Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Everyone's got expectations.  And most people in your life have expectations of you.  They think they know what you can do, will do, or ought to do.  On the flip side, they think they know what you can't do, won't do, or shouldn't do.  

And it's easy to fall victim to expectations.  It's easy to either live up or live down to what you think the world is looking for in you .  Then one day you wake up and realize that you've been everything they thought you would be, and nothing you were actually created to be. 

That's a problem.

It's a bigger problem when you realize how powerful those expectations have been.  Suddenly, you realize that you only expect of you what anyone else ever expected of you.  You start yearning for people to expect more of you so that you can expect more of yourself.  You long for some to expect less of you so you can relax a little.  Somewhere in the pull, you're lost.

I've got those people in my life.  All around me.  And after many years, in the mirror.  I'm at a point in my life where I wish people had more realistic expectations of me, good or bad, high or low, so that maybe I could be freed up to just be as I ought to be and let that be not only enough but perfectly enough.  

Then I consider that's not what I'd want at all.  Because if everyone expected perfectly of me all that I wanted or had to give, then I would still just be meeting expectations.  When you meet expectations, you tend to blend in.  That is not the life God has called me to.

It's not what God expects of me.


Think about Jesus for a minute.  If anyone knew expectation, it was Him.  A nation in search of a Messiah had high expectations for what their coming King would be.  He would be a revolutionary, a political leader, a master controller, a rich man, a popular man, an elite man.  Every time they looked at Jesus, every time they talked about the Lord, they were kind of begging Him to be more.  They expected Him to be more.  Is this the Messiah?  He's not doing a very good job...

There were also those who expected much less of Him.  They were hoping for a Messiah, but they found a Nazarite.  A man from Nazareth, a worthless man from a worthless place.  Can anything good come from there?  They expected little from such a little-worthy man.

Somewhere in the middle lived Jesus.  Between high hopes and skeptical disappointments was a man who was everything God created Him to be - loving, wise, tender, sacrificial, obedient, devout, strong, merciful, missional, Messiah.  He wasn't anything that anyone expected of Him, but He was.  He was as He was created to be.  He was fully as God intended in Him.

Don't we love Him for it?  Can you think of a better Messiah?  Could anyone have done it better?

That's what I'm shooting for.  Somewhere in the middle of expectation lives Aidan, hoping to be everything that God has created me to be.  Not anything that anyone might expect of me, but simply who I am.  As He created in me.  As He intended in me.  

Then I think I get to shake the world.  I don't know how.  I don't know why.  I'm not sure how it all plays out, but that's the joy.  It's all unexpected.  That's what I love.  It just is what it is.

I love people who expect more of me; they invite me to expect more of myself.  I love people who expect less of me (sometimes); they invite me to relax a little and not push myself so hard.  I love them both, because neither group is right and that means I get to surprise them.  And I love a little mystery.

It's easy to listen to the voices and think we can figure out what to expect from ourselves.  It's easy to live up or live down to what everyone seems to be looking for.  But that's no life.  That's no fullness.  We need to be people who live somewhere in the middle, somewhere between too-high hopes and skeptical disappointments.  That tender spot that is created.  It's an utter surprise.  And it's wisdom.

And maybe one day, someone will look back at my life, at your life, and conclude, don't we love her for it?  Can you think of a better Aidan?  Could anyone have done it better?

Then you know you've done it.  

Expect yourself of yourself, and just be that.  You are what you are, and that is perfectly good.

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