Sunday, April 10, 2016

Expectation leads to premeditated disappointment



"Expectation leads to premeditated disappointment". That's a phrase my dad enjoys using. 


I recently wrote (here) about reading The Shack, by Paul Young.

A fiction novel, it deals with real and tough emotional responses to God, and it was the most profound book I've read in years. I was subtly, but throughly effected.

I'm learning now to "let go, and let God" in an entirely new way. It's not about not caring, in fact, my caring increased. It's about relaxing into his arms. Trusting him in new ways. Gaining new perspectives.

I've always treated life as though it were a race from one destination to the next. "What do you want from me?" was my common question to God.

It turns out, he doesn't. He's not asking anything of me, not really. He has desires for me. Plans. He would like to work with me and through me to accomplish great things. But....

It's not as though there's a checklist that I'm getting further and further behind on as I fail to follow. Rather; every day He presents opportunities. Some big (take that job), some small, (spend five minutes with me this morning before you go).

Quiet time is for me, not Him. He wants me to work in and through him ALL DAY, praying constantly (even if only in my mind). Morning quiet time is for me to have a chance to settle down, relax in him, and not get too worked up into the day. It sets the tone of the day, and keeps me from getting back to my check list mentality.

I can take it, leave it, do 3 minutes, 30, 60, 90 minutes... all the same to Him. It's about relating to him, not about checking off my list.

I can "pray" while taking a shower, cooking, driving, at work, even while talking to someone else (preferably then, so I don't say the wrong things). So quiet time is not about "getting my prayer time in".

It's just about, relaxes and retuning. It's like taking a few moments to tune the radio dial before starting my "drive" into the day.

That's a whole new concept.

Darrell









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If you were only as smart as a rock...


"Steve! I've been doing it ALL wrong." Daniel turned his attention to friend, "I've wasted so much time and energy."

Steve thought he was a great friend, for a pet rock. They met while Daniel was hiking a trail one day. Steve was just sitting there, on the side of the trail, just larger than a softball. His charcoal gray dotted by flecks of fools gold and purple quartz. Daniel always said that he knew instantly that they were meant to be good friends.

Steve was watching his friend intently, from his perch upon the desk.

"I've been beating myself up for decades." Daniel put his copy of The Shack by Wm. Paul Young down on the desk beside Steve, who eyed it with curiosity. "Every morning waking up at 5:00 am, getting to my Prayer Chair, going through three chapters of the Old Testament, one chapter of the New Testament, working through my prayer list, first for the Israel, then the nations, then the USA, then each family member, friend, and finally myself. Then journaling my prayer time thoughts."

He stood up, grabbed his cane, hobbled around the tiny room in a goofy circle, his free arm waiving in the air like a politician during a campaign speech, "If I ever missed a day, I'd be sure to spend some extra time the next. I've constantly striven to be the best Christian I could be, and I've constantly failed my Father. I've felt guilty for missing, but never closer for having done it. Always as thought I was missing something, some key, some missing element to unlock the door..."

He blew out a sigh, and collapsed into his prayer chair, but Steve could still see him from his perch, he could always see anywhere in this room from his perch. "All the while, He was not expecting anything from me... not a thing. I did all that to myself. 'Expectation leads to premeditated disappointment', isn't that the phrase my dad enjoys using? Yet, I set expectations for myself that God himself never set."

Steve was not sure what had worked his friend up, humans were quite an odd creature, fretting about so many things. He wasn't sure to feel sorry for him, having wasted this time, or glad that he finally learned what he'd been trying to tell his friend for so long. If only rocks could speak.

"I've learned now that I need to "let go, and let God" in an entirely new way. It's not about not caring, in fact, I think my caring has increased. It's about relaxing into his arms. Trusting him in new ways. Gaining new perspectives."

Daniel took a sip of water, a lost in space gaze in his eyes. Softer now, "I've always treated life as though it were a race from one destination to the next. 'What do you want from me?' was my constant question to God. It turns out, he doesn't. He's not asking anything of me, not really. He has desires for me. Plans. He would like to work with me and through me to accomplish great things. But.... It's not as though there's a checklist that I'm getting further and further behind on as I fail to follow. Rather; every day He presents opportunities. Some big (take that job), some small, (spend five minutes with me this morning before you go). I can either take the opportunity or not, either way, the next day there will be more opportunities. No pressure, no expectation, He just enjoys me so much, he throws opportunities in my path for me to choose from."

Steve felt proud. Good for him, it 's about time he learned what we rocks all know innately. He'd been praying for his silly human friend for a long time now.

"Did you know that quiet time is for me, not Him?" Steve knew, but couldn't say.

Daniel went on, "He wants me to work in and through him ALL DAY, praying constantly (even if only in my mind). Morning quiet time is not for Him, it's for me... to have a chance to settle down, relax in him, and not get too worked up during the day. It sets the tone of the day, and keeps me from getting back to my check list mentality. I can take it, leave it, do 3 minutes, 30, 60, 90 minutes... all the same to Him."

How is it that humans make relating to God so hard? Maybe God should make them all rocks for a week, then they'd get it faster, Steve mused.

"It's about relating to him, not about checking off my list. I can "pray" while taking a shower, cooking, driving, at work, even while talking to someone else (preferably then, so I don't say the wrong things). So quiet time is not about 'getting my prayer time in'. It's just about, relaxing and retuning. It's like taking a few moments to tune the radio dial before starting my 'drive' into the day. That's a whole new concept for me."

Daniel got up, and pat his friend on the head, "You're a great listening Steve. Gotta go now, see you tonight." He turned and walked out of the office, leaving Steve behind.

It was raining out the window, it would be nice if Daniel left the window open for him, or even left him outside for the day, he enjoyed the rain. If only rocks could talk... oh well.

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:40




Your Turn: That was my story, what's your story?

Tell the LIFE community about a story you encountered this week, and what you learned from it. 

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By Darrell Wolfe

Storyteller, Creative, INFJIntellection, Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever



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