I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere in the last six months my garbage disposal-ish child decided he no longer liked eating what I served. At first it was concerning, then annoying and eventually plain infuriating! Most meals were turning into some sort of negotiation and battle. I don’t enjoy cooking; I like it even less when it is wasted. Wasted food is a quick temper button (probably a whole post on it’s own, but I digress).
Finally, two weeks ago I had an epiphany. Evan also did that at three years old. He went from eating a lot of diverse foods to small portions of a select few. I got angry then too, then I just changed my approach – serving smaller portions of foods he mostly liked. There was still waste but significantly less. I was reminded of an article I read last year about marriage and expectations. I can’t remember any specifics, but I do remember a point was if a situation isn’t changing, then change your expectations.
That seems easy enough. When it comes to feeding a three year old it has helped tremendously. If I expect him to eat a little bit and leave some on his plate, then I won’t be irritated when he eats a little bit and leaves some on his plate. In fact, if I anticipate it then I also serve myself less and plan to finish his left overs. And if he surprises me by eating it all, it’s a win for everyone. I read John 6 yesterday, Jesus is all about the leftovers; providing beyond the need.
Like most parenting lessons this makes me think of God and how He sees and parents me.
Is He disappointed, frustrated, or annoyed? I am prone to think so, since I often project myself on Him. And then I remembered that expectation is believing something will happen in the future, but not being completely sure. There is an unknown associated with it. And so God must not have these expectations. He is beyond time and already knows. He is not disappointed because disappointment is an unmet expectation. Oh sweet relief to have a God that is infinite and not bound by time! I cannot really wrap my mind around the fact that He knows the end from before the beginning. To Him it is all the present because He is outside of time.
I need not put on the guilt and shame of disappointing God. If God’s not disappointed in me, where is this coming from? My own disappointment in myself. Did I think I was going to get this life perfect? No, that’s not the case. But maybe I expected myself to live up to the expectations I put on others because if I don’t, that makes me a hypocrite and I certainly don’t want be one.
God does calls us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16 ESV) and some passages even say to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48 ESV). How do I strive to live a holy life and not get caught up in my failure? As humans in a fallen world we will fail, miss the mark and sin. What are we to do then? Repent. Simply acknowledge our short comings and go again. How gracious of God, how kind of the Father! He offered his perfect Son to pay the price for our sins. And we get to live life, a holy one, wholly devoted to Him.
Where are you disappointed now? What expectations have not been met? What were you expecting and why were your expecting it? Our disappointments often show us expectations that we were not even cognizant of or the desires of our heart that we may not have ever acknowledged. They show us idols we had no intention of lifting up so high. They can even show us what we really think about God.
As we answer these questions we get to admit them – to ourselves and to God. We get to surrender these desires and ask God to change our expectations to the things He has in store for us. We get to look forward in anticipation to the good He will teach us and the maturity He will grow in us. In His word we are fed and filled. By His Holy Spirit we are transformed. I want lots of Jesus, the Bread of Life, and I don’t want to leave a crumb behind.