I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything, but I promise, its with good reason! My church has been gearing up for our annual Easter production called “The Victor.” It tells the story of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We’re only in the middle of our performances, but through them, people are truly seeing what it is our God has done for us. Not only that, but it is changing people’s lives!
But today, I want to share a special blog post from my amazing cousin, Maddie. She and her best friend, Peyton, have started their own blog called “Honesty Hour.” This is their first blog post, so be sure to go to the link below and check them out! These ladies are near and dear to my heart, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for letting God move in their lives in this way. Now, without further delay, here’s Maddie!
Letting Go of Expectation
Where are my fellow struggle bussers at? I mean seriously.. I basically drive the thing every day. But lately I’ve been pondering a question.. is it possible to be driving the struggle bus and run over by said bus simultaneously? Somehow I’ve managed to find a way to master this. Let me back up and give you some context.
1.5 years ago I moved away from my small city vibes life in East Tennessee and moved to honkey tonk central in Nashville, Tennessee. I came here pursuing my graduate degree in occupational therapy (Yay OT!), completely full of excitement in embracing my independence and moving alone to a popular southern city that doubled as a hub for people my age.
“OMGoodness I’m gonna meet so many cool people, be best friends with all my classmates, find an amazing church to get plugged into and a small group to go with it, maybe I’ll get a dog, I’m definitely going to meet my future husband……” Literally from the second I got my acceptance letter to Belmont’s OT program, these thoughts danced in my mind and graced the ears of anyone who was willing to listen to me ramble on about it.
Before I even got to Nashville, I had created a world of expectation of what my life would look like. I also have a nasty habit of playing things up in my imagination.. thinking up this ideal version of life, relationships, etc. This only set me up for the brutal jab to the gut when reality came crashing through.
For 1.5 years now I have dreaded going to school every day because I’m not close to my classmates, have tried and failed to get plugged into various churches and small groups, have struggled to connect with people, and have not met my soulmate (not that I know of anyways). Every single expectation I placed on myself slowly slipped further and further away with every day that passed (with the exception of getting a dog.. cause I totally adopted a puppy. In the middle of midterms if that tells you anything about how well I handle stress haha). I spent two years shaking my fist at God.. “Why would you bring me here, God? I was SO sure about feeling called to Nashville. I have been putting myself out there, stepping out of my comfort zone and pursuing godly things, but here I am with nothing to show for it. How can this be part of your plan for my life that you promised would be good?”
For 1.5 years I was missing what was right in front of me the whole time. One day, very recently, I had my eyes opened to the fact that I am a RADICALLY different human than I was 1.5 years ago. I have embraced my brokenness in a way I never have before… I have been unafraid to show vulnerability and intentionality with people I barely know because I desire a new depth in relationships that I was never forced to seek out in my past… I have embraced my independence and gone places by myself, tried churches by myself, joined small groups by myself… I have had to learn to be responsible for myself, my bills, my dog, my decisions. The list goes on and on. I suddenly realized that I had been looking for these tangible blessings to be given to me. Although things like a Christian community and a husband are strong desires of my heart and desires that are good and come from God, He never promised me these things. I just expected Him to hand them over to me because I wanted them. Reality check. That’s not how it works. I opened my eyes to the fact that just because I can’t see something unfolding in front of me, doesn’t mean that something is not unfolding within me. Not all blessings are tangible. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds us not to spend our time focusing on the tangible things of this world because in the end, they are transient. God, and his intangible, unseen blessings are eternal.
I have been striving to reach these expectations that.. get this… I PLACED ON MYSELF. Have you actually ever stopped to think about why you have the expectations you have for yourself? More often than not they stem from your own social comparison and fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, envy, etc. All of those feelings are REAL. I’m not here to tell you that you’re not allowed to feel those things. But be careful how you respond to those feelings. If we keep running over ourselves with the struggle bus, we stay hyper-focused on our own failure at living up to the unrealistic expectations we placed on ourselves and become blind to God’s goodness in the midst of it. We get stuck in a never ending downward spiral of unhealthy defense mechanisms and withdrawal from God. It’s time for a change in perspective. We are going to screw up.. that’s what it means to be human. But that’s the beauty of grace and redemption. God isn’t surprised when we screw up, nor is He disappointed. He just wants us to let Him love us through the struggle. My friends, He sees us in the midst of our deepest struggles and He is constantly at work.. if we would just have the eyes to see it.
What would it look like if we could 1) extend grace to ourselves when we mess up rather than beating ourselves up and feeding our fear and 2) surrender our fear and expectations and fully embrace the journey that God has us on RIGHT NOW.
I’d be lying if I told you I knew the answer to these questions cause I’m still figuring it out.. and it’s a DAILY struggle. But I’m trying to do a few things. 1) STOP running over myself with the dang bus cause that’s not helping anything… and tire marks don’t do anything for your outfit. 2) Give myself grace that I am driving the struggle bus every day and stop expecting myself to have it all together, because God doesn’t expect that of me. 3) Surrender the fears, expectation, and negativity to God when they creep their way into my mind. 4) Stop stiff arming God and actually let His love break down my walls and wreck my life.
My advice to you is this.. Let God love you. Let God pursue you. However that looks for you. Wouldn’t it be a joyous life we could live if we could stop controlling ourselves by expectation and instead simply live loved exactly where we are.
Sending you a warm, tight hug. See ya on the struggle bus!
Check out Maddie and Peyton’s blog in the link below!