Great Expectations… Why Can’t Anything Go My Way?

We all have expectations and when those expectations don’t go the way we plan, we become discouraged, angry, hopeless and disheartened. We feel like we’ve lost all control. We act out by yelling, sometimes name calling. Or we withdraw, becoming depressed and anxious. There lies the foundation of insecurity. Insecurity is the most unstable place from which to function. It’s in this place that we erect the most impressive of structures…on a sandy beach. We make up for a shaky foundation with our accomplishments or perceived successes. We convince ourselves that we are solid because we have strong marriages, rewarding jobs, polite children or even healthy bodies. Life is good, all is well, I am fine. But then the waves of life come crashing into the walls of this beautiful structure we’ve erected on our sandy beach and we realize that at the end of the day, everything we thought we valued as important meant nothing if our lives are washed away.

The very things the world deems as important is a lie. We have been lied to for most of our lives. Or maybe we were passed on false information unknowingly from well intentioned people. But as the world quickly continues to degrade into an upheaval of violence, confusion and tyranny, America is left with her head in her hands wondering…. who the hell am I? What do I believe in? What CAN I believe anymore? As soon as I turn on the radio or TV, I already expect I’m going to be lied to by some overpaid, over made-up person on the payroll of an extremely wealthy station owner with an agenda. Our leaders lie to us. Our government lies to us…. FBI, CIA, FDA, EPA, IRS, Dept of Treasury, and on and on and on. Even our hashtag movements lie to us spreading more hate, division and propaganda. Hilary Clinton lies to us. Her husband lied to us. Trump lies to us. Even Bernie Sanders, the one guy in Washington I thought to be honest, friggin lied to us! So naturally, I’m cynical. I am pretty sure the powers that be are playing this world with their agendas, pulling the strings of their puppets until the show comes to the end of their choosing. But I digress… The point is, we are surrounded by lies wrapped in partial truths. We place importance and value on what “feels” good to us. Yet the most essential parts of our humanity are numbed to a rough callous, deeply buried under the pain of life. We feel the wrong things for the wrong reasons. We swallow candy coated Arsenic in just enough doses to not realize how slowly we’re dying inside. Metaphorically speaking of course. Although, going back to the FDA… I could seriously rant like hell. We are filling our minds, bodies and souls with junk. Literal junk. And we wonder why our country, no sorry, our planet, is dysfunctional. We need to physically pull, like with two hands, our heads out of…the sand to see things for what they are, not what we imagine them to be.

We may have our expectations right there just waiting to be realized by Life. But then Life walks by, and without a second glance, spits at our feet. What then? No seriously…. what then?

Hello theoretical mind who loves to conjure up crazy ideas… meet Reality. She’s a… not nice lady, but if you embrace her, you WILL find truth. And we all know what the truth does. *it sets you free…. in case you forgot*

I’m coming to the conclusion that here’s a minutely small portion of reality that we actually experience because we hold on too tightly to our emotional attachments and preconceived notions. We attach our feelings and ourselves to everything. The wrong thing… we have no idea that the mind is separate from the body. And subjective reality is like the thin sheet of ice on the surface of a pond. Or lake. Your choice. But underneath that ice, there is the TRUE reality, the way that things really ARE without our emotional attachments and preconceived notions. As we trust the unreliable foundation that we expect to hold our weight,  the cracks of a unrealistic framework under stress can send us crashing down and we have no idea if we will sink or swim…. trapped underneath the weight of the ice, able to see life, but unable to attain it. Trembling for a second chance. Hoping to change the foundations we entrusted our lives to. We believe that what we know is true. But how do you ever know unless that truth is tested? Sometimes it takes us skating on the surface of that ice to find the weak spots, the cracks in our thinking and what we believe. We realize that some of the ideas we believed to be true, weren’t. And the things we thought were ridiculous, were true. It’s only when we fall through that we realize this: I need to either look up to find truth or drown in the lies I’ve chosen to believe.

It’s an unfortunate part of humanity that it takes disappointment or loss for us to become grounded. It’s in those moments we let go of our expectations, we let go of our ideals for those brief moments and allow the reality of life to sink in. And in a lot of circumstances it seems that’s where God meets us and becomes even a safety net.

