Expectations

Our Springlake neighborhood had existed for some twenty-five years when we moved there. The big event at the Springlake Pool for most of those years had been the annual Steak Fry. This was held on a summer evening, with tables around the pool, delicious food, and a huge pit where the men would cook the steaks and bring them hot off the grill to the anticipating diners. Dinner was followed by music and dancing under the stars.

The first year we experienced all of this with our new neighbors and friends. The second year it looked as if there would be nothing to experience. The social chairman had moved and no one was clamoring to take on the responsibility of organizing it all.

As the weeks passed and we began to get down to the wire I remember thinking, "What a shame. Itís been such a lovely tradition." So I volunteered to take on the job. It was a great night and the tradition lived on.

People think they are volunteering for one thing but in reality they are placing themselves in a pool of potential recruits for everything that will need help from that point on! And so it was for me. By the next year I was the secretary of the pool board.

It was on this board I met Daniel (not his real name), a fellow newly elected member. Daniel had ideas about the social events at the pool. He would talk about how lacking they had been the year before and about how much more should have been done. Sometimes he would give me looks I couldnít interpret.

Months later I realized what had happened. Because I had organized the Steak Fry Daniel assumed I was the social chairman. Therefore he had expected me to organize other social events as other social chairmen had done in the past. I remember the look on his face when some reference to the fact we hadnít had a social chairman the previous year brought this understanding of my innocence to him.

I have noticed that I often think about myself the way Daniel thought about me that year. I have expectations of myself. I donít expect myself to be planning a lot of social events, but I expect myself to do a lot more than I am doing, to be a lot stronger, to know a lot more, to fall a lot less. Often I give myself suspecting and judgmental inward looks.

But just as I wasnít the chairman of the social events at the pool and, therefore, not responsible for them, neither am I the chairman of my life. God is. He assigns me tasks but whipping myself into shape isnít one of them. He says He will carry to completion the good work He has begun in me (Philippines 1:6). The one event He does put me in charge of, my one responsibility, is to have faith in Him. When asked, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus responded, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent" (John 6:28-29). Someone--I think it was Joyce Meyer--has said that faith is a responsibility--itís my response to His ability.

Truth be told, Iím beginning to realize that expecting a lot of myself is a form of pride. Faith is agreeing with God that I can do nothing (John 15:5) but that He can do everything (Jeremiah 32:27). It is agreeing with Him, then, that I can do everything but only when I do it through Christ Who gives me strength (Philippines 4:13). When I donít measure up to my own expectations, I become discouraged and down on myself. But when my expectations are in God, I will keep the focus of my hope on Him. He can always deliver, I cannot. He is the One responsible to do the good work in and through me. My responsibility is to believe He can and will and to cooperate with Him as He does. This is a very good deal.

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