I’m a dreamer. As a little girl, I would often be reprimanded by my teachers for gazing into space and not paying attention. In my mind I was on task, dreaming about whatever project I had been assigned, all the while anticipating what I would do and how I would do it. Carefully crafting each and every aspect, I would visualize the outcome just the way I wanted it to be.
Just. The. Way. I. Want. It.
I still do that to an extent. I dream and vision out work projects, events, décor, even the reactions of others at times. But that dreamer mentality can turn into nightmare reality if I allow my dreams and perfectionistic ideals to take over.
Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; there is nothing wrong with dreaming and planning. But at all times we must remember that life isn’t about us, and continually guard against self-absorption and negativity, which can become the two-headed monster in our saga of unmet expectation.
I’ve been struggling a bit lately with some unmet expectations, particularly with regard to family. In my fairytale dreamland, we should always be the Ingles from Little House or like the Walton family on top of that mountain. They always seemed to support one another, relished in family time and family gatherings, always said and reacted the “right” way, and never was there ever a moment that didn’t exceed what was expected.
I’m reminded of a verse of Scripture that talks about the things we expect or hope for from Proverbs 13:12 which says,
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
In this short verse, we see that unmet expectations cause grief and sorrow and leave us longing for our idealistic reality. But perhaps there is something else we must consider.
When our dreams and expectations become so important to us that we stop considering who God is in our situation, we have dethroned God in our lives and made a throne and a kingdom for ourselves.
1 John 5:21 which says, Little children, keep yourselves from idols. That is, keep yourself from anything that takes God’s place in your life.
If my unmet expectation so captivates my heart that it draws me away from God and his power and authority over my life, I have made my expectation my idol. I have made myself, and what I have imagined or dreamed of more important than God.
Hear my heart, I’m not saying that we should never be disappointed when what we expect or hoped for is denied us. I’m simply saying we should not be held captive by it. Our unmet expectations should not cause our hearts to be sickened, and our joy should not depend on outward circumstances. Joy comes from the Lord and His loving work in our lives.
Remember what Jesus said before He made His journey toward the cross, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) He willingly surrendered to that which God purposed for Him, though in His humanness He must have hoped that He would not have to endure the nightmare of crucifixion. At His resurrection, however, the joy of obeying the Father in difficulty overshadowed the darkness of that dreadful day and brought about eternal life to those who would believe. The hope of eternal life and freedom was no longer deferred but rather blossomed into the glorious tree of life and love.
Do you have an unmet expectation that you are dealing with today? Will you choose to surrender your expectations to the One who has the greatest of expectations for you? Will you ask Him to use those times of deferred hope to mold and shape your character so that you can bring life and love to those closest to you?
Read the second half of Proverbs 13:12, “a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” God, in His sovereignty, uses all things to lead us into abundant life. Although we may encounter seasons of unmet dreams, God is always working in our lives, creating an epic story for His glory. He desires to shape and mold our character. He transforms us, and those around us into versions of ourselves that we never dreamed possible. He shifts us, shakes us, and sometimes even subdues us in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
Remember, most of what transpires in our lives has little to do with us, and much to do with the handiwork of God for His kingdom. As God continues the good work He has begun in you, in me, and in those around us, He is turning dreamer mentalities into heavenly realities—sagas that may not turn out “just the way you want it,” yet exceed the best and greatest of expectations.
©2018 Jacqueline Heider, jacquelineheider.com