Once upon a time… I expected a lot from those around me.
I expected my husband to always be thinking of me—24/7. I expected my children to always be perfect and challenge free. I expected the Pastor to always want to talk to me. I expected my friends to always be available, and I expected my work colleagues to always consider me. My always expectations were not limited to my external world. I had some pretty fanciful anticipations for myself as well.
As lovely as this fairy-tale would have been, it was just that—a fairy-tale.
The non-fiction version was stark by comparison and led to constant disappointment, frustration, and often wound up in comparison. These emotions wrote themselves onto each new page of my life, in a never-ending tirade that left me wary of others and just plain weary.
Then one day, I realised the problem. The only person responsible for filling my story with unhappiness was me. Not my husband, children, pastor, friends or colleagues. It was all me!
It was not their responsibility to meet my expectations. Wowser! I mean, how could it be? Unless God has blessed us with mindreading skills, my expectations were mine and they were unrealistic. I had created a monster that was holding me (and everyone else) emotionally hostage. It dawned on me that most of the conflict in my relationships had been self-fabricated.
You see, the problem was that I expected people to do for me what only God can.
No wonder there were issues.
It is only God that is thinking of me 24/7. ‘You know when I sit and when I rise’ (Psalm 139:2),
Only God is perfect – ‘Good and upright is the Lord’ (Psalm 25:8),
Only God wants to talk to me all the time – ‘Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you’ (Jeremiah 29:12).
Only God is always available – ‘I will never leave you and I will never forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5)
Only God fully considers me, ‘all the days ordained for me were written in your book’ (Psalm 139:16).
Did you know that Father God has a book that he writes for us? This book is better than any we could ever write, it goes beyond our expectations. His book overflows with love and goodness. It can’t be anything less when He is the author. Yes, there are the challenges, there are the dramatic and devastating moments, but He, the greatest narrator of all, will ensure that it ‘all works together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes.’ (Romans 8:28)
I began to follow Paul’s wise words in Colossians and set my heart and mind on heavenly things. I aligned my expectations with His revealed word; imbibing His compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I allowed love, His love of me and my love of Him, to be the greatest emotion of all in my story, and I found it true that it binds us together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:1-2;12-14).
I stopped seeing relationships as something that I needed to receive from, and started seeing them as something I could give to. Out of an overflow of the Father’s love for me, I could think of others, I could talk to others, I could be available for others. All the things I expected from them, I could offer to them – not out of self, but as an excess of my heavenly relationship.
The day I decided to stop writing my story, and handed the pen to Father God, I began to see a change. A change in my relationships, and a change in me. I stopped punishing myself and those I loved, for not fulfilling what only God could fulfil. I began to trust God. I trusted that even if the story wasn’t going the way I wanted, it was okay, because the greatest author of all time, the one who began the story, would finish it; that he had something amazing waiting at the turn of the page.
For some time now, He has written my story, and the more I allow Him too, the greater the story becomes. I have never been disappointed; His authorship over my life is well and truly beyond my wildest expectations.