Bow Your Head and Lift Your Expectations
Bow Your Head and Lift Your Expectations
The New Year is underway. Like many I have made my resolutions. I want to lose weight, exercise more, be a better employee and an all-around better person. Forbes Magazine (2013) reports that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolution; primarily because of competing priorities. But this year is going to be different; or is it?
The alarm clock rings and I reach over to turn it off. I don’t really want to get up and go to work. I lie in bed thinking it’s going to be one of those days. The day is just beginning and already my expectations have been set. I know I won’t do it but for a moment I think about calling in because “I’m just not feeling it.”
I must have heard that phrase a million times by now. I suppose what it means depends on what’s going on when you hear it. It might be the sign of a relationship ending, or perhaps it may mean that we are not feeling connected at church, work, or with our friends and family.
I must confess that there are times I muddle along. I don’t really feel like giving it my all, whatever it may be. Sometimes I don’t feel challenged, other times I feel overwhelmed. It could be I’m responding to a disappointment; maybe I didn’t get the promotion or job I wanted. Maybe my recommendations weren’t accepted or maybe it’s a disagreement with my spouse or children. Regardless of the cause, sometimes, despite my best intentions, I want to walk away shouting “No Mas!”.
“No Mas” became a motto to express frustration on November 25, 1980 when boxer Roberto Duran turned to the referee at the end of the eighth round and quit, ending his fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. But mottos have the power to move us in a positive or negative way. The Army told you to “Be all that You Can Be”. The Air Force told us to “Aim High.” The Navy said “Not for Self, but for Country” and the Marines live by “Semper Fi” (Always Faithful). John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” These phrases or mottos weren’t designed just to recruit people; they were created to inspire and motivate us. They set expectations that regardless of who we are or what we do for a living; it’s not about us. Never has been is, and never will be.
God also has an expectation for us. Colossians 3:23 (VOICE) says “So no matter what your task is, word hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s.” If God expects me to always do my best at whatever I do; how can my boss, wife, children, family, coworkers or friends expect less? How can I? The reality is that we shouldn’t.
Failing to meet each other’s expectations doesn’t make us failures; it makes us human. Our failures validate our humanity. When we place our confidence in other people to satisfy our expectations failure is often the consequence. Yet, it is all too common for us to look to so-called experts to help us improve or better ourselves. In fact, the “self-improvement” industry is a $10 billion a year industry in the United States alone (Psychology and Psychiatry, May 2014). But Psalms 146:3 reminds us:
“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”
It is because of our humanity that God invites us to commune with Him through prayer. It is when we most want or need our expectations to be met that we more urgently and strongly need to bow our heads and turn to God. However, while we wait, we shouldn’t forget that just because we pray for it doesn’t mean we’ll get it.
But, you can have faith that He will come through; maybe not with what you want but with what you need. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isn’t it ironic that in the United States alone more than $1 Billion a year is spent on “Executive Coaching”, but the greatest Coach and Mentor that has ever existed, the One with the master blueprint, is available to all with a bowed head, a humble heart, and a prayer.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to bow my head and to raise my expectations by believing in Your promise. Let revelation open my eyes to the promise and plans You have for me. Let me set aside my pride, ego and dependence on myself and others. Help me to come You in prayer with a humble heart to ask for what I want, knowing the You will give me what I need. In Jesus name, Amen.
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