Expectation is… challenging. It exists within us and oftentimes it exists without our awareness. There are two types of expectation: that of faith and that of lack of health. In our Christian walks, we’re encouraged to wait with anticipation, to have faith, to trust, and to hope that there is more. In its third verse, Psalm 5 reads, “in the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (NIV). Scripture reveals that waiting expectantly is a good thing. We don’t put our omnipotent, supernatural God into a box conceived by our human, natural boxes of limitation. This is having expectation of faith and as Christians, we should have it. In contrast to this however, exists an expectation that emerges from a lack of health and actually has more to do with our own human error, brokenness, and is an indication of a lack of health in one’s interactions. This expectation resembles and can be excused for other things like desire, ambition, and confidence. It merits caution and self-criticism because without them, it can lead to unhealthier ways of thinking such as having something to prove. 

Expectation and having something to prove are closely linked in that they are fuelled by our [sometimes unhealthy] desires or desires [we have for the wrong reasons] and demand a certain reaction from those we are surrounded by. It causes the reaction of others’ to determine where we go, why, and at what rate while simultaneously dimming many other, more important things. To address the elephant in the room, in today’s North American culture, we see many people trying to prove themselves in the updates we post, using the photos we upload, on the stages that we get to stand on, and the thoughts we share. We see lots of these things, which can be good and in themselves, acts of service or demonstrations of people walking out their calling, but it’s what follows and exists implicitly within ourselves that calls for a healthy dose of self-criticism. When we have a certain reaction or outcome in mind that we want fulfilled and is dependent on the people around us, we establish an agenda in which our dreams and our esteem, our trust in Him Who is greater than ourselves, becomes limited. We begin to focus more on people’s approval than on God’s or our own. 

Here, I want to encourage you to pause. To breathe. To ask yourself, ‘do you have an agenda?’ If you aren’t sure, ask God if you have one and to convict you of it if so. Are you doing what you’re doing because you want others to think a certain way about you? Are you trying to show that you are able in order to subsequently gain something? These are big questions, and their answers can expose a lot of ourselves to ourselves, although the intention they come from is not to identify shame, rather to identify factors that implement growth. So, what if…

What if we didn’t bring an agenda? We can have skills and not use them to exceed or gain recognition from. What if we maintained the skills and gifts we have without compulsively putting them on display? What if we had the humility and the security to not need any of the things that lead others to think we’re “the best” or “famous?” We have God, God’s validation, God’s approval, God’s love — He who embodies Love — on our side, so do we really need so much of society’s validation? What if our meaning, our self-worth, our assurance lay entirely in Jesus and Jesus alone, and not in the things, the recognition, the attention, nor the status we attain from others? What if we just came without an agenda. What if we came as ourselves, bringing something we’re really great at, doing that thing, and then, leaving, carrying on with our lives? No agenda, no need, no expectation, no desired reaction or course of events. What if…