Have you heard of that word “Expectancy?” You may have heard the pastor or your parents talking about being “expectant” and having focused on it this last year, I realized that it is a really cool thing – what it means is looking for God in everything you do. Looking for the ways He reminds you He is with you; looking for the little “coincidences” that are really just His plans and timing. I found being expectant was really just an attitude, choosing to see the good in what was going around me and attributing it to God’s love for me….it really changed my feelings about the year and I think was evident in my actions and work ethic.
Expectancy is different than entitlement and the best way I can sum them up is:
Entitlement: This is what I should have
Expectancy: I wonder what God has for me?
Even though it’s a year away, let’s look at Christmas morning. Did you ever have one specific gift you wanted for Christmas? You were well-behaved, listened to your parents, told them what you wanted….why wouldn’t you get it? You were so excited about what you would do when you got it, what your friends would think, how cool you would feel. But then Christmas morning came and…it wasn’t there. You got lots of other great stuff, but not the one thing you wanted. Maybe if you were a little kid, you cried. If you were older, you just got in a bad mood. This is entitlement.
Now the opposite: you don’t really have one thing you want for Christmas this year. I have definitely been like this – there are lots of little things, but for whatever reason I am not that picky that year. You are excited just because you see the gifts under the tree, and maybe even moreso because they are total surprises! On Christmas morning, you get a few things on your list but then a bunch of stuff that the people who love you picked for you that you didn’t even think of. This fills you with love and joy and gratitude. That is expectancy.
When you get a gift you feel special. You feel loved. And God loves you so much. He has perfect things picked out for you and you may have no clue that they are even options. Unlike Christmas, you can get these little gifts in every day moments, all through the year. But you have to look for them. Praying that you notice what God has for you is very important but even in doing so, you won’t help but to see the world through new eyes as soon as you say “amen.”
Here’s a personal story about expectancy on a weekly basis in my life. I have grown up going to church and –CONFESSION!- a lot of times I can feel a little bored in a sermon I have heard a bunch of times before. Being aware of this, I try to remember to pray before church that God will have something new for me in the pastor’s message. And you know what? Every time I pray that, I do get something new out of it. Every. Time. God is revealing this to me because I am asking for it. Because I prayed this, I am also paying attention more, making sure I don’t miss whatever that is. I walk in the doors expectant and I ALWAYS find what I am looking for…even if I don’t know what that is at the time.
Did you see God in anything today? Maybe a compliment from someone? Any good news? Any kindness from someone – or to someone that made you feel good? If you didn’t today – that is okay. Start right now with a prayer that God will open your eyes to what He has for you. For the rest of the week, try to find five things every day that make you feel good and write them down. If there are more than that, awesome but find at least five. They are there, but you may have to look a little harder or change your thinking. At the end of the week, reflect on all the good things that happen and thank God for those gifts.
Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 62:5, Psalm 119:116