– Dale Weir 3-3-2020
I remember sitting in a class a few years ago, discussing expectations. The Instructor started out by telling us a story about a couple, where the wife normally did all the housework, cooking, etc, but one day, when the husband wanted to have his male friends over to watch a sports game, he straightened things up, picked up the food he wanted to serve at the grocery store and took care of things. Then for the rest of that sports season, he had his friends over once a week to watch the game and continued straightening up before hand and picking up the food. Then the season ended. All of sudden, his wife was upset with him and he couldn’t understand why.
He had built an expectation in her mind that once a week, he was going to straighten things up and pick up dinner. In her mind, the expectation had nothing to do with the sports schedule, but rather with the repetitive nature of once a week, he was now handling things one evening a week and she didn’t need to.
How many of us, have set expectations of what our spouse, coworkers, or others are going to do on a set time and day? From getting up in the morning and getting ready for work to the routines we follow at bedtime, to who always seems to start the coffee at the office, we live our lives based on our expectations of what others around us will do.
I feed the birds. The birds expect me to keep the bird feeders full. When I don’t, they perch outside my window and give me the evil eye and if I don’t rectify the situation to their satisfaction, they desert me for awhile until I have made proper amends.
What are the expectations that we make about GOD? About how GOD will respond to our actions? About how WE will respond to GOD’s expected response?
Are we realistic? Or are we putting “human” characteristics and expectations on GOD that don’t meet reality?
There are people who grew up with the image in their mind and the expectation that GOD was a Fiercesome warrior who would not tolerate any bad behavior on their part. Some felt that GOD was telling them that THEY were created in HIS image and were to be Supreme Beings as a result, ruling over lesser beings belonging to different races and ethnicities and lowly women. Others see GOD as a parental figure – who loves them unconditionally, so they don’t have to follow the rules, since GOD will forgive them their transgressions.
Just as all of us are different, so is the list of expectations that we have of GOD. Often the expectation, is based on how the adults around us presented GOD to us, when we were a child, but even more importantly is how they showed us GOD, but how they lived their lives. Parents who nurtured and cared for others, accepting our diverse friends and welcoming them into our homes, set a totally different expectation then parents who insisted that we “not associate with so and so” and who wouldn’t allow us to participate in activities that weren’t up to “THEIR” standards.
A few years ago, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a study done of children who had grown up in orphanages in the “Eastern Bloc” where adult interaction was minimal. The children’s diapers were changed when they HAD to be, they were fed only until they could hold their bottles and feed themselves. The children grew up not being able to relate to other human beings. They didn’t understand what a smile meant or a hug, more importantly, they didn’t understand the concepts of empathy and sympathy, friendship and love, because they never had the expectation of those emotions from the adults responsible for them.
So as you think of the expectations that you have of GOD, think of how you can best model those expectations for other generations around you.