The past few weeks in review…What I’m learning about expectations

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

This post has been sitting in the “draft” section for several weeks. God is teaching me a lot about His plans vs. my plans, but it is hard to know how much of that to share in this space. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of walking in faith during uncertainty. There have been some unexpected things in our lives over the last year, none of which I welcomed. Lost friendships, medical “drama” (for lack of a better word), the death of my husband’s grandmother…and other stuff.The one thing I know to be true is that nothing takes Him by surprise, and in that I find rest and peace. 

My husband has been preaching through the Book of James and the last several weeks have challenged my perception about trials and expectations. I’ve read through the book of James multiple times, but this is the beauty of the living and active Holy Word of God. So as we start out this year I’m making plans, and holding them as loosely as I can with an “If the Lord wills,” kind of attitude. I’ve always said I believed it, but I’m not convinced my heart fully aligned with my words. By the grace of God I’m working on that.

This is all very good to talk about in an abstract way, but how in the world does this work practically? Here is my list. Everyone’s will and should look differently as you begin to pray and seek out what God has for you. I love reading how-to books and getting ideas for various things from Pinterest, but other than the Word of God itself, there isn’t another book on this planet that has the perfect answer for everyone. So take this list as something I created for me. I do hope this encourages you to evaluate your own life, but that is all I hope for.

1. Consistently spending time in God’s Word  ~ Currently I’m reading through the Bible chronologically. I’ve been at it for a while (over two years), but not as consistently as I would have liked. I read 1-3 chapters a day depending on how much time I have in the morning. I’m currently up to Solomon’s reign. 

2. Organized to-do lists ~ The bullet journaling craze is just too overwhelming for me, but I took a few tips from the few blogs I looked at and created an organized to-do list system. So for now it looks like a pretty little journal and I have a separate page and pen color for each list I need. This includes my jobs, church responsibilities, this blog, and home. I work better with organized lists and I have a lot! I also just used a blank journal and pens I already had so this was a free, but fun new tactic. So far I’m enjoying this. 

3. Saying Yes ~ This has been the hardest. My husband and I both have been trying to say, “yes” to as much as we can with the girls. This means we are spending more time together, playing more games, enjoying more smiles and giggles. There are times we can’t answer with yes, but we are aiming to make sure the no is out of necessity, not just because we don’t want to bother with whatever they are asking. 

4. Planning ahead ~ I’m a chronic procrastinator. My parents could tell you all about it and then my husband continue the story. I’ve tried to say I work well under pressure, but that isn’t really true. I’ve been told it is a classic perfectionist tactic. I seriously don’t see that as true for me either. My self-diagnosis is that I become so overwhelmed when I have a big project or long list that I procrastinate to avoid those feelings…which is ironic because if I would just do the thing, that wouldn’t be there. So I’m working ahead when I can and aiming to be the opposite of a procrastinator. Is there a word for that?

5. Putting my family first with the right attitude ~ Now this is a little tricky, because I don’t agree with the very popular mentality that time for yourself is something you deserve. My first ministry is to my family – my husband and my daughters. Not me. I need to take care of myself which I do think includes doing what you need to do for both physical and mental health. At the moment, because of the health issues going on with me personally, I’m taking a nap in the afternoons.This is a need and I’ making sure I fulfill that need. I don’t deserve pleasure time. I’m grateful if I get it, and yes, I get time for myself! I read for pleasure, scrapbook, and walk with my neighbo, among other things. The difference is I am looking at this time as a blessing, not allowing myself to believe it is something I deserve. 

6. Extending more grace ~ Irony, right? The name of this blog was created because I know we need grace! It is so much easier to say than to do. So I pray in the morning that the Holy Spirit would help me extend more grace to my family, to those I encounter in my day, and to myself. It’s so easy to get irritated at the small things…there are a lot of small things that go wrong in a day! 

There are probably more things and this isn’t going to turn into a series or a book, don’t worry! I just want to encourage you to be willing to evaluate and make changes in your own life if you need to for either yourself or your family.

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