Great Expectations

Written by Dr. Bill Bagents

After two weeks of extreme hype, the 2014 Super Bowl stood little chance of living up to its billing. Still, I didn’t anticipate a super dud of a game. My team lost, but it’s worse than that. They were non-competitive and stunningly disappointing.

In this sin-damaged world, life has a way of failing to live up to the hype. The wedding ceremony will be magical with our groom a gallant knight and the bride a princess. But the armor seems to rust and the glass slipper doesn’t fit. Baby comes, the most beautiful baby in the world. But baby is expensive, exhausting, and high maintenance. Our work isn’t always appreciated at the level that rewards us. We take a vacation, the flight is delayed, and the whole cruise ship gets sick. We go to a movie, it’s not nearly as good as the trailer, and cell phones keep ringing.

How do we cope with the stress and strain of such realities? The following suggestions could help:

  • Concentrate less on what we hope to feel. Concentrate more on the ways we can bring joy to those around us, especially those we love (Philippians 2:3-4).
  • Learn to laugh at the absurd. Sometimes God changes our plans, and it works to great blessing (Acts 16:6-10). Sometimes, we don’t have a clue who changed our plans, but we’re still wise to wait for God’s blessing.
  • Choose to find more joy in God’s day-to-day surprises (Psalm 19:1). A multi-colored sunset, heavy on the red. A bluebird on an extra-cold day. Banana pudding at potluck.
  • Remember that it’s not about me. There’s peace and safety in not always being the center of attention.
  • Find someone who is having fun. Sometimes their attitude is infectious. Some people have a knack for getting life right. God can use them to help the rest of us.
  • Choose to lower your expectations. Only God is always right. Humans often fall short even when we try really hard. And we don’t always try really hard.