As I get older and hopefully wiser, it seems to me that the unexpected events in life sometimes affect the greatest change. Some unexpected events are personal while others like 9/11 affect everyone around us. There have been so many things in my life that were unexpected; things that didn’t go as planned, and surprises that I never imagined all leaving me to wonder if my life has in fact ever matched my expectations.
My unexpected life started the moment I left my mother’s womb and was offered up for adoption. I don’t remember what I was fantasying about or planning for my life the day before I was born. I suspect it turned out quite differently. Or did it?
Like it or not, we live unexpected lives. Sometimes life exceeds our expectations and at other times it falls short and sometimes disappointingly so. All too often unusual, unexpected and unpredictable events render our expectations absurd.
We live in a world of expectations which consciously and unconsciously become a part of our DNA from birth and accompany us on our journeys through life up until the very end…and maybe even beyond. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
As if our own sometimes absurd expectations aren’t enough, there are those of parents, teachers, friends, employers, religion and society…everyone else knows what’s best for us as if we can’t think for ourselves. Is that true?
We all have expectations for ourselves, our families, friends, society, even the stranger in our midst. We have expectations of how the world should be and how our lives should unfold. We have expectations of how God should respond to our prayers and how he should fix the world. But what happens when our lives fail to meet our expectations? What happens when we think God isn’t answering our prayers? We get anxious, work harder, worry more convinced that our lives have never matched our expectations and eventually find ourselves asking “why isn’t God paying attention?’ Or is he? Perhaps God is trying to tell us that wonderful gifts aren’t always wrapped as we expect and that we always get what we want although it may not always look that way.
Too often we are our own worst enemy. If we can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in ourselves and others, we may find the happiness that has always eluded us. When we feel that our life has never met our expectations it’s probably time to ask God to help us desire the life we have. After all, it’s the life God’s given us and the life we’re accountable for.