A few years ago – okay, so it was about 15 – I had a birthday party for myself. My husband was out of town and I invited a few of my closest friends for dinner and a sleep over. Not everyone was staying the night, but I planned where everyone would sleep and shared those plans early in the evening.
Guests arrived and dinner was served. I found myself doing the serving and shuffling food from here to there. And a cloud of disappointment began to appear on the horizon. This is my birthday party. Why don’t they help?
Clean up progressed, with me doing most of the work – after all, I was the hostess. The disappointment grew tinged with hurt. We watched a movie, played some games and then I was ready for bed. I had to be up early for my daughter’s music competition so I needed to get some sleep – I thought.
I crawled into bed and the ladies joined me so we could talk. I tried my best to go to sleep, but was unsuccessful. Disappointment and hurt grew with annoyance appearing around the edges…
So, I moved to a different bed and the ladies dispersed downstairs. Noisily, I might add. Still unable to sleep, I returned to my own bed and attempted to block out the laughter, chatter and noise. (They really were having the best time!) Sleep eluded me and the cloud of disappointment morphed into a storm of annoyance, About 4 a.m. everyone decided to quiet down for a few hours of sleep.
My alarm went off as I had planned and I confess, I was not a happy hostess when I got up. Frustrated, and quite honestly, annoyed with my friends for disregarding my birthday celebration and upsetting my basket. I was ready for them to go so I could lick my wounds.
You might wonder why my friends would be so uncaring and thoughtless, disregarding my birthday to have their own girls’ night sleepover. Well, it wasn’t them. It was me.
You see, I HADN’T TOLD ANYONE THIS WAS MY BIRTHDAY PARTY! I know, that sounds pretty dumb. But that is how expectations are sometimes. We set them up in our head, without letting anyone else know. Then we are disappointed when others don’t cooperate and our expectations don’t come to fruition.
I didn’t plan to have a birthday party for myself when I invited my friends. It just sort of happened. And before I knew it, I was looking forward to sharing my special day with these special women. And I anticipated being the guest of honor – celebrated and pampered.
I also hadn’t told my friends about my Saturday plans. I was sure I had conveyed the expectation they would sleep a full night – after all, I told them where they would sleep, but they didn’t get it. And I didn’t flex well.
I am going to guess that this same thing has happened in your life. Perhaps it centered around the holiday we just came through or maybe a birthday that slipped by unnoticed.
I don’t think we can completely avoid disappointment when expectations aren’t met. Sometimes we don’t realize they are there until the disappointment is curling around our hearts. Then comes the chaos, frustration, annoyance, lashing out, withdrawal, hurting and being hurt.
Yesterday when my heart turned into a chaotic mess, I had to stop and acknowledge the expectations. I noticed they were based in what I hoped would happen, not anything that was a guarantee. And when what we hope for involves others, disappointment often follows.
Expectation in scripture (often translated hope) is very different. The word itself is deeper and richer than our word and is settled in God. When we have expectations for the future and that expectation is in God, it is a guarantee. There will be no disappointment when our hope is in God and his promises. They are sure!
David says it well in Psalm 62.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8
I invite you to read the whole psalm today. What does it say to you about your hope? In the next couple of days, I will share what I see in this psalm, but for today, take your disappointments to Him. Talk to him about your hopes and dreams. Let him settle them in reality.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.Numbers 6:24-26
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.