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Here's What I've Learned About Expectations

I think it's fairly safe to say that we've all had expectations drenched in a cold wave of reality. Human beings are creative. We're blessed with vast imaginations that allow us to envision our dreams in vivid ways, but unfortunately, those dreams and expectations are a bit like chalk on a driveway—pretty to look at on a sunny summer day, but quick to melt into streaky asphalt as soon as it starts to rain.

It's a miserable feeling. Watching something we imagined, anticipated, expected yield to a reality we either didn't predict or didn't want is never enjoyable, I know. And if you have experience in this department (as most of us do), I'm not trying to pour salt in your wounds. I'm just trying to paint a picture. A non-chalk, waterproof picture, just in case that wasn't clear.

Ack. Now I'm losing track of my metaphors.

Chalk and sidewalks aside, expectations can hurt. Sometimes we don't even know we have them. I've experienced it in my writing journey already, though the maiden voyage is barely under my belt: things I wished for and dreamed of fell flat when nothing went as planned, or else did go as planned, and I just had a skewed understanding of what that meant. It hurt. It hurt because I had devoted so much time and energy into making my expectation a reality, and it didn't unfold the way it was supposed to. It left me exhausted and anxious instead of overjoyed.

I failed. My expectations failed. I was no closer to what I had worked and waited so long for.

But you know what? Even though that experience was a disappointment, it wasn't a waste. They say hindsight's 2020, and for once, I understand what it means to look reality in the eye, juxtapose it with your melted expectations, and learn from it, dadgummit!

Here's what I've learned: expectations and dreams are beautiful, but about as sturdy a foundation for a future as cotton candy. Or chalk dust, whichever you prefer. It's okay to have them, it's okay to reach for them, but if your idea of happiness and fulfillment rests only on them, you may struggle when God lovingly reroutes your life path, as He is wont to do.

Ultimately, we will only find stability and confidence in investing our expectations in God. Unlike our dreams, He is a guarantee. His sovereignty, wisdom, and purposeful, flawless orchestration are a gua-ran-tee. And yes, we'll work hard on the path we feel we're on. We'll do our best in every task we undertake because we're called to do everything as unto God, and if that brings your dreams to fruition—amazing! What a blessing! Please, please, share your story with me! But if it doesn't, if your dreams have to melt a bit, take a different shape—amazing! What a blessing! Please, please, share your story with me!

When God is our expectation, we literally cannot go wrong. Any path He leads us down is the right one, any place He takes us is the right place, even if it doesn't feel like it. And if your dreams get rained on a bit, stand back, get some perspective, and look for the learning curve. Then, dry yourself off, put your box of chalk in God's hands, and start walking down the sidewalk of life knowing that He will get you exactly where you need to be, and it is going to be beautiful.

"My soul, wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from him." ~Psalm 62:5

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