Focus: Unfulfilled expectations
1 Peter 5:5b-6 (NKJV) …God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Shattered dreams are a good enough reason to be bitter. All of us have had some dreams that either didn’t come to pass—or didn’t turn out the way we had hoped they would. What’s worse? The knowledge that something you wanted never happened—or the experience of having something you wanted, but then it was ripped away from you? Let’s face it, both experiences are heartbreaking. They’re both examples of unfulfilled expectations.
As with so many other things, memories of unfulfilled expectations can follow you around like a shadow. Practically anything reminds you of that thing you so desperately hoped for. Your mind doesn’t seem to be able to accept the fact that the possibility for resolve is gone and that there is no going back.
It’s hard to get relief from your suffering when you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by God. You look around yourself and wonder why He hasn’t done what you wanted Him to do. You’re puzzled that He would even allow some of the things you’ve had to walk through.
The pain and puzzlement you feel in regard to your unfulfilled expectations are natural human responses. Resentment and bitterness are common reactions to disappointment. The challenge—is to learn to identify our human responses and consider what the godly response would be. In other words, “What would Jesus do?”
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1 Peter 5:5 says that God resists the proud. Bitterness is a form of pride. Recognizing that God may be resisting you might tempt you to become even more bitter, but the point is—bitterness and pride are roadblocks to healing. So, if you are humble enough to believe that you need God’s help, you are going to have to humble yourself a little bit more and be willing to admit you may have a problem with pride.
Maybe you would differ at this line of thinking and claim that you pray all the time for Him to help you get over this situation. You may not see the fact that your feelings are still hurt—as pride. You might say, ‘Well, how could they not be hurt?’ But choosing to be ‘hurt’, is pride.
Consider this concept. What if you didn’t allow your feelings to be hurt? What if you didn’t allow those unfulfilled expectations to affect your peace and joy? Granted, it might be a very hard thing for you to accomplish, but what if you chose to roll those hurt feelings over onto Jesus. He said, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)
Rest sounds good, doesn’t it? You can want rest from bitterness and resentment, but you have to be willing to cast your cares upon the Lord in order to get it. If you don’t cast your cares on Him, that shadow will just keep following you around and it will keep stealing your healing.
God cares for you. He really does. He wants you to be free. He actually wants to exalt you…and He will, if you will humble yourself under His mighty hand and lay down your pride. Lay down your disappointment. Lay down your unfulfilled expectations. Just lay it all down.
You’ve laid it down before, but you keep picking it back up. You need to lay it down and leave it there…once and for all.
There are many things God is waiting to do for you. He has dreams, too. He dreams of you being happy and whole. He dreams of you being able to dance in the light of His presence—where there are no shadows—just beautiful, pure white light that’s full of healing and joy.
Put your hands out in front of you. Make them into a cup. Picture that unfulfilled expectation as a ‘sacrifice’ that’s in your hands. As you’re holding that sacrifice of unfulfilled expectation out in front of you, see yourself giving that burden to Jesus. Just reach out and give it to Him. He wants to take it, but you have to be willing to hand it over to Him. Just let Him take it—and then don’t take it back, ever again.
Declaration: I will find new strength by recognizing bitterness as pride. I am willing to humble myself under the mighty hand of God. By an act of my own will, I am handing over the burden of my unfulfilled expectation to Jesus. I know I need the peace and joy my life has lacked. I confess that the disappointments I have suffered have been the result of wanting ‘my will’, instead of ‘God’s will’. Even though I don’t understand His will, I choose to accept it.
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