That’s what humility is. A break down of our grandiose ideas to seeing things for what they are, seeing ourselves for WHO WE ARE. But even when we are stripped bare of every label we have placed on ourselves , our situations, on others… it’s in that moment where we are able to stare at honesty in the face and begin to see things a little clearer than before. The murky waters become clean. The tangled mess of confusion get sorted out. Only when we face life with honesty, can we see the depth and complexity of ourselves and our circumstances. It is in these deep dark places that healing can ever occur. When we see life through our false lense, tread upon this surface understanding of the way things are, this light-heartedness that never truly appreciates the gravity of how complex life is… we unconsciously know we’re not ready for change. It’s tragic how sometimes it takes the loss of a life, relationship, friendship, job, or health before we ever even ask the hard questions. We walk through life as if everything is fine, as long as things are going our way. But the moment our expectations are shattered, we question everything and anything. Yet, that’s the most precious place to be in! Because unfortunately, we don’t like change unless we’re in pain. We like to make pain go away. And so in those deepest darkest moments…those are the places where we like to problem solve. Those are the places where God is found, where hope can be seen and where change can be a beautiful thing. That’s what we want. Some of us see these circumstances as the end of our existence. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the pain that we don’t look for a way out of it. That’s what despair is. That’s where hopelessness lives. That’s where the darkness of this world will haunt your mind and spirit so deeply that it can turn us to the darkest of places. There is absolutely a battle of the mind going on in this world. It really is up to us how hard we want to fight. When our reality doesn’t meet up with our expectations what are we going to choose to do? How are we going to choose to see the situation? Where do we go for a source of comfort? Do we reach to people to heal us? Do we look for some shallow sense of fulfillment? Do we attempt to cover up the missing pieces of our lives with a tarp or do we choose to fill in the holes?
At a well in Samaria, Jesus met a woman. She had already suffered the loss of five marriages. Jesus explained to her that what she was seeking was living water. The waters in our Earthly Wells will only cure thirst for the moment. God offers us relationship. And through that relationship the holes in our hearts and in our lives are filled for good. People only have so much energy to give to each other. But God has infinite energy and pours it out to us beyond measure. He is life and so has life to give. So when we are in our darkest moments and we reach up to God, he helps us to see things the way that they are. He walks with us. He Comforts us. He begins to redefine our lives… not the way that we see it, but in the way that he created us to live. With order in a natural, instinctive rhythm. And in that humility, we allow him to shape us and mold us in a realistic way. The ideals are broken down to the most basic components of what we are. We are not just bodies that have a spirit, we are spirits that have a body. We are so much more than what this world will have you believe! I could go on,  but I’ll leave this topic of value for another post…

There is a part within us that craves and longs for God’s relationship. There’s a truth bomb for you. We just don’t realize it. We already know him, we just don’t know that we know him. Whenever you feel your conscience tugging at your heart, that’s God speaking to you. When you feel the pangs of guilt for some wrong you have done, that’s God speaking to you. When your heart cries out from Injustice, that’s God speaking to you. God does not care about your religion. He does not care about labels. He cares about people. And when he created people he designed their hearts to long for goodness. To hate what is evil. But when we don’t see reality for what it is we often confuse the two. At times we allow language, words and labels to confuse our natural instincts. We push away our conscience and rationalize our bad behavior. The very things that we know we should not do, we do and the things we want to do, we can’t. Such as loving our neighbors, keeping our minds pure from lust or even protecting our thoughts from thinking negatively about people. That’s why the Bible helps us to see what is good. Jesus takes what we deem as good behavior up a notch. He says that even though we know adultery is sin, so is thinking about anyone other than a spouse in a sexual way. We know that murder is wrong, but He says that saying a bad word about another person is killing them already. He raises the standard of “goodness” to a whole other level that, quite honestly, doesn’t seem realistic. But he cares more about our hearts than our behavior.  And that continues to reinforce to me that we, as a society, have no idea what’s good and bad. We have no idea what reality is because we are too skewed by our own agendas. Reality to us is making the world match my theories, and when the two don’t line up, we blame the world. Reality is what it is. No matter what crazy ideas and theories we concoct. Our thoughts need to start lining up with what actually exists. It’s great to be idealistic, as long as our goals are grounded in reality. I don’t have to believe in gravity to know it exists, I feel the affects of it every day, whether I like it or not. I can deny it while jumping off a building, I can believe with all my heart that I will fly on my way down. But reality will quickly make me a puddle of theories.

That’s why the Holy Spirit guides us and walks with us throughout our life to show us personally and individually what is good. We can define it however we want, but humanity will always fall short of true goodness. That’s why we need Jesus. He is the culmination of what is good and what is true. He saw things for what they were and gave people hope. He is the epitome of all that is good. Which one of us would die for our friends and then choose to die for enemies? Godly love goes so much deeper than Earthly love. And love connects us. To eachother. To the truth. To hope. To change. It transforms us. Our feet are always firmly planted in reality. And like a good caterpillar, we shed our false ideas, expectations and judgements to behold what is good and true. Have you ever pulled yourself away from the attachment to what you think and believe? Or are you so enmeshed with what you think that the two have become inseparable? So, knowing what we believe is true, allowing those beliefs to be challenged and firmly planting our feet on solid ground can fiercely determine what we become. We need to stop allowing media, ignorance and judgements be our basis for thought. We have beautiful brains. Let’s be more intentional with how we use them.

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