Who among us can say we are living the life we expected? Seriously, at times I look in the mirror and think to myself “how did I get here?” Reality rarely matches expectations.
I’m not complaining about my life. I have a good life. It is neither worse nor better than I expected – just different. But, I suppose that isn’t a bad thing. I could be a ballerina/high school guidance counselor leading tours to Europe in the summer with occasional archeological digs all while hosting large family gatherings every Sunday after church.
I expected to be married and I am. I expected to have children and I did. However, it never crossed my mind that I would have to get on an airplane or drive ten to twelve hours to see those children.
We all face circumstances in our lives which we didn’t expect – things that were not part of “the plan.” Who plans for infertility, miscarriages, wayward children, debilitating health issues, ill spouses, job losses or any other myriad of life situations? Those are just the negatives. There are as many positive events which can send our lives in unexpected trajectories. For every person walking on this earth, there are most likely interruptions in their life they did not expect.
Examples can be found in scripture. Consider these.
Joseph never expected his own brothers would sell him into slavery.
Moses never expected to lead thousands of Israelites out of Egypt.
Job never expected to lose everything and then have God restore it all
David never expected to be more than a shepherd
Mary never expected to be the mother of the Messiah
Paul never expected to be the number one spokesman for the religious movement he viscously attempted to destroy
One of the teachings of Jesus is that we have to be willing to lose our life in order to gain life. (see Matthew 10:39 and 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24 and 17:33 and John 12:25)
It is a perplexing thought that goes against our human nature. Part of the teaching is being willing to serve others and by doing so, serving God. But, what if it also means letting go of your expectations and plans for your life?
So, yes, I never expected to live 500 miles away from two of the people I love the most. But, then again, I never expected to travel the Amazon or see the Nile. God surprises us like that.
A man’s heart plans his course,
but Yahweh directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (WEB)
What about you? Are you living an unexpected life? Are you willing to trade your expectations for God’s plan? I’m working on it daily.