I recently received an advertising email from a national pizza franchise encouraging me to buy an XL pepperoni pizza & the picture was irresistible! So I placed my order & went to collect my XL pepperoni pizza only to be disappointed. It wasn’t XL & it looked just like the frozen pizza, I buy in bulk from Walmart. Nor was the taste anything spectacular. So I was disappointed because the marketing didn’t remotely match the experience.
This also happens with Jesus’ followers. It’s not uncommon for people to be disappointed with the experience when it doesn’t match the marketing. Sometimes we call this hypocrisy and it can often happen when we look at the advertising more than the real thing. When we look at fellow believers or even “super-star” Christians, we’re setting ourselves up to be disappointed. So the core lesson here is that we keep our eyes on Jesus more than any human because Jesus isn’t just a marketing ploy. Jesus is genuine love & slakes our thirsty souls with living water 🙂
When I go to the grocery store, I expect to find groceries & when I go to my health club, I expect to find weight machines & workout stuff. So people come to church & expect to find Jesus, but here’s an interesting exception for you to consider:
Sometimes I meet people & they’re not who I thought they were. We tend to see or hear people & then create these expectations or stereotypes that are often, almost always, inaccurate. So I’m hoping to learn not to frame people in constrictive expectations nor suffocating stereotypes.
In the same way, let’s be aware that we might also make this mistake with God. It’s been my experience that just when I thought I had God all figured out, something happens that totally obliterates my nice & tidy theology / mindset. Rather than living in a predictable & safe human controlled relationship w God, let go of the reins & let God do more & far beyond what you expect!
“Well, that was different!” All of us have had those times when we thought something would be different than what actually happened. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised & sometimes we are bitterly disappointed. Thankfully, nothing catches the Holy Spirit by surprise & when I remember this, I’m always deeply encouraged in my soul. Furthermore, I’m increasingly convinced that the Holy Spirit uses all kinds of experiences, people & even uncertainties to help me walk more closely with Him.
So the key take away I’d suggest for today is that we stay in love with God & true to how God has designed us. When we do these things, no matter what happens God will work out things to be beneficial to us, based on Romans 8:28 🙂
Feel free to share this with anyone who could be going through some unexpected challenges!
There are alot of things in our lives that have expectations: job descriptions, social behaviors, standardized tests, . . . . We put alot of expectations on ourselves about how a person should act, look, dress, speak, etc and I think that sometimes, Christianity or religion can be a really tricky “filter”. Looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, dressing like a Christian doesn’t make a person a follower of Jesus. We can match up to all of the external expectations but in our hearts, we can be a million miles away from the reason Jesus died for us. The reason Jesus died for us was not merely to make our external image appealing, but moreseo to transform what’s on the inside of us. The defining distinctive Jesus identifies as being His follower is our love for each other (John 13:35). Loving well is very important 🙂
We’ve all had experiences where we have disappointed someone’s expectations & let someone down. Sometimes we may feel this way about God – that God isn’t measuring up to what we expected or desire. But I’ve been reading about Martha, Mary & Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 & there have been some really helpful things I’ve noticed. If you get a chance, please read this chapter & in the meantime, here are a few things to consider:
*Martha & Mary wanted healing but Jesus was into resurrection. Perhaps we should consider that God has something way more than what we are desiring
*gap management – there was a fair amount of time between Lazarus being sick & Jesus raising him from the dead. In this gap, the relationship Martha & Mary had with Jesus took some very significant quantum leaps!
* Martha & Mary came out of this experience with more faith in Jesus & Jesus came out of this with more glory; may our lives grow & faith & giving glory to Jesus!
*perhaps God would like to exchange some of our murky human thinking for glorious divine illumination 🙂
I was thinking about how Jesus often didn’t meet people’s expectations. Mostly, He was a frustration & aggravation to the religious leaders, an enigma to the political leaders & a catastrophic failure to His disciples as He hung on the cross. In some situations, Jesus far exceeded the expectations: He forgives & heals, He repairs & redeems, He confronts & consoles along with so much more!
