Be expectant. Lose your expectations.
God laid this phrase on my heart the other night, and has been speaking so much to me through it.
Be expectant. We hear this often. Every Sunday, Pastor Eli asks the question: “Are you expectant today?”
The definition of “expectant” is this:
Adj: having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something pleasant and interesting.”
It’s important that we are expectant for God to show up and be God. How do we know God’s character? We read the Bible. We familiarize ourselves with His promises. We pray. We listen to His voice. Sometimes, it's necessary to seek freedom in order to truly know who God is, as our experiences can cause us to believe false things about Him. And He so gracefully shows us the truth.
So, you might be wondering, how can we be expectant but also lose our expectations?
Let’s look at the definition of “expectations”:
Noun: “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.”
We can see here clearly that being expectant and having expectations are not the same thing. Being expectant leaves room for the best to happen while our expectations can place God inside of a box. It’s the difference of God having His way and us wanting our own way to come to pass. And when we attach too deeply to our own wants and desires and things don’t go the way we imagined (and they likely won't), that is when disappointment sets in.
I want to walk with you all through a passage from Ephesians: Paul’s prayer for spiritual growth.
If the concept of releasing your expectations is hard for you to grasp, I believe that meditating on this scripture will bless you. Let each verse rest in your heart.
It starts like this:
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:16-17
It’s not easy to “let go and let God,” but verses 16-17 show us that it’s not in our own strength. It’s through submission to His spirit, which is alive within us. And as we trust, Christ makes His home in our hearts. What a beautiful concept and great honor- that Christ would find us where we are at and see each of us fit to dwell in forever.
And it gets even better in verses 18-19.
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:18-19
This is just a fraction of God’s character, but we must know this truth- God’s love for us is so big that we cannot understand it. It's so wide that we cannot fathom it. It's so long and so high that we could never explore all of it, and we won't even know until we get inside those pearly gates and meet our Father in heaven. So whether it’s on a Sunday morning or in our daily lives, in the big things or in the small things, we should be expectant for God to move in this way. As our Abba Father, who loves us beyond human reasoning, and cares about the tiny details of our lives. And through experiencing this kind of love, may we know that we can trust Him with the things we want most, and the things we don't even know that we want. May we become complete and full, needing nothing because we know that our God has it all under control.
And Paul lands the plane here:
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
He says it right there: God has the ability to exceed every single one of our expectations, every time, and it won’t just be by a little, but it’ll be INFINITELY more.
So be open. Release your grip on what you’re so tightly holding onto. Give it all to the One who controls everything and has the best plans, and watch Him move.
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