Written by Natalie Foreman
As I have been thinking of expectations, I couldn’t help but think about the anticipation that comes with them. Have you ever gotten your hopes up really high only to have them crash and burn with reality?
One of the most memorable occurrences of this has always been holidays. When you as a kid see all the gifts under the tree, but as you open the socks, clothes, and other ‘boring’ things you seem to deflate. On my 17th birthday, my mom and dad presented me with this huge birthday gift with huge smiles adorning their faces. I just KNEW that this gift was going to be amazing. The bag was huge and colorful, and I was beyond excited. I was pumped and began ripping through the tissue paper. As the paper began to settle on the ground, my expectations met a harsh reality. The large birthday bag was filled with a bunch of random items from the checkout line. It had a rubber duck, straws, candy, a 17 magazine, and several other random items. I was so disappointed. As I saw each item, my expectations were shattered, and tears flooded my eyes. It wasn’t that I thought I should get something really special, but the packaging vs. the contents made me think that my parents forgot about my birthday and just stuffed a huge bag with random junk. The gift maybe wasn’t that bad, but the reality of the situation was in total opposition to my expectations.
The problem with expectations is when they are not accompanied by gratitude. If the Lost Son had been grateful, he wouldn’t have been so carefree. He would have realized the sacrifice the father had made.
In Luke 17:11-19 we get to see the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers. The leprous men approached Jesus with expectations that they place on Jesus to heal them, to take pity on them. He sends them to the priests and on the way, they are healed. Their expectations at this point have been met, but rather than them all turning and rushing to Jesus to thank Jesus for cleansing and healing them, they just go off towards their homes. The men continue on their way without a second thought towards what Jesus had just done for them. All of them, except one. The one remaining man returns and expresses his gratitude to Jesus.
The thing is, as a 17-year-old, I deserved nothing. My parents owed me nothing and got me a gift anyway. Jesus didn’t have to heal the lepers, He could have just continued on His own way unaffected but instead, He changed their lives. He gave them their lives back. They no longer had to be outside of society. Jesus will fulfill our expectations beyond what we can come up with. Whatever we give Him, He will give us more.
My challenge for you today and for the next few days is to be vocal about your gratitude. Give thanks when it is needed. Show your gratitude to all the people you come into contact to, it will help you become a more joyful person. Gratitude is a sign of maturity, so challenge yourself to be thankful this week. Don’t just walk away with the blessings, turn and give thanks.