A friend and I were talking about changing expectations. By now, we both expected certain things in life to have occurred. Situations such as:
- The house paid for — free and clear
- Our children settled and happy
- 2.5 grandchildren
- A lifetime of marriage to draw on — the whole happily-ever-after dream (cue the Disney music)
- Plenty of retirement money safely tucked away in trusts and investments
- Trips planned and enjoyed at least twice / year
- Good friends meeting regularly for coffee, tea, some sort of chocolate treat (obviously BC – before COVID)
- The certainty that our lives had impacted people / that we had made a difference in somebody’s world
- The blessings of the abundant life
- Looking forward to the next family gathering / maybe a vacation in the mountains or near the beach
Instead, we were both experiencing the following:
- Financial struggles
- Bodies that betrayed us and hurt in weird places
- The solitude of facing life alone
- Close friends and multiple family members now lying in cemeteries
- Children struggling to find their way in an uncertain world
- The over-used word “unprecedented” now a descriptive of daily life
- Searching for a cheaper place to live / trying to decide whether to downsize or hunker down for whatever comes after COVID
- Not sure our lives have meant anything to anyone
- A gray sense of despair
- Watching blessings happen to others / not so much to us
These were supposed to be the Golden Years. Not so golden. Not even gold-plated.
Promises unfulfilled. Dreams shattered.
So how do we find hope when the expectations have not come through? When what we were promised has not happened?
Simple, yet tough.
Stop looking at the outcomes. Results don’t always describe the journey’s intention.
We are living in the hyphen years, that space on gravestones between birth date and death. We cannot know the impact of the hyphen until eternity.
When we meet those we never knew. Perhaps a reader who found a particular blog post or book we wrote impactful. Maybe another person in despair who saw our smile and decided to live another day.
Perhaps that great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who watched us live and learn, grow and fail. They cheered us on. Their whispers merely a nudge in our souls.
Since we cannot know our true impact, we can only trust Abba God for the results. Even when the outcomes look so different from what we expected.
When the answers are not what we want to hear. When life does not match up with our expectations. When we tend to focus on what did NOT happen. When we live in the gloom of unanswered prayers.
That is when we must trust hard. To focus instead on the Who rather than the What.
The Who that says:
- I AM with you, no matter what the circumstances.
- I AM stronger than the pain of what is happening right now.
- I AM helping you through this mess, one day, one moment at a time.
- I AM going to meet every need. Just wait for me.
- I AM still loving you. Nothing will ever stop my loving you.
- I AM your ally, the one who will defend you to the end.
- I AM.
So when the days seem longer than 24 hours, when the expectations fizzle, keep holding on to hope. Check out this video for a dash of strength. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-HIKxnSZSA
©2021 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For a few moments of hope, check out my newest e-book Finding Hope When Life Unravels.