I find this to be very comforting because there are times when all of us don’t meet the expectations of others. With Jesus’ help, we can disappoint in the right ways 🙂
It seems to me that in almost every Christmas season, there comes a time when all of the pressures, activities, demands and general busy-ness shifts into the frenzied and frantic zone and the chaos threatens to swallow me into a abyss of cluttered insanity (sorry for all of the adjectives). In the midst of all of this, I find my heart getting really still and quiet, seeking to create some serenity, calm and peace. Even now, I have a few unexpected moments of quiet and while I’m writing this, I find myself letting go of some of the season’s stress and receiving some much needed divine peace.
So my friend, please be sure that with all of this season’s demands and expectations, don’t neglect to take those essential moments to be still and celebrate our Prince of Peace 🙂
I grew up as a pastor’s kid & there were lots of positive things about that – people seemed to be extra nice, they’d give me more candy, I had the privilege of meeting some really cool people, etc. One thing that is tricky for every pastor’s kid (and probably for everyone on the planet) is the idea of living up to someone else’s expectations & then dealing the the fallout from someone’s disappointment. This is a difficult path to navigate for anyone, despite their age, background or experience. But here’s my sense on this topic: lots of people have lots of different expectations of me. Some of these expectations are sensible and some are silly. At the end of the day, when the dust settles, the one I most want to please is Jesus Christ and He already thinks I’m really cool. So with this in mind, I know that I will disappoint people from time to time & I won’t meet everyone’s expectations, nor should I. But I want to live to bring my Savior fame, pleasure & honor – all very noble, healthy & constructive goals 🙂
I have some friends who are “half-full” friends & I have some “half-empty” friends. My half-empty friends think that my half-full friends live in denial & my half-full friends think that my half-empty friends prophecy their negative results. It’s an interesting dilemma for everyone ,)
For myself, I know from my experience: negative thinking breeds negative results; positive thinking turns up many unexpected pleasures. Whatever you look for is what you usually find, so let’s be wise about our thoughts & pursuits 🙂
I feel like I’m the pot calling the kettle black with this blog – guilty as charged & a walking contradiction, maybe even borderline hypocrite. Here’s why: the last 2 weeks have been busy beyond any degree of rational acceptance and now I’m writing a blog about keeping margins in our lives. A margin is the empty space on a page around the written area. There are margins in this blog, in newspapers, books, etc & margins are necessary in our lives.
empty space, pause, still
Sometimes life feels like a treadmill on which the pace continues to increase & the incline just keeps going up – so many demands, expectations, deadlines, responsibilities, requirements, . . . . . Sometimes if we’re not careful, we fill up all of the margins in our lives & then continue to keep the margins full.
However, when I look at Jesus’ life, He was very intentional about keeping margins in His life. Of course He had MASSIVE demands on His time & person – people squashing Him wherever He went trying to get some of His attention, time, power, healing, love, . . . . . and His life only became increasingly popular each day of His ministry. Nevertheless, He carved margins into his lifestyle. He dismissed the crowed after feeding the 5,000. He went off by Himself to pray ALOT. He withdrew with His disciples from time to time to give them some intensive teaching & attention. When He rode in boats, He slept. Jesus modeled margins for us with perfect agility & balance.
Here are some things that help me to keep some margins in my life:
quiet in the car – it helps me to turn off things that beckon for my attention; furthermore, when I’m riding with my kids, I want to be fully present with & to them
keep some rhythms & routines: sleep when its time to sleep, wake up early to have some solitude (or stay up late if you’re a night person), grab the spare minutes in a day to look to God & still your heart
drink water as opposed to soda & coffee – my body already has enough stress on it with out adding caffeine, etc
sitting with my husband or a friend – I don’t need to have a conversation but just some togetherness
I also want to add some Bible memorizing to my margin maintenance so I can give my mind some food on which to nibble when it wants to digest various “worries”
Keep some still in your life if you want to remain effective over the long run 🙂