Expectations or Expectant?

This past Thursday night, September 17th, we kicked off our Stronger at Home series. These meetings are being held on alternating Thursday nights at 8pm, via Zoom. In hindsight, we realize the title might be misleading.

Stronger at Home isn’t about “Safer At Home”, pandemic-related mandates. Stronger at Home is about growing in faith while also working through the specific challenges we face from living in a pandemic. We are not meant to be at home and isolated. We are not “stronger” this way. Yet even during these times, our walk with Jesus continues. Stronger at Home aims to equip homes of all kinds to build a toolbox of strategies that allow them to remain strong in their faith, regardless of life’s circumstances, while providing a space to connect.

On Thursday night, we spent time exploring the expectations we cling to. We all have expectations: For how our children should respond or behave; for how our spouse or friends should show love; for how school should look, church should look, our home life should look, good leadership should look … We also have expectations we place on ourselves – what makes us good parents, how we should be helping our friends, what we should do to manage stress, and so on.

For many of us, 2020 has intensified these expectations. The more that life is disrupted, the more we tightly cling to our expectations. Our need to control and create ideal environments and relationships becomes the way we address uncertainty, fear and isolation.

Our actions and reactions often are driven by the expectations that we have set for ourselves and others. Whether we are aware of them or not, these expectations influence our relationships, how we experience joy, how we see our identity, and our awareness of God’s work in our lives.

What if, instead of clinging to those expectations, we adopted a spirit of expectancy? To be expectant is to wait with anticipation. We can be expectant for what God can and will do in our lives.

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness

while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:13-14

We can release our expectations with the confidence that God can do an even greater work in our lives and the lives of others. When we adopt a spirit of expectancy, we become partners with God in our homes.

How do we shift from expectations to expectancy? First, we have to identify the expectations that are driving our attitudes, behaviors and responses. What expectations are keeping us from experiencing joy and allowing room for God to work?

Then, we confess and release those expectations to God. We recognize that we are approved by God and that we are in need of God.

Finally, we reframe our expectations in anticipatory statements of what God can and will do.

God can fill in the gaps of my parenting.

God will comfort me in my loneliness.

God can teach me to appreciate my spouse.

God will be constant and faithful regardless of leadership.

God can put a worshipful spirit in my heart regardless of where that worship happens.

What expectations will you reframe today? Where can you begin to wait on the Lord?

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you

and wait expectantly.”  -Psalm 5:3

We invite you to join us on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. for our next Stronger at Home discussion. We will meet via Zoom to discuss the topic, “It’s OK to not be OK.”

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