No matter what age we are, we tend to rely on our expectations. For instance, this morning, our older daughter told the younger that it was crazy hat day at school, and gave her a crazy hat to wear. The only reason the older one did this is because she had a better hat in mind for herself.
The problem occurred when the older kid couldn’t find the hat she had in mind and took the first hat back that she had given our younger daughter. The younger one screamed and cried and threw a fit. Her expectation was that her Sissy would keep her word and let her use the hat. The circumstances changed and expectations met selfish reality and although I wasn’t there, it was a tough situation for my wife.
It happens, right? We expect certain things in life. Expect that it will turn out the way we planned. Sometimes we expect we will graduate high school and go to college, but sometimes people don’t get accepted, don’t have money, don’t have the grades. Sometimes we graduate college and expect we can get a great job and end up working part time at a local taco shack. Sometimes we get a specialized graduate degree and really have high expectations and end up doing something not at all related. Sometimes it’s confusing and heartbreaking when things don’t happen like we expect.
There’s nothing wrong with any of that, though. Really and truly. It’s ok! I’m just sorry it took me so long to figure that out.
The thing about expectations is, they can really hold you back. Sometimes we are stubborn about it, too. “No – I went to school for this, I’ve wanted this my whole life, and I am going to do this!” What if God has a different plan for you? That’s ok with you, isn’t it?
You know this verse, I know you do. Jeremiah 29:11. Here’s a different translation you may not have heard – “I have not lost sight of my plan for you, the Lord says, and it is your welfare I have in mind, not your undoing; for you, too, I have a destiny and a hope.”
Think on those words. Meditate on them. Realize how significant it is that God would say something like that to people like you and me.
Do you think your situation, regardless of what it is, caught God by surprise? He was just bebopping around in heaven, looked down and saw you hanging by a fingernail off the side of a cliff and said, “Wow that’s surprising to me. I didn’t see that coming at all.”
NO! He has not lost sight of any of us! He has a plan for us, and it’s a good plan – way better than anything we could ever come up with on our own.
My plans led to the confusion and heartbreak I’ve experienced, but God’s plan is always about destiny and hope – we all have a destiny that God has planned and that should give more hope than anything! More hope than the best job, more hope than a winning lottery ticket. More hope than you could ever imagine!
You, like me, might be thinking though that you are so far from where you thought you’d be that it’s hopeless. You might even be feeling worthless, like a failure, like you’ve messed it all up. I’ve been there, in fact I deal with that almost every day. Sometimes I feel like I wasted my whole life. I feel like I tried to do what God wanted me to do and failed and now I’ll never know what he really had in mind.
The good news is, this feeling is pretty common, and even better news is that with God, nothing is wasted. Not your most mind bending failure, not your lowest point, not anything. No single thing is wasted. God can and will redeem it all! That’s how big he is, and that’s how much he loves you!
Another verse – And some context first. Joseph was a man of dreams, and his brothers were so jealous that they threw him in a ditch and told his dad he was dead. Then they sold him into slavery. Then he was put in prison for something he didn’t do. These events make up the bulk of his life. For the majority of his life, if you look at it from the outside, you would think, “Wow it really sucks to be you. No, really.”
During all those years it would have been so easy for him to think, “you know what? This stinks, it’s not going to get better, my expectation was, based on my dreams that God gave me, that I’d be living in a big house and have a book deal with a movie option. And here I am rotting in jail. My life has been a waste! Why God?”
But in Genesis 50:20, we see that he didn’t just get out of jail, but that he’s the #2 guy in all of Egypt. He’s pharoah’s right hand. There is only one person with more power than him in the entire earth. And he gives God the glory for it! He says, “You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved.”
What others meant for evil, God can turn to good. When your expectations fail you, God’s dreams for you will restore your hope. Don’t waste another minute on your plans! Go to God, discover his dreams for you, learn to follow him, and his dreams will become your dreams!
What do you think God is saying to you right now? What do you think his plans are for you? Ask him, and he’ll show it to you, and give you everything you need to fulfill your destiny!