What Did You Expect?


drowning copy

You find yourself, at age 58, pretty comfortable in your own skin. You’re taking some risks, stretching in areas unfamiliar to you. “Not bad for an old guy” you think and that brief thought puts some swagger in your steps.

Yet swagger, like comfort… is very temporary… I believe a better word would be fleeting.

I read this quote yesterday and it disturbed me, souring the milk of swagger in me.

“He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.” - Robert Jordan, New Spring

Any husband, any father, any man following Christ, who is committed to those callings will feel the weight of other people’s expectations. It’s in our job description, to evaluate and examine expectations, and then pray to determine how to deal with them. All of this challenging the man you are and the one you want to be. Yet, I find grace to stay afloat and the ability to surf above the waves of what is expected of me by others.

So where’s the sinking feeling from? What caused my swagger to float away like “Wilson” in the movie Cast Away? Like a lifeguard blowing their whistle, the answer is a powerful warning to keep from drifting into danger. It’s not other people’s expectations threatening to drown me.

It’s my own.

My own interpretation of “how things should be”, these imaginary water wings that I rely on to keep my swagger afloat. I find myself struggling against the riptide, clinging to the raft of how I should act, (as a husband, father, brother, pastor) and where I should be in my walk, in my relationships, in my career and so on. The truth is…these weights dunk my head under the water more than anything else. I often fail in living up to my own expectations and the gurgling sound you hear is my pride.

I think (selfish) expectations are assumptions gone wild. They move you from reality to likelihood, a place full of suspense and potential but sometimes built like a shady real estate deal. Promising one thing but delivering an uninhabitable piece of property you never wanted (or expected).

You think you know…then He shows you. As always… it comes down to my heart.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

My heart needs something beyond expectations… even great expectations… it needs hope in Father God and Him alone. When I live in the reality of who He says I am, my expectations drift away from my spirit and I find myself filled with assurance of becoming all He wants me to be.

“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” Philippians 1:20

All my expectations are in Him!


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Dusty Rayburn said…
As I read this, my mind ventured into some other areas God has been trying to reinforce in my life lately.

God's ways are not our ways. His ways and thoughts are higher and greater than ours could ever be.

When He calls us to throw off all that hinders and the sin that entangles so we can run the race with endurance having our eyes set firmly upon Him, I think one of the things we have to throw off are our own expectations based on our worldly defined understandings.

I'm learning to expect more than I could ever know to expect. God is in it!
Jay Cookingham said…
Thanks for going on a muse journey with me Dusty...it just struck me the past few days of how expectations can get so misplaced. Not sure I conveyed it clearly but I appreciate your thoughts...Indeed, the Father is in it!
Bill (cycleguy) said…
The quickest way to self-destruction is becoming a legend in my own mind. Been there done that don't want to again.
Dusty Rayburn said…
Oh so true. The feeling of that balloon head popping is painful, and I would rather not experience that again!
Jay Cookingham said…
What about a cyclist legend? I know what you mean though bro'...let's be known for being His!

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