Great Expectations

As a practicing psychologist, I deal with people in pain every day.  And I find myself often discussing realistic and unrealistic expectations and how this impacts our mental health and our relationships with others.  And there is a powerful concept in psychology that research shows to be one of the most effective tools in managing distress and that is acceptance.  The more readily one can accept pain, the less pain one experiences.

God speaks of this concept of acceptance and the importance of giving up the illusion that we deserve a problem-free life.  Jesus urged his disciples to align their expectations with reality in this fallen world—He told them you will have troubles.  Sarah Young speaks about the dangers of having unrealistic expectations in her book “Jesus Calling” when she says, “Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties.  This is a false hope!”

I find that the difficulties of life still can take me by surprise and my pride swells, telling me I deserve better.  Wow!  I am so glad I don’t get what I deserve!  But I also am learning (thank you for your help, Holy Spirit!) to turn sooner, and not try harder.  And I am learning the power of a 2-word, very simple, but very profound prayer.  That prayer is, “Use this!”  I ask God with a faithful and trusting heart to use my circumstances (the good the bad, and the ugly) to give Him the glory and to point me to Him more clearly.

So what are are we to expect in our earthly existence?  The Bible tells us to expect abundance.  But let’s not make the mistake of thinking this is an earthly abundance of riches or freedom from disease or a life free of trials.

Expect to be BLESSED.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Expect to be COMFORTED.

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5)

Expect GRACE.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14)

Expect LIFE.

“The thief comes to steal and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly “ (John 10:10)

So let’s go about our earthly walk with great expectations.  Expectations of a loving, faithful, powerful God who wants us to enjoy Him and glorify Him even in the midst of adverse circumstances.

Glorifying God with you,

Erin

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2 Responses

02.02.13

Excellent! This is a wonderful read and very encouraging! I love how you incorporate your profession into your writing. What doable yet perfect expectations to have! I’ll be writing all those verses down so I can memorize them!

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02.02.13

Erin, I love this post. This is such an insightful statement… “The more readily one can accept pain, the less pain one experiences.” This is so true… when we know that our pain/trials are meant for something bigger than we can comprehend it gives us peace. Yes, we can expect troubles… He’s warned us. But, promises of what we can expect from Him in response to our troubles is so filled with hope and love. His love. Such an encouraging and inspiring post. I agree with Kelli, these are verses that need to be sewn into my heart. Love you!!

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