A small infant crudely clothed grew into a man who changed history forever. Unfortunately, those living during Jesus’ life expected a valiant conqueror. Failed expectations prevented many from embracing and receiving the long-awaited Savior. Missed expectations aren’t usually so important or dramatic, but the heart that finds the smallest part of security, hope or peace aside from Christ is destined for disappointment.
The process God brought us through continued to strip me of measurable expectations. This concept counters the western mentality geared towards measuring success by “how much”.
How much bigger is my house?
How much more money do I have now?
How much smarter am I than that colleague?
How much stronger is my body than hers?
How much reading do my kids do every night?
How much will the annual vacation cost?
Our culture wants results, but these results cost many souls.
If my husband and I looked only at how much the move would cost our family business moving would never be an option.
The questions we should be asking?
How much does God love me? My family?
How much more will God shine through when I step aside?
How much will God grow my heart in His pure love?
How much will I be able to encourage others because of what I see God doing?
Missed the Mark
These things are easier to write in hindsight, but as you already know, I’ve failed terribly through this process. Remember when I blamed my husband for my terrible interview to the point of the flight attendant commenting?
My patience tanked after we finished updating our house because I expected specific measurable results. Namely, I expected our adorable home to sell within a week. I’d actually banked on that happening.
Then it sat.
In our hot market, neighborhood and price point it made no sense. My heart sank and my faith faded quickly. The home was adorable, how could it possibly sit on the market?
Yet it did.
Spiritual Truth Serum
Red Rose, my trusted wagon, is like spiritual truth serum. I don’t know why God convicts me in my car, but He does. As the kids and I drove home from an afternoon of hearty swimming at my mom’s the past three days of irritability ruptured.
We drove through the neighborhood I knew by heart. Every home’s elevation, every area known to flood, families that helped with school fundraisers and how the ground felt after running for a few miles. Something about familiar history mixed with the brevity I now know of life sobered me up.
Driving up the only scant knoll in the neighborhood desperation for expected results erupted on my kids. God allowed that abrasive tone to give some backlash on my heart and it stung.
Our Work, His Timing
We’d done our part and expected to be immediately rewarded. Aren’t we raised that way?
Eat your dinner and have dessert.
Do your homework then you can play.
Go to work then get paid.
But God isn’t of this world.
He operates in His own timing. He says, “I love you. Trust Me and obey My lead.” In other words, don’t wait for something on the other side to take action and follow. Get going!
Following God doesn’t guarantee immediate or worldly success. All the painting completed, all the granite laid, all the floors set in place, new doors, hinges and hardware did not promise the specific results I set my hope in. But boy is God kind.
Unlike me He sees deep into our heart’s motivation and treats us with tender love.
Again I found myself apologizing to my kids for my attitude, actions and behavior towards our family. I explained how my misplaced hope led to disappointment and wrong behavior as cleansing tears filled my eyes. At some point their willingness to quickly forgive and reassure may fade, but then and now I’m grateful for their childlike forgiveness and new beginnings.
Within three days multiple offers arrived from highly qualified buyers. Our home was fine; my heart was not. God continued to remodel and refine me from the inside out through this process. But the learning wasn’t over. This experience seems small in comparison to what came later.
What about you? How are you trying to measure success?