Shifting Expectations

There’s a saying that you can’t get different results by doing the same things. In fact, it is commonly held that expecting different results by doing the same things is the definition of insanity. Picture a person totally frustrated and exhausted from continuous, unchanging effort; yet, they will not alter course one bit. They keep at it, same pounding effort without the benefit of any sign of progress. When you get a good picture of this in your mind, you begin to appreciate things like spiritual wisdom, discernment, and sound judgment; because these extend the ability to know when it’s time to change course.

Anything that doesn’t grow begins to die. We see this all throughout nature, but make no mistake, our Heavenly Father is all about bringing life. In John 10:10, Jesus Christ tells us why he came. He said the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but he came to give us life; and not just life, but a more than abundant life. This is good news indeed, but many of us are so busy doing the same things that we can’t see the forest for the trees. We’re like the totally frustrated person that’s grinding it out every day without progress, because this person doesn’t recognize they’re not making any.

If the definition of insanity is expending our resources needlessly, doing the same things but expecting different results, then we must know that the ability to shift our expectations can potentially lead us in a sane or different direction. Using this logic, a person can do the same things and still be considered sane IF they don’t have any expectations for alternative results. But here’s the thing, most of us are not built to enjoy that kind of existence. We were created to grow, flourish, and blossom! God cemented this for us when He sent His Son to offer us a more than abundant life. Most of us would have been perfectly fine with just an abundant life, but Jesus went over and above this to thrust us into overdrive and blow the lid off anything we could ever ask or think. He came to give us access to a MORE than abundant life—a life that can exceed our greatest and grandest expectations! In other words, wherever we are in life, God wants us to know resolutely that through Christ we can go further.

Most of us are not insane, but we are caught in a vicious cycle of doing the same things. Some of us are even fearful of the possibility of change. One of the reasons we’re frustrated and unhappy is because we should have shifted our expectations long ago and we didn’t. The faith walk requires humility, and humility requires that we recognize we don’t have the master plan; God does. He knows best! He wants the best for us, and He’s included the best in the plan He’s designed for our individual lives. Unhappiness and dissatisfaction are very often indications that we’ve not taken a pause to consider that our way isn’t working.

All of God’s Word is extraordinary, but Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) is a particular jewel to me because it makes God’s heart and vision for us so crystal clear. He said, “For I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Progress is important for all of us, but we don’t always know how to define it. God has given us life to blossom into the person He desires us to become through Christ. His plan is to give us a good future and hope. Sometimes, we don’t see the light of His plan because we’re too focused on doing the things we’ve always done. No matter how much we try to deny it, we don’t know everything, and therefore, can’t see the things that God makes so plain when we follow His directions.

Very often, it’s just a slight movement in the direction we’ve taken that will make a huge impact in our lives. Make every day a stellar one. Let God direct your path. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust in Him with all our hearts and to stop leaning on our own understanding. He said that if you seek His Will in all you do, He’ll steer your life in a wonderful direction. Consider that you might be headed down a path that leads to more frustration and disappointment, but if you’ll shift your expectations about what is possible through Christ, and ask Heavenly Father to redirect your steps, He’ll lead you on a path that will exceed your expectations. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Shifting Expectations”, written for Copyright ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! our Lord!

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