“Bitter, Table For 1?!” How My Expectations Keep Sabotaging My Life!
“Expectations Are Premeditated Resentments”
I don’t quite know where to begin this post. Can I be honest? I have had 2 weeks from hell. This post will probably not be eloquent nor pretty. My heart is just not in an eloquent or pretty place. But since we are all friends I can be honest, right?
I have been thinking a lot about this quote—“expectations are premeditated resentments”…ponder that for a moment. I believe a couple of big saboteurs in life are expectations and resentments that come from unmet expectations.
A friend once told me “contentment is wanting what you have.”—Ouch. I guess I am not content. The Apostle Paul wrote the famous line, “I have learned to be content in any and all circumstances” from prison. Not a modern day prison with TV, food, running water and toilets. But a prison with no food other than what your friends brought you and I won’t go into detail about his toilet. Your imagination is better than any illustration I could come up with.
I have been painfully realizing I am only content as long as I have what I ‘need’ or ‘want’. Ouch!
I have realized that this is not what I signed up for. I signed up for the “pottery barn” life. But my life feels more like the end of the day after a garage sale when everyone has picked through and taken all the good stuff and I am left with the junk. Expectations. I expect one thing and get another. Unfortunately, this side of heaven, that is reality in this broken world we live in.
We are walking through a very ‘dark’ time. I have really wrestled to find hope in what feels like a hopeless situation in my heart. My husband, who has a light-hearted temperament knows our family will be “just fine”. Oh how his “the sun will come out tomorrow” temperament annoys me! But our situation is not easy. It’s not fun. And I don’t know how it will all end up. I control nothing of the outcome and I was reminded yesterday by a ‘good’ friend that, “you only control how you respond to the outcome”. Well she WAS a ‘good’ friend, until she wounded me with that painful (but TRUE) comment. Which just points out another ugly truth. Apparently, I have expectations of my friends too—“be on my side always, and only speak truth if I will like it”. Very mature right?
Well the truth is I do want friends who will speak truth to me! I want friends who see the hope in a situation and point it out to me when it is hidden from my view—not ones who just commiserate in my despair with me. So I guess she is a ‘good’ friend after all…
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6
I have had a few people walking this road with me and I realize now how fortunate I am to have a community of people who walk with me through dark hours. I wasn’t always so fortunate. To be honest, only in the last few years have I been vulnerable enough in my relationships to invite people in to my dark hours. For years, my dark hours were spent by myself.
And let me tell you—darkness is a lot darker when you are alone.
I feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under me and my little life. Today I began to lift my head off the ground and I grabbed my laptop to write this post—fair warning to all. I was seeing stars for days and they were not the pretty ones you see up in the mountains where there are no street lights. They were stars of anger, resentment and bitterness. We are being honest right? I won’t go in to all the details, because it’s just like any other ‘injustice’ of this world. Someone hurt someone, because the first someone was hurt by someone else first. Are you confused too? It’s the ugly dance of this broken world. Hurt people, hurt people.
Any time we expect something from someone or some situation we are most likely setting ourselves up for resentment. And I don’t know about you, but resentment is not something I can afford to let take root in my life or heart. I believe resentment is the root of all evil. I know Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:10 “the love of money is the root of all evil.” But I think he should have also included resentment in that line as well. I will run it by him when I see him in Heaven.
Resentment is like a bitter stew inside of me made up of all the injustice I feel. The only problem is it’s only served up at a table for one. “Bitter, table for one!” No thanks, I would rather fast than eat that meal by myself because that is a bitter and lonely place to “enjoy” my stew of resentment. Bitterness and resentment only hurt me, not the people, place or things that have let me down. The reality is we all have things to be resentful about. I have had my lifetime’s allotment of injustices to deal with. And I know I have handed out more than a few injustices to others as well. I am not as innocent as my self pity would want me to think and I know I have blood on my hands too. None of us have lived the perfect, righteous lives we portray in our Facebook posts (that’s another post for another day). I am a sinner saved by Grace. That is not just a cliche. Seriously, you should read my sin resume if you don’t believe me. Jesus died for all, and I am on His list. Praise God I am on His list! Hurt people, hurt people. I have hurt people, and people have hurt me. And Jesus saves hurt people.
The truth is resentment kills hope and joy and just about anything else good in our lives. I have seen resentment sabotage friendships, marriages, parenting, health, the list goes on and on. And maybe you have a list of legitimate resentments—health issues, marriage issues, divorce issues, children issues, parent issues, money issues, etc. But we can’t allow our resentments to define us or drive our behavior.
It is so painful to realize that people, places and things will let us down, but it is good to remember He won’t. I am tired of being resentful of unmet expectations. When the truth is the only place I should have ‘expectancy’ is with the Lord.
Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my request before you and wait expectantly.”
Isaiah 45:3 “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness--secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”
The fact that he meets us in the darkness and that He meets us in the hard places may be the only consolation in a painful trial for now. Remember that He calls me by name and He calls YOU by name too. Others may not have your best interest in mind, but He does. Others may not understand the depth of pain they cause you, but He does. And that has to account for something. Actually it should account for everything.
Hebrews 10:23 says “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
He is faithful. It doesn’t matter what we walk through. He is with us. He is for us. He will make a way when it seems like there is no way. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” Hebrews 13:5
And since I am being honest, the most ironic part about all of this is that every time I shop at pottery barn I feel guilty. And believe or not, I have found some of my best treasures at garage sales! So as we rummage through this life, lets hold on together to the HOPE we have in Him and cherish the treasures we find along the way.
He is with you and for you even if others aren’t… Hang in there, we have hope even when we can’t see it or feel it. Everything is going to be ok.
Daily Grace to you.
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