Some of the things I wrestle with most often are expectations: both my own and those I imagine that other people have imposed on me. I know one of the reasons for my summer long funk was disappointment that life has not met my expectations. I compounded the funk by deciding that if life wouldn’t meet my expectations, I would stop expecting anything at all. That would CLEARLY show life (and God?) that it couldn’t get the best of me! What I found is that having too many of the wrong expectations and having no expectations at all both end up in the same place: me disgruntled with everyone and everything. I was going nowhere, physically, emotionally and worst of all spiritually.
Now that I have been burned by both ends of the expectation spectrum, I am trying to establish a way to be patiently expectant, but not assume that I know the direction God will lead me. I blogged Monday over at Middle Places about three words I brought home from Florida: slow, small still. The longer I meditate on them, the more I come to realize that they are the keys to finding this expectant balance. I tend to dream a big dream and then race towards it, clinging tighter and tighter all the while. The problem isn’t dreaming big, it’s the failure to slow down and be present in each smaller part, to open my hands so that they not only hold the dream, but all the other experiences and ideas that happen along the way. I’ve been waiting for the genie in a bottle answer, but God’s telling me that we’re taking the stepping stone approach to life right now, and sometimes, the steps may not be one right after the other. Sometimes were going to be still awhile before the next small step happens.
Slow, small, still. Three words that are complete opposite of everything the world teaches, which sadly tells me that I am giving too much audience to the world and not enough to Truth. I’ve laughed so often at Elijah who pouted in a cave after one of the biggest political coups in history and now I find myself in exactly the same place. But I find comfort in the fact that despite acting like a two year old, Elijah was given what he needed most, food, comfort and a soft small voice to lead him home.
Elijah was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. I Kings 19: 11-12