Posts Tagged ‘expectation’

IMG_0182_2I have been asked to contribute a weekly column to our local newspaper, The Nebraska City NewsPress, my goal is that people are reminded that they are loved, they are not alone, and that we can do positive things together as a community. Here is this week’s column, it’s called “Expectations”.

A couple of weeks ago I was traveling so I loaded my phone up with podcasts I could listen to on the plane and while I drove. One of the podcasts I downloaded was from NPR called Invisiblia. It’s fascinating, here’s the description: “ Invisibilia (Latin for “all the invisible things”) explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.”

The episode that caught my attention was on expectations. The episode was entitled, “How to become Batman”, here’s the description,“Alix and Lulu examine the surprising effect our expectations can have on the people around us. Plus, the story of a blind man who says expectations have helped him see. Yes, see.”

The idea of a blind man, without eyes, seeing is simply beyond all measure of rational thought. It told the story of  a man, blind from birth, who can , through the use of echolocation (think what bats do to see), live a perfectly normal life. Live on his own, without a caregiver and without any special accommodations. It was a fascinating story and I encourage you to check it out.

The show reminded me of something I have thought for a long time, “People will live up, or down, to your expectations.” If we expect that a child will need to be coddled and protected from any bump and bruise that might come, they will. If we expect that a child will, with appropriate support and supervision, be able to handle the things that come their way, they probably will. I know that’s a little oversimplified but I’ve found it to be true, throughout with my work with both kids and adults.

Every time I’ve expected a child, or an adult, to be difficult, they have been. Often when I’ve been told they were difficult but I expect them to be different and I tell them of my expectations they end up being no worse than the “good” people.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

Our expectations for our kids, for ourselves, for our neighbors, for our town play a role in how we interact with life and the world around us. If we expect our job to suck, it’s going to suck, if we expect it to be pleasant, it might suck less. If we expect our kids to do the right thing, provided we model it for them, they will probably do the right thing most of the time. If we expect our town will always be the way it is, because it’s always been that way, then it will always be the same with no growth (spiritual, economic, population, or otherwise), no progress, and no vision.

If we expect our town, with proper support and engagement from the community, to do better it will. I know it’s not an overnight shift. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of shifting expectations, not only from the leaders in Nebraska City and Otoe County but also from its citizens to live into those higher expectations. The thing is, I expect that we can accomplish it. In the book of Ephesians it says that we can do more than we could ever ask or imagine through the power of God that is within us. I believe it is within us to use the gifts that God has given us in our community to expect better, to expect more, and to do more than others think is possible.

At dinner every night, my family goes around the table and shares their high points and low points of the day. We call it “Favorite” and “Not Favorite”. Here are my “Favorites” and “Not Favorites” of the week.

Favorite: Getting to lead Ash Wednesday worship with my wife, she is an excellent pastor and I am a better partner, father, and pastor because of her.

Not Favorite: Westboro Baptist Church


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Scripture: Amos 4:1-13

Express in your journal how your actions have sometimes fallen short of God’s expectation for you.

Where do I start?…

The moment I felt as if I had fallen the most short of God’s expectation took place in Elkins, WV. It was my second year of seminary and I was already deep in the ordination process, I was there to watch West Virginia play in the NCAA basketball tournament and visit an old friend. A lot of things happened that night, the least of which was WVU loosing on a last second basket to the University of Texas. The only way I could describe that night is Black Friday. That night I fell as far from God’s expectations as I could. In fact, I was afraid that I had ruined any chance that I would ever had to respond to my call from God. I had SCREWED up BIG TIME!

God was and is faithful, from that moment I have been resurrected, my old life was fading away, I started living into my new life comfortable in my call Christ. I often look to that day as when I finally let down my guard and let God guide my life. I feel as if I have gone from the furtherest away from God’s expectation to as close as I can get at the moment.

God, thank you for sticking with me, thank you for waiting on me knowing that my life would eventually fulfill your expectations. Continue to be with me, work with me, help me to live up to your call on my life.



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Scripture: Luke 21:25-36

Name some things you are waiting for:

Thus begins the liturgical week of Expectation.  I don’t think that I could be more emotionally in tune with expectation, waiting and hope than during this season of Advent.

Currently, another person is pressing outward on my insides, stretching my belly and making their presence known.  What am I waiting for?  I am waiting for this child.  I am waiting for the time of their birth, I am waiting for their first breath, I am waiting to see all 10 fingers and all 10 toes.  I am waiting to see them, to hold them, to love them.

My sense of waiting, of expectation is acute right now.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Come, BHB.  Come.

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