In April, I flew to Colorado to attend a training for my summer in Glacier National Park in Montana. In the week leading up to the weekend, I went from expecting sunny and chilly weather, to rainy and chilly, to 2-3 feet of snow and chilly. The weather alone summed up what this weekend did to my expectations of this summer. It shook all my expectations of what was coming my way in Many Glacier. It was a good thing, but definitely unsettling and painfully humbling.
When your expectations are completely shattered, it can leave you feeling empty, confused, and reluctant to continue. You build up this whole chapter of your life, filling in the blanks with the words you would put there. Completing this somewhat vague picture of what an experience is going to be like. However, when you actually get some blanks filled in, you realize just how far off base you were, how much you are going to have to adjust, or just have to take it as it comes. That’s not much fun at all.
You can get angry, bitter, and close people out. You can start to view the next step as pointless, because nothing is going the way you envision. Your way is, of course, the best way. Who knows what’s best better than you?
I have to realize what my expectations are disguising. My expectations are often disguising that I honestly think I have complete control over what happens in the world. You know, the whole “believe and you can achieve” and the “visualize and it will materialize” mentality that is so prevalent in our culture. I so often buy into it that I believe that I am more than I am. These misguided expectations and my inner control freak are ultimately disguising my lack of faith, my unwillingness to believe that the Lord will do what He says, and my excuse to disobey.
During this weekend, my devotional book called Streams in the Desert led me to Hebrews 11:8.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going.
How different this is from me. If I don’t know where I’m going, I’m staying put. Why would I move when I have no clue where I am going or how I’m going to get there? I struggle so much with obedience, especially when there is no exact day or time for a promise to be fulfilled. Abraham didn’t have that assurance either. In fact, he died without seeing the promises the Lord made to him throughout Genesis. But, he was expectant of God, he trusted and believed that God would follow through on His promises of a nation of his descendants, more numerous than the stars in the sky or the dust on the ground. Abraham obeyed. He did what was commanded of Him, so the Lord could do what He promised to Abraham.
Oh, did the Lord follow through! He made Abraham’s descendants into not one, but two nations. Not only from Isaac, but also from Ishmael, who was Abraham’s attempt at causing the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son to him come true. Even though Ishmael was not the promised son, God kept His word to Abraham and Hagar. Ishmael became a great nation. The Lord went above and BEYOND what Abraham probably thought his covenant with God meant
Friend, you know just what it’s like to feel reality slap you out of a clean, straight dream and drop your feet onto the gritty, rocky ground of reality. However, this is where we need to be. In the mess, because that is where God has the most room to work. It is where we have the least control, where we have to humble ourselves and rely on God the most. Remember He is ALWAYS faithful and trustworthy. He will ALWAYS follow through, in His timing, in His way.
I’m thankful the training weekend shook me loose of my expectations, because I am now entering into this summer much more open (and humbly) than I would be otherwise. I met fellow ACMNP team members that I wouldn’t have learned from otherwise. I heard God speak in the middle of the YMCA in the Rockies, that I wouldn’t have heard Him as easily. I mastered saying the acronym (ACMNP) that I wouldn’t have known I struggled with. I wouldn’t have such high hope that I have this summer, of God changing lives and moving in unexpected ways.
Because of this weekend, I am committing myself to walk forward with eyes open and looking for God’s working, with a heart and mind looking for and praying for the willingness to obey, and a life serving others. Bold words to be posted, because now that I have openly said them, I must follow through on them. Just as the Lord does when He makes promises to us.
For more by Brooke Wortham, check out https://abrookewortham.wordpress.com/