who have experienced similar things as me. It’s so helpful to know that someone understands, at least to some degree, what I’m going through (which, by the way, is why I’m so pumped that God had me start this blog. Not only have I been through the church planting process, but I’m about to enter into it again, which hopefully will be helpful to you in your ministry).
So, back to breakfast…
I asked her a bunch of questions about her experience and how she handled certain situations. She was so open and honest and I loved it. One of the things she said was that when she left her church she had a lot of expectations. She had expectations for the people that she was leaving, as well as expectations for her new church. She cautioned me against this, saying that no one met any of her expectations and so she ended up miserable and bitter. She said that I will have the potential to end up disappointed if I put my expectations in people or their behavior or my situations. In her words, “It’s got to be about you and God and following Him in obedience without placing any expectations on anyone but Him.” Pretty wise.
I mean how many times have you expected something from someone only to end up disappointed and bitter? My friend was talking specifically about expectations I might have with leaving Forefront and moving to Las Vegas, but I think we can all apply it to our daily lives as well. How often has one of your volunteers let you down? You thought they were going to do something and they didn’t. You are left feeling angry, hurt and miserable. Or maybe you have expectations of your husband. When he doesn’t meet them you are disappointed. He may or may not even know what your expectations are, but he’s going to find out when he gets home!!!!
The idea of only putting expectations on God is so much safer. He is someone that we can rely on and trust in confidently. He may not give us what we want, but we can rest in knowing that He’s got it under control. We are His kids and He loves us. He also has our best interests in mind (even though it might not seem like it at the time). And when we put expectations on God we let people off the hook. And so our relationships are healthier. The “above and beyond” that we expect from people will no longer be just what we expected, but instead it will be a surprise; something you weren’t counting on. So as you go about your day, try to focus on what your expectations are, either on people or situations and bring them to God. Ask Him to help you, to give you understanding and to see things from His perspective. You never know, you might just end up surprised!
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