Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rules vs. Expectations

When I taught elementary school I had a list of expectations posted for all my students to see and read. I never referred to them as rules because as you and I know- rules are meant to be bent and broken.

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As a teacher I felt my expectations were simple, fair and easy to understand. And as I heard one “expert” say in a teaching workshop- limiting the amount of words in an expectation to five or less cuts down on memory loss. For instance, it’s easier to remember “treat others with respect” than it is to give a list of who’s included with “others” and try to explain what respectful means. Minimal words seemed to bring big results.

It seems I’ve carried a list of expectations over into my home and my everyday life as well. When I tell my spouse and children I love them I expect nothing less than to hear the same thing back. Even my kids expect something from me. A bed time story. Milk in the fridge. Hugs when they hurt. This list goes on and the levels of expectation vary.

The thing about an expectation vs. a rule is that the pain of disappointment is much heavier. Rules are written without emotion, while expectations are built on relationship and trust. If a referee drops a flag, he’s not thinking about how he feels. If a friend, spouse or anyone close to me says, “You’ve failed my expectation.”, I’m forced to react with my heart.

But what if that relationship is our Maker? The one who formed us and crafted us after His own image. What if you are staring at December 31st in the face and saying, “God, you disappointed me. YOU failed my expectation.”?

The answer is easy.

God’s not looking at the calendar as a rule book. He’s not looking at a date as a deadline, He’s looking at our lives. He has no limits or boundaries. And just when we think we know Him- He exceeds our expectations. So don’t hold Him to a time limit, but rather His Words which are full of Great Expectations He is saying to us right now and every day of our lives, “The best is yet to come.”

What are you expecting from Him? What are some things that you are putting into God’s hands and saying- it’s in Your time? I’d love to hear them and this year let’s motivate one another to trust Him who is able.

Linking this up to: A Holy Experience: Walk With Him Wednesday.

2 comments:

  1. Oh my sweet friend, thank you for this! I needed to hear this today: "God’s not looking at the calendar as a rule book. He’s not looking at a date as a deadline, He’s looking at our lives. He has no limits or boundaries. And just when we think we know Him- He exceeds our expectations. So don’t hold Him to a time limit..." Amen, and amen.

    I'm so glad to have connected with you in 2011, and I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us! We need to schedule that play date for the kids soon! :)

    Love you!
    Jana

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  2. I thank you for writing this. I needed to read it today.
    Though 2011 was difficult, it had to be endured (endure hardness like a good soldier, isn't that what Paul told Timothy?) to bring us to where we are now and to a new year.
    So glad I met you through Melissa at Relevant11. Thank you for that Friendship book again. It has been such a huge blessing to me.
    Happy New Year to you and yours.

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