How Realistic Expectations Can Help You Enjoy Life

Peeling the previous day’s page from my daily calendar I read, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15 NLT).

The words arrested me. Most mornings I barely noted the daily verse, but this one captured my attention. As a wife and mother of school-aged children with commitments in our church and ministry, some days I felt like a rubber band pulled too tight.

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. ~ Psalm 94_19 (1)

Quietness? My kids would say I used volume to get their attention. Rest? When deadlines loomed, I ran faster. Rest and quietness sounded heavenly, but they weren’t part of my DNA. Or were they? Second Corinthians 5:17 says anyone in Christ is a new creature. That means He has given me spiritual genes capable of heeding this wisdom.

But there’s a paradox to resting in Christ. We don’t coast into biblical rest on autopilot. It takes practice. Thankfully, we have help. God has revealed the secrets and supplied the fuel to enter His rest.

Biblical rest gives us the strength to face irritations, disappointments, fears, and challenges with quiet confidence. Our venture into this rest begins with having realistic expectations.

Expect Storms

If we know life doesn’t run perfectly, why do long red lights, slow computers, and burnt toast annoy us? I think we forget that problems are normal. God or fate isn’t out to get us; God is for us. He walks with us through the challenges—and uses them.

Are you resting or stressing? Note every trait in each column that you’ve experienced in the past 48 hours.

Resting                                                                      Stressing

__        Peaceful                                                          __       Agitated

__        Relaxed                                                            __       Worried

__        Confident                                                       __       Disturbed

__        Trusting                                                           __        Fretting

__        Grounded                                                       __        Restless

__        Refreshed                                                       __        Impatient

__        Contented                                                       __       Pressured

Most of us have checks in both columns. In the Western world, we sometimes live under the delusion that life should have no trouble. Adjusting our expectations will help our perspective. What do you learn about the relationship between trouble and life from the following Scriptures?

  • “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
  • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b).
  • “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

If someone showed up at my door and said, “I’ve seen your future. Expect some sort of trouble every day,” my natural response would be to worry. “What kind of trouble? How big? How painful?” I would be so focused on trouble I would miss the pleasures of each day. But Jesus warns us in order to protect us from such a response. Did you notice why He warns us about trouble?

Knowing that difficulties and inconveniences are normal and even necessary for our personal and spiritual growth can change how we respond to disappointment. If we forget this, we’ll whine and get frustrated or discouraged when things don’t go our way.

Experience Peace

Remember Jesus’ words, “In Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.” Trouble is a given; peace is an option we must choose—over and over again.

Prayer:

Dear Father, I’ve looked for peace in circumstances. I’ve believed that if [I were married or married to a different person, could find a job or had a different job, could see how this situation would turn out or know when it would end] then I could rest. Grant me the grace to let go of my worries and enjoy You today.

(Excerpted from Give Yourself a Break)

Click here to comment.

Blessings,

Debbie W. Wilson

 

Sometimes I link to the following great sites:

#life giving link up, #Mondays@Soul Survival, Titus Tuesday, Reflect link up, #TestimonyTuesday, #IntentialTuesday, #TuesTalk, #Tell it to me Tuesdays, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention,  #LivefreeThursday, #WordswithWinter, #Grace and Truth

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Ann

    “Trouble is a given; peace is an option we must choose—over and over again.” This was one of my favorite parts of your wonderful book and this statement was profound. And one I struggle with. A great reminder that we have to intentionally choose peace – it doesn’t just fall on us!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. It is one I need written across my forehead!

  2. Janice

    Yes! We can only experience true peace only when we turn and rely on God in our struggles big or small!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Janice.

  3. Melissa

    The lists are great reminders. I am amazed at the descriptions that apply to me. Wow! This shows me that I need to slow down and be in His presence more. Thank you for this post. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Melissa. I’m amazed at how I can jump around in a short span of time. I’m still learning how to practice His presence.

  4. Pam

    Hi Debbie!
    I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Your post today seems especially applicable with the twin tensions at this season where we are seeking to focus on the peace of the manager and yet face the turmoil of the now whether illness, financial challenges, loneliness, etc. I really liked the contrast of the two lists to make the contrast you wrote about more vivid.
    Blessings on your day!
    Pam

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Pam. We had a wonderful family time together. God bless you.

  5. Karen Del Tatto

    The Lord has been teaching me lessons about rest a lot this week through almost every blog post I read…

    I have been feeling like I am barely keeping my head above water lately with all my responsibilities and with that feeling comes resentment, but your insight helped to put a new perspective on my expectations for the day…

    “Knowing that difficulties and inconveniences are normal and even necessary for our personal and spiritual growth can change how we respond to disappointment. If we forget this, we’ll whine and get frustrated or discouraged when things don’t go our way.”

    I know the Bible speaks of our spiritual growth through the testing of our faith, but your words brought it home to me even more. Convicting and encouraging me.

    Thank you for such an edifying post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Karen, this was written to me. I’m the one who whines and gets frustrated when I forget. I’m glad it helped you too!

  6. Beth

    I’ve been studying through Philippians and just the other day came across Paul’s words to the Philippians in chapter 4 that it was “good” for them to share in his (Paul’s) troubles. This was because of the way God stretched their faith muscles during those times, just as you’ve so eloquently pointed out here, Debbie. I want to learn to focus on the good God is doing in my troubles and bad circumstances. It’s always present, even though it’s usually hard to see! Thanks for challenging us on this very important aspect of our faith-walk, my friend! Always a pleasure to visit!

  7. Debbie Wilson

    Thank you, Beth. I love hearing your thoughts. And I love Paul’s straight forward way of telling the truth! I too want to trust God in my troubles. I deeply admire those who do. Bless you, my friend.

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