So you did it all. You did all the things life suggested. You researched. You planned. You worked. You prayed, and you waited. You set your expectations high. You set your faith high.
And it all fell apart. The more you gave. The more life took. You persevered. You kept going, and life kept taking until all you had left was the shell of the person you used to be. Then, and only then, did you finally admit defeat. You failed. Even worse, God failed you. Your faith waned into disappointment from your reality versus your expectation.
You proceeded to give up on all of it – your plan, yourself, and your God. As you laid without strength in the middle of your unmet expectations, you heard the still, small Voice tell you to get up.
Your first line of defense was to argue, but before you could muster an articulated response, He asked you to look around. You wanted to roll back over and play dead, but He was so excited that you decided to take a peek.
What you saw made your jaw drop. You stood up and turned to make sure you were not hallucinating, but you were not dreaming. Your eyes were not deceiving you.
For as far as you could see in every direction, there was fruit!!!!
You were so devastated that He had not saved your failing relationship that you missed the lifelong friendships you made – the ones who had your back no matter what, your true partners in crime, the real TIL DEATH DO US PART girls.
You were so mad about the number.
…the number on your evaluation. You felt it did not reflect what you really do on a day to day basis. You almost missed student after student that you saved. Student after student who could care less about a number, who do not even know what that number means. Like the one who cried on your desk, or the one who came by just to give you a hug every single day, or the one who came to your class for lunch for four straight years.
…the number in your bank account. You could not understand why your budget still was not working. You almost missed the people who were blessed by the services you offered when you could not give a penny to their cause. You cooked for them. You cleaned their house. You lent them your ear. You gave them life’s greatest gift – yourself.
You were so upset that you still lost your temper. You still yelled at the kids and your husband. No matter how much minimalizing you did, the house was still not beautiful enough for Facebook. No matter how much peace you prayed for, your kids were still driving you insane. You missed the hugs and the kisses. You missed that your daughter got the character counts award, and your son made alpha honor roll every single report card. You missed the snuggles, and the “I want to go where mommy goes.” You missed the other kids, parents, and teachers light up when your child entered the room.
You were so busy being disappointed and tired. You kept looking at the goal, and you missed the fruit…almost.
You were outdone by all the things He stripped away. He took so much away. He gave so much away. He cut off so much…so many things…so many people that you did not see that you were simply being pruned.
You forgot that the goal was not the expectation. The goal was the fruit!!!
So He had to wear you out. You could not hear him over your research, your planning, your working, and your goal digging. You were too busy trying to bounce back so He let you run your plan and yourself right into the ground, and then He politely buried it for you.
Then He beamed when you finally built up enough courage to look around at your fruit – at His fruit.
All at once you are overwhelmed. You wondered how He could use you to do all this. I mean, think about it, you could not even set the right expectation. You could not even gather enough energy to bounce back for one more try.
You are humbled even more when He whispered, “thank you,” as you immediately recognized that it was you who should be thanking Him.
And He finished with a statement that would change your world forever, “all I needed was your ordinary.”
Then He sat, and you sat beside Him. You both smiled. He told you to take all the rest you needed because your next assignment was on its way.
You rolled my eyes as you now knew that your actual assignment is never a goal. Your assignment is never your underwhelming expectation which He may or may not grant depending on whether or not it is actually “good” for you.
Your assignment has always been the fruit.
So when you are disheartened as you focus on all of your unmet expectations,
…when the pruning hurts more than you would like to admit,
…when you are looking for a way to bounce back from the set back,
take your eyes off your prize long enough to notice all of the fruit.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” – John 15:16
What are some ways that you bounce back from unmet expectations?
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