I remember back when The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came out on film.
I had pored over the behind-the-scenes books, watched every trailer with cultish obsession, and re-read the C.S. Lewis book; all in frantic anticipation of the theater release.
And then the day came. (I think even my wedding day will lack the fanfare I whooped up for this thing) I watched each new scene in shaky agitation, wondering when my cosmic expectations would be gloriously satisfied. I awaited an ecstasy of the senses, an exhilaration beyond the lot of mortals. And waited. As the credits rolled my fervor morphed into denial; I cheered, gushed, and enthused to distract myself from a confusing letdown. Surprise, surprise I despise even the memory of the film. It occurred to me, "Well, what else was I expecting? If the film had made me happy in every way, how much different from the actual film could it have been?!!" I'm pretty sure it's humanly impossible to make a film to achieve what I was expecting.
Ah, to be terribly twelve.
My world centered around hoping that boy would be at the barn-dance, hoping I was the toughest girl at Ultimate Frisbee, hoping I wore the right brands to be cool, and hoping Aslan wouldn't look CG, yup.
So I spent a lot of energy being miserable.
Quit expecting so much in life.
Just. Quit.Quit demanding so much of yourself and the people around you to make you happy.
Quit desiring fulfillment and actualization.
I know. It's been said before.
Books line our shelves about how to process disappointment and how to forgive God when He mortifies us. We suck it up, steel our shoulders and grimly face the cruel world; martyrs that we are. The movies will always be lame and the food will likely be as stale as the people.
But before you throw me out with the bath water, hear me out.
The secret to living well isn't in resignation, but in expecting nothing from what will ultimately ONLY FAIL TO DELIVER.
Chyeah, I kinda obsess over relationships and social gatherings, anticipating this grand transcendent fellowship. I'm definitely not above fueling my identity on any approval I can siphon from my fellow humans! Or am I the only one who flutters in excitement over the notification blurbs on the Facebook bar? See, I erect these idols of Acceptance and Affirmation and expect so so much from them to define me.
My happy brainwave tonight has been to Just. Quit. Quit expecting this momentary world, however dazzling, to define my eternal soul. Quit demanding happiness of myself and others. Quit looking for inner peace from temporal things.
I've accidentally found it's the relationships from which I expect the least that are consistently the most enriching.
It's the nutritious food I'm not craving that satisfies me best and keeps me from overeating.
It's the books I was sure would be boring that blow my mind, the exercise I thought I was too tired to do that gave me the energy I needed...It's the detours, the distractions, the diversions that fill my life with constant pleasure.
But beyond that, I must moment by moment recalibrate my deepest, thrumming desires, my inner longings, my highest aspirations to be anchored in an eternal, unchanging Order that is imperishable, unshakeable!
JESUS is my definition, my exhilaration, my actualization, my resolution! No anticipation in Him will go unmet; no hunger or longing for intimacy, acceptance, or delight will be insatiable in communion with Him. I can never demand too much, yearn too deeply, long too earnestly, or desire too fervently an expectation of Him that He cannot and will not satisfy. If anything, I demand too feebly of Him!!
I don't know about you, but I really want to be captivating. I just want to be cherished, desired, pursued. I want to be flawless, talented, accomplished. And when I look around all I see are people better, stronger, smarter, faster, funnier than me. But in CHRIST I'm famous! In CHRIST I'm intimately known and cherished! HE delights in lousy little me, not because of ANY minutia of merit of mine but out of HIS unlimited grace and glory.
James 4:14 "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."
2 Cor. 1:20 "For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him."
Expect nothing of anything, anyone but Jesus. You may just find yourself terribly pleased.