Evaluating Expectations

As you may have read in my previous post, I’m endeavoring to blog more in the coming months. I guess you could consider it a New Year’s resolution. To be honest, though, it wouldn’t take all that much work to post more than the precedent I’ve set so far. After all, I blogged two consecutive weeks in September and then… dry until late December. Not that much to live up to, I know. But this brings me to the point I want to make today, all of us will struggle to live up to the world’s expectations while none of us will ever struggle to live up to God’s expectations. Why? Because He loves each one of us (you included!) just as we (you!) are.

"Snowy Cliffs"

“Snowy Cliffs”

Throughout my life I have found it difficult to meet not only the expectations of this earth, but also those of my own creation. I’d be like, “sure, I did an okay job with such and such activity, yet I’m confident I could have done it better.” This became evident in the writing of this blog.

When I initially conceived an online journal for my reflections on Christian living, I was hoping to do it up good, maybe even great. Freshly captured, stunning photographs accompanying every posting; eloquent, heavenly inspired textual revelations in every paragraph; perhaps some scriptural citations for good measure, too. I set a stunningly high mental precedent—read, atmospherically high expectation—that proved difficult to live up to. Did the world set some arbitrary “blogging expectation” that I had to meet? No. Did I set myself up for disappointment when I couldn’t embrace my preconceived blogging grandiosity? Most certainly yes. When I strip the concept of a Godly blog down to the basics I’ve found it apparent that the Father is more concerned with what I say, not how I say it. Eloquence is great, a relevant message is awesomely better!

Anyways, you might be wondering at this point how this relates to living in a world full of expectations. Most likely my story has limited direct relevance to your life, but I’m confident that you can think of several instances where you’d tried to live up to someone’s expectations only to fail miserably. I’m even more confident you’ve missed your own “high bar” on numerous occasions. It never feels good when we can’t attain the gratitude of standing atop the mountain of our accomplishments (I can attest to this both literally and figuratively, if you get what I mean), however, there is a secret to feeling satisfaction in all situations. The secret? A restful knowledge of the love that God has for us and the expectations He places on us.

The Father doesn’t expect you to innovate a world changing contraption, write a spiritually transformative treatise, or give a colossal portion of wealth to the poor. He expects you to be you—the you He made you to be—and in so doing influence others with the light of heaven that is shining within your heart. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16 ESV). God expects your love, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else in Christian life stems from this one unifying fact.

To get to my point, there is only one precedent in the Kingdom of God… that precedent of unconditional love set by Jesus. I’ve set precedents for myself and you’ve set precedents for yourself. Fortunately, many of our self-set precedents are positive, edifying goals. Unfortunately, when we don’t meet these goals we often beat ourselves up, something the Father will never do. If you’re aiming to maintain the Son’s standards in all areas of your life, or at least trying, you’re bringing a smile to God’s face. And if the Creator of the universe is smiling over you, I think it’s only polite to smile back with a fervent expectation of the good He has in store for you in all eternity.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

P.S. I hope you enjoyed today’s photos. The nuthatch heralds from from time spent in a blind in the morning and the rocks from an afternoon hike through a canyon east of Reno, Nevada. Isn’t God’s Creation simply awe inspiring?

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