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Why you should expect more, not less

expect more

So often we talk about lowering our expectations. We tend to believe that most of the disappointments we face in life are because our expectations are too high and we set ourselves up for a let down. My mom has told me that a million times: “Your expectations are too high.”

In some ways, she was right. Countless times I put my expectations in the hands of people who didn’t deserve it. People who had hurt me time after time and I continued to believe the best. I continued to go back for more. That was on me. That was my misunderstanding.

But the general idea that we should lower our expectations has never settled well with me. Expectations of other people – yes. But of the power and sovereignty of God to make beauty from the broken? Never. Right or wrong, the comment has made me mad almost every single time. And it’s never settled in my spirit because I believe that far too often our expectations are way too low. Sometimes we need to expect more.

I don’t know if you’re anything like me but I’m prone to forgetting. A few years ago I wrote every single day during the month of October about finding the incredibly rich {extra}ordinary that is found in the very everyday ordinary of our lives. Our messy, broken, crazy, mixed-up lives. I turned it into a 12-day life challenge e-book that you can download for free, right here.

It was a month of expectation. A month I looked for God in the million tiny ways He calls to our senses. Felt His presence in the very {extra}ordinary moments He reaches out to touch just us. Strikingly personal messages delivered in the most unexpected places in the most unlikely ways. I believe it’s how He works. The mystery.

Then the next month came and I stopped expecting the extraordinary. I forgot to keep looking and I stopped seeing the million tiny ways He was reaching out to me. I fell into fear, insecurity, self-doubt, and an incredible lack of faith.

How quickly I forget. November taught me that if I am not actively seeking Him, I am falling away from Him.

Because God is not found in a church building, or in the uncertain message of a man, but in the everyday expectation that He will step into the chaos of our messy, broken down lives and bring peace.

That He will reach into our prideful, stubborn hearts and quiet us with His undeniable presence and grace.

That the truth is He has sown us right where we are, right now. Not a scattered seed, but one that is planted. Sown in the fertile soil of His goodness. His grace. His immeasurable love. And He waits with us in the trial. He waits for us to seek Him. To choose Him. To expect Him.

far too little quote

He has called us and yet we forget. We doubt. We seek affirmation every which way but Him. Or maybe that’s just me. How often I forget to seek Him when I lose hope. When I feel like I’ve lost my way. How quickly the expectation of His {extra}ordinary power fades in the disappointments of this life and my limited vision.

But when we seek Him, when we look for Him in the ordinary of our life, we realize He is waiting with us. We see the million tiny extraordinary ways He’s been reaching out to touch our hearts, but we’ve been too bitter or busy to see. And He waited. The truth is He still waits. Because He knows we’re trying so hard to manage our expectations. Pulled by the overwhelming misbelief that lessening what we expect will somehow make the absence hurt less. You know what? He told us to believe.

That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. -James 1:7-8

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed she share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. -Romans 8:15 and 17

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. -Romans 8:18

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:15-16

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. No only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. -Romans 8:22-24

I cannot even begin to touch on the scriptures leading us toward expectation. Not expectation of man, but of God. Every one of them tells us there is hope. Promise. Redemption. This world tells us to protect, but His word tells us to be still. To be patient. Expectant. To wait on Him with the full assurance that He will show up. And He will save.

I am sure of it. Every time I seek Him in the ordinary, I find the {extra}ordinary. Don’t be convinced by this world to lower your expectations. Raise them. Expect more. There is so much more.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Lisa December 2, 2013, 10:12 am

    Well this is just lovely, and so true. I so agree with you about expectation. That saying never sat well with me either! I love your November lesson, that if we’re not actively seeking Him we’re falling away. It’s a sobering truth. Seeing Him in the everyday is such a great practice. Photography has helped me a ton with that! It’s part of the reason I started my Bible based photo challenge on my blog. I can never be reminded too much to focus on Him ALL the time. Your post here is another wonderful nudge. Thanks for such a thoughtful reminder.

    • Tammy December 6, 2013, 4:41 pm

      thank you lisa! i’m so glad to have you here. xoxo

  • Ally December 29, 2013, 12:45 am

    Yes, please!!! Amen sister!

  • Missy May 14, 2015, 6:49 am

    Thank you so much for the encouraging words! And for letting us see into the very depths of your soul so that we can be comforted by the fact that we are not the only ones that feel this way. You definitely are not alone in forgetting His truth and seeking affirmation everywhere but Him.

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