A Little Encouragement For When Life Isn’t What You Expected
Some people like surprises and some don’t. I like good surprises like flowers or a card, but I don’t generally like surprises, especially when it comes to “life.” I like to know the ground rules. I like to know what I can expect, and of course, life isn’t like that at all. We don’t have a crystal ball and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
So when life unfolds differently than we expected, we can be thrown for a loop. We can begin to fear and become discontent.
Over the years I’ve learned that being in control is NOT something we get to be. God is in control. So, the secret to being content is to know your God and to really believe His Word.
I know this sounds simple, like Christianity Lite 101, but as I’ve talked to women and have experienced my own fears and reactions to life, I see that this is often hard stuff. Knowing words and head knowledge does not always translate into actual belief. And we see this by our expectations and our reactions.
Oh, those expectations! We hold on to them don’t we? And they can really do a number on us if we don’t let them go!
We expect things to go smoothly. We don’t expect trials. We hate suffering. We get mad when we’re treated like a servant.
Our expectations are deflated when real life sets in.
- We want a perfectly understanding husband.
- We want kids who have the wisdom of parents so that we don’t have to spend so much time and energy parenting.
- We want a home that is self-cleaning.
- We expect people to be kind and considerate and get mad or even when they aren’t.
We get frustrated with the bumps and set-backs that come with inefficiency, sinful interaction, messes, and timetables that don’t run smoothly.
It’s in these times that we have to ask, “What is the truth about my God right now?” and “Do I really believe the Scripture?”
If you are an idealist like I am, you are easily annoyed by the seeming contradictions of this life. You know how things should be, and you’re irritated when they’re not that way. This can be good, when it leads to helping those who are unjustly treated, but it can also be a curse, when you have ideals about what your own life should look like and be, and you disappoint yourself.
These are the grounding truths you need to meditate on when life is disappointing:
I am a most beloved daughter of the God of Heaven.
I’ve signed up to be His servant and to do His will because I believe He is God of the Universe and in control, and I trust Him.
Did you skip over the servant part when you read that sentence? If so, let me encourage you to let that sink in and take root in your spirit. Those who follow Jesus Christ are here to do His will. Servants.
A few questions about servant hood.
- Do I get really upset and mad when I’m treated like a servant?
- When my husband leaves his socks on the ground, do I have the mindset of a servant?
- When my toddler presses play doh into the rug, do I see myself as a servant?
- When I am in ministry, “serving others” do I get ruffled when I am treated as a servant?
- When God brings the “needy” to me, do I get exasperated that there are always people who need my help?
I’m thinking that our irritability and impatience show that we don’t really have a servant’s mindset but a master’s mindset.
A master wants his will obeyed. He expects things to be his way. He wants others to respect him and honor him. He doesn’t want to be crossed EVER.
So, recognizing our servant status and thinking in terms of picking up a towel and basin for the sake of others will help us accept the will of our Master.
Because, isn’t that what a servant does–the the will of his master? He expects things to be the master’s way. He expects that people will see him as little and sends all “respect” and “glory” to his master. He doesn’t expect anything but to serve.
We’d all verbally affirm that we’d like to be like Jesus, so let’s look at Philippians 2, to see our example:
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
If we want to live as Jesus lived, it involves extreme humility.
Humility means dying to self.
Moms, do we really have the mind of Christ? Would your kids say that you are humble? Are we putting others first for the sake of the gospel instead of acting like our kids are distractions and hindrances from the grander duties of life?
Wives, do we have a “mind of our own” or the mind of Christ? Do our interactions with our husband show humility? Do we consider his needs? Help him? Pride ends (and contention) where humility begins, doesn’t it?
Ministry wives, do we get our knickers in a knot when people exclude us, talk badly about us, expect the unreasonable from us, and use us? Do our reactions reveal a servant’s mindset or a master’s mindset? Would the last congregant who hurt you say you reacted with humility?
Another way we can be like Jesus is to value God’s will over our own:
““Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Jesus, the man, was submissive to God’s laws. He treasured the law. He never crossed God’s law. We also need to value, treasure, and obey God’s Word. This is not legalism, or bondage. God’s Words and ways bring freedom and life. They’re our guidebook for living.
When you are disappointed in your situation,
or you feel that you’re not getting your fair share,
I’d encourage you to take another look into Scripture.
It’s clarifying. It’s hopeful. It reorients your expectations. It fills you with gratitude and hope and most importantly,
it points you to the Savior and shows you once again what it means to live a Christian life. You’ll see the suffering Christ. You’ll see the merciful Lord. You’ll see the Sovereign One. You’ll see the satisfaction He offers to those who are destitute and thirsty. You’ll see that the suffering is only temporary, and that God is good eternally.
You are loved, dear friend. What verse encourages you to think God’s way during times of trials? What do you to put those things in the forefront of your mind? I’d love for you to share in the comments or on FB.
Have a great weekend, friends!
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