Expectations. Expectancy. Expect.
I hear them. I use them. I understand them.
But do I? Do you?
The older I get, the more uncertain I am when it comes to the concept of expectations – of living life in expectancy.
The past two weeks have been full of new opportunities at work. At the end of this season I will dancing a new role in our 8 Encores performance, as well as going on a small tour with the company to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to perform Benjamin Millipied’s 3 Movements. And then if that weren’t enough, today I found out that I will also get to perform the part of Swanhilda’s friend in Balanchine’s Coppelia that I’ve been “learning.”
Needless to say, all of these opportunities have been very unexpected.
As I was cleaning out my purse in prep for my NYC weekend, I found a Thank You card from my Women’s Minister at the Body. On the envelope she wrote below my name:
This is not the first time (nor will it be the last time) I’ve heard this message spoken personally into my life. Over the years numerous people have encouraged me by saying that they can’t wait to see how God’s going to use me – that He has great things in store for my life. And I can’t say that I don’t believe them. I do. It’s just that my whole life I’ve believed a certain lie… A lie that’s probably not unfamiliar to you:
“Don’t get your hopes up, because the minute you do, you’re sure to be disappointed.”
Essentially the message (the lie) is to never expect anything because then you’ll never be disappointed – you’ll never get hurt. If something good happens, it’s a pleasant surprise… but never expect the good things.
Not only has this acted as a protection mechanism in my life, but, as I’m now realizing through my Interpersonal Communications course, a self-fulfilling prophesy as well.
If I expect nothing, I will get nothing. No pain, and no gain. In a sense life lives me.
Sure I’ve kept myself from getting “burned,” but in this self-protecting pride I’ve also shut out the blessings of the Lord. I’ve put Him in a box, keeping Him from being both my Protector and my Provider.
So I’ve been trying to live life in “full expectancy” as the card said. To dream. To hope. To expect. To pray like Psalm 5:3. To thankfully present my requests to the God who “is able to do immeasurably more than [I] can ask or imagine, according to His power within [me].”
And then things happen in my life that make me wonder… Like when I finally do allow myself to expect – regarding casting and ballet roles (roles that I should be dancing) – and those expectations are unmet despite all my prayers, struggles and strivings. But when I expect nothing – like this current situation of abundant performance opportunities – I seem to receive, and then some…
These experiences would appear to confirm the lie that I’ve believed for so long, not the concept of living in expectancy. But if I take a closer look at that verse I quoted above, therein I find the answer: “according to His power.”
It’s according to Him, not me. I live life in eager expectancy according to His will, His plan and His power, not my own. So, expectancy is rooted in the One in whom my hope is found, and not in the object or desire that’s “expected.” I hold tightly to expectancy and loosely to that which I expect.
This is the life lived in full expectancy. This is a life full of joy and hope. This is real LIFE.
Expectations… Are you living real life or is life living you?