I need to write tonight. Because in these past several days I've seen with unparalleled clarity the breadth and deep-rooted nature of my self-centered expectations. And I've witnessed the wounds and pain that these expectations have inflicted. On me... and others around me.
And in coming face to face with the ugliness of these rampant expectations, I'm learning something about my Savior -- about His relentless love -- that is shaping me into the woman I inexorably crave to become...
A woman who doesn't care if I'm noticed or not. A woman tenderly oblivious to offense. A woman with a hair-trigger for forgiveness, because I know so keenly my own propensity for sin. A woman dripping with mercy, because I'm desperately in need of it too. A woman who delights to recoginze, affirm, and draw out evidences of grace and gifting in others. A woman who has forgotten how to compare. A woman who would rejoice to live far removed from acclaim and with no trophies to my name. A woman whose presence liberates others only because I'm immersed in the freedom of recklessly discarding my reputation, my expectations, and my pride.
A woman with one blazing obsession: to gaze into the face of Jesus and to be lost in the fiery love that pours from His eyes... stamped and sealed for an eternity with the Lover of my soul.
THAT is the woman I ache to be. In tears I plead for it... I WANT to feel pain if it means I'll get over myself. I WANT to hurt and be brokenhearted if it means I'll emerge with the intoxicating freedom of authentic humility.
I WANT to be forgotten, abandoned, mistreated, injured, and misunderstood if it means that I irreversibly immerse myself in the reality that Emily Christina Timmer is just a sinful girl with nothing to her name but the precious blood of the Lamb of God. Oh, Jesus, my body and soul long to swim in the simple liberation of that reality. Yet one immense hindrance to my becoming such a woman has been this: my expectations.
The expectations of my flesh have often crippled me, bound me, blinded me, and pained the heart's of others in the process. Precious others.
I've expected to be consistently treated with esteem and affection by specific individuals.
I've expected ongoing success in my endeavors.
I've expected frequent recognition.
I've expected to be loved by those around me in specific ways that suit me.
I've expected nearly perfect understanding and acceptance from others.
I've expected complete emotional fulfillment in my friendships.
I've expected my talents to be utilized in impressive ways.
I've expected my body to look a certain way-- thin, toned, and flawless.
I've expected myself to overcome my sin and struggles in accordance with MY timeline.
I've expected God to act in congruence with MY plans.
Do you get my drift?
Selfhishness. Disgusting pride. Rampant expectation.
...a failproof recipe for disillusionment, confusion, heartache, broken relationships, and oppressive bondage. Not to mention that such expectations are just plain ugly chumps.
I've been a caged bird, boxed in on ever side by outrageous expectations that clash glaringly with the fact that they simply cannot be fulfilled (or fulfill me). I labor under the oppressive sense that I really SHOULD look differently, be talented differently, experience friendships differently, be treated differently, etc, because my flesh has heaped expectation upon expectation. So I live with a pervading sense of inadequacy, failure, self-loathing... or ( when I've actually FULFILLED a portion of my expectations) pride and a sense of superiority.
But still worse is the fact that my expectations have wounded and alienated others. Friendships take on an unnatural weightiness and deadening burden when one friend expects an exorbitant amount from the other. Of that I am a guilty party. Oh, I wish that I was not!! My earnest intent is to liberate my dear friends (and ANYONE who crosses my path) through my uninhibited grace and my LACK of expectations of how they "should" treat me. But I've too often been guilty of the opposite.
I will RARELY be treated with the precise affection and esteem I desire.
I won't always succeed.
I'll often go entirely unrecognized.
I will be misunderstood -- even by those closest to me.
No friend will ever meet all of my emotional needs.
My body won't always look the way I want.
God will continually work in HIS time, not mine.
This reality of shattered expectations has been smacking me square in the face over and over in these past months (even several years). And it hurts like heck.
But it hurts like a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, not like a vital organ that's failing. I mean to say this: continually experiencing the agony of failed expectations has NOT shattered my foundation of hope... NO! Rather it has initiated in me the magnificent healing process that I exist to experience (a process I will be subject to until the day I die). And that is this: these failed expectations have served as the lens through which I am beginning to see the One Thing that my heart has REALLY been longing for all along... the One Thing that engulfs all other desires and drowns them with its universe-encompassing glory and magnificence.
In every want I've ever wanted or need I've ever needed... It has really been Jesus. Only Jesus. Always Jesus. I want because I want Him. I need because I need Him. I ache because I ache for Him.
Let every other expectation fall to ruin.
There is ONE glorious expectation that emerges in its simplicity of purity and passion... Jesus Christ will always love me.
Jesus will never fail me.
Jesus will perpetually satisfy my emotional needs.
Jesus will always recognize me and turn His eyes towards me.
Jesus will burn with love for me for eternity.
Jesus Christ is the singular expectation upon whom I can stake my life... HE is the eager expectation that will transform everything about me and will fashion in me a liberty that allows me to fly -- to forgive when wronged, to pour out mercy in place of vengeance, to be unoffendable, to burn with an explosive and yet tender love that never runs dry.
And by fixing my eyes eagerly on HIS face, bursting with the sweet expectation for which my heart was formed, I will be whole. Free. Happy. Healed. Humbled. Unencumbered ... liberating those around me from the burden of my faulty expectations so that they too can walk in the glorious freedom of the love of Jesus Christ.
I won't expect anything less.