In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

You mean it's not about meeting expectations?

Last Friday I went to lunch with a couple of ladies I’m getting to know. As we were about to leave and go our separate ways, one of them hands me a book and says:

“I don’t usually read fiction books, but I couldn’t put this one down. Go ahead and read it, and then give it to someone else or give it back to me.”

I’ll admit that her intro about not reading fiction put me off a bit. But recently my husband John & I went on a get away, while at the beach I started to read the book she gave me. It’s entitled The Shack and is written by Wm. Paul Young. By the time I finished reading the forward, I was totally hooked into the book. John came by me as I was reading and noticed the tears running down my face on several occasions, but wise man that he is, he didn’t say a word.

One of the many themes in the book is relationship. How God wants to be in relationship with us. There are two statements made by the personification of God in the book that really struck me:

“I’ve never placed an expectation on you or anyone else. The idea behind expectations requires that someone does not know the future or outcome and is trying to control behavior to get the desired result. Humans try to control behavior largely through expectations. I know you and everything about you. Why would I have an expectation other than what I already know? That would be foolish. And beyond that, because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me.”

“What I do have is a constant and living expectancy in our relationship, and I give you an ability to respond to any situation and circumstance in which you find yourself. To the degree that you resort to expectations and responsibilities, to that degree you neither know me nor trust me.”

I don’t know about you, but for me these are radical thoughts.

Although my head knows God loves me; my heart is only beginning to experience this. Most of my life I have felt like such a disappointment to God and everyone else.

I recognize that a lot of this stems from how I grew up. There was some good stuff in my childhood and I definitely appreciate that my folks did the best they could with what they had. But my entire childhood was one of feeling separate and alone.

I’m grateful that God has brought a lot of healing into my life. I’m grateful that today I do have a few close friends and am learning how to be in healthy relationships. But relationships still aren’t easy for me.

It’s still easier for me to think about something concrete such as expectations, and then set about seeing how I can perfectly meet every single one, than to be in relationship. Maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to the writing of Christian mystics like Teresa of Avila and St Augustine; these folks spoke from, what seems to me, the depths of relationship with God.

What about you? Do you relate more to God in terms of expectations or expectancy?


RCUBEs said...

We can disappoint Him but He never disappoints us. I, too was hurt with some relationships with my own kin. But He was quick to save me and heal that hurt. I'm glad that His love is unconditional...And that He readily forgives. Have a good weekend and God bless.

JD Curtis said...

I know you and everything about you. Why would I have an expectation other than what I already know? That would be foolish. And beyond that, because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me.

Somewhere, somebody needs to hear this. I see why you liked the book T.

BeadedTail said...

I've read that book and it certainly does make you think differently about many things. I tend to stay away from expectations since too many times people have disappointed me.

Michelle said...

I totally agree... To the faithful, God is always faithful..God did not require us to be perfect, because He knows we never can. What he wants is that we totally depend on Him. In spite of our imperfections, He can turn all things into good...

GCT said...

What I'm reading here both from you Tracy, and other commenters is that god accepts us for who we are and doesn't expect perfection - that god is never disappointed in us. My question is this:

Why do people end up in hell then, and why does the Bible explicitly state that all fall short of the glory of god? This has been interpreted by Xians as saying that we are all guilty and deserving of hell, because none of us are perfect. Additionally, if god is not disappointed in us, it seems rather weird for us to be bound for hell from birth or worthy of hell from the get-go. How does one explain this apparent contradiction of interpretations?

Also, from the humor files, I'm glad that you call a story about god to be fiction ;)

Tracy said...

It was a fiction book GCT; not the Bible. But it brought out some ideas that I found meaningful.

GCT said...

Hopefully you caught that I was joking with you there?

Tracy said...

Sorry about that. It's that thing you said to me once about how it's hard to catch the nuances when it's written; especially if you don't already know the person.

GCT said...

No need to apologize.

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