What are You Expecting?

I watched it happen when he was only 18 months old. I wondered… how could one so little experience a sense of SHAME like that??!!

I am a grand mother. And a grandmother (smile). At present I have 5 beloved grand-children. My oldest, Hudson, is now 5 years old. (“FIVE AND A HALF!” he would say.) One day, when he was 18 months old, and I was babysitting, we decided to go to my parents for a spontaneous visit. As soon as I made that suggestion, his eyes got big and shiny, and he said “BIG TRUCK!!” Apparently, my folks had a particular large toy vehicle in their basement, that at this moment was thee apple of Hudson’s eye. It was only a 3 minute drive in those days to my parent’s home, so we jumped in the car and went.

Hudson, unstrapped from his car seat, hopped out of the car, large-chested and full of anticipation. He RAN for their door! When he was just about to the door, it opened, and my mom and dad walked out, coats on, ready to get into their own car. In a few seconds they said hello AND informed us they were leaving for an appointment and were sorry they wouldn’t be able to visit. Hudson halted in his tracks. He was stunned. His shoulders sagged, his chest deflated, and I watched him turn around in bewilderment, not knowing how to handle his overwhelming disappointment. He staggered backward, turned around, lip quivering, and darted past me to go HIDE, head down, at the front of my car. I recognized he was embarrassed, and was stunned to realize he felt “disappointed and put to SHAME.” I didn’t know a child this young could feel shame so intensely!! I did my best to meet his little heart, but pondered this moment for a long time.

I asked the question in my last blog, “Where has childhood WONDER gone??” And answered, “After life serves up many disappointments, small and large, with a few (or many) traumas thrown in…. we become hardened. Our wounds make us cynical. Unbelieving. No longer open, soft or EXPECTING GOOD to come our way.” I have met so many adults that put it this way, “I told myself not to expect too much, so I wouldn’t be disappointed.”

Hence the relevant question: WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING? (Or, what has your battered heart come to expect out of life??)

Women have a unique ability to grasp this concept of EXPECTING. We are designed for it – even physically! In fact, women are (in my opinion) the most amazing creatures!! Think about it…. Give a woman a house – she’ll make a home. Give a woman some food – she’ll make a meal. Give a woman a seed – she’ll grow a child. As women – we naturally nurture and bring things to life – spiritually, emotionally and physically. Adam called his wife’s name EVE (= “LIFE SPRING”), BECAUSE SHE WAS THE MOTHER OF ALL THE LIVING.” (Gen. 3:20) As women, we are Gods’ womb in the earth! We are always ‘EXPECTING.’

But MEN, you are not excluded here! In Luke 1, when aunt Elizabeth meets pregnant Mary, she exclaims, “The FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB is destined to bring God great delight!” This is the same word used for THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF LIFE in Revelations 22:2, where it speaks of the tree of life that grows on either side of the sparkling river that flows from God’s throne… yielding fresh fruit each month of the year. And Psalm 1:3 tells us ALL that we are made to become that tree: “HE IS LIKE A TREE, planted by streams of water that yields it’s fruit in it’s season, and it’s leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Cross gender, we are called to make ‘the living expression’ of God, ‘visible’ by ‘birthing it’ in the earth. [The Passion translation for ‘The Word of God,’ become ‘flesh.’]

As ‘a womb’ or a ‘tree,’ then, we produce something living from the seeds of whatever we’ve been intimate with. From the seedlings of all our life experiences, we have each formed EXPECTATIONS that have developed a life of their own within our SOULS. Whatever our personal life stories have caused us to EXPECT… we will quite naturally carry to full term and bring into being. THUS we, often unconsciously, nourish and produce whatever outcomes we are EXPECTING. [Whether they are positive or negative!]

In summary:
– Our life experiences conceive our expectations.
– We will grow whatever we conceive.
– We will nurture whatever we carry.
– We will bring forth whatever we’ve nurtured.

So to ask the question, “WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING?” Is to ask:
“What are you ‘bringing to life?” OR
“What is your life-giving nature producing?”
The answer to these questions, has A LOT to do with our EXPECTATIONS.

Definition please….. (This will take us deeper)!

EXPECTATION: L. ex “out”, and spectate “to look” = your ‘OUT LOOK’ on life!
1. to wait for
2 to look for, as likely to occur or appear; to anticipate
3. to look for as due, proper, or necessary (probable)
4. to be ‘expecting’ is to be ‘pregnant’ with
5. An expecting or looking forward to an event as ‘about to happen;’ the state of ‘being awaited.’

synonyms: anticipate, await, forecast, forebode, rely on, look for, foresee.

Your ‘OUT LOOK’ is your ‘EXPECTATION’ and determines what your ‘soul’ is ‘looking for, awaiting, expecting in life.

Another synonym is… HOPE.
But what current cultural definitions say about HOPE vs. EXPECTATION is relevant:
“HOPE originates in DESIRE, and may exist with little or no cause for believing that the desired event will arrive…. (Hope looks forward to some good).”
Whereas…
“EXPECTATION is founded on some REASONS which RENDER this event PROBABLE (Expectation looks forward to good or evil).”
(Some ‘reason’ renders a belief in what is probable for my life).

Here’s the issue:
When our ‘expectations’ are divorced from what we ‘hope for’ – we will have a schism within, and will actually draw to our lives what we EXPECT, rather than what we hope for. Usually we do not realize our expectation is different than what we hope for! When this is the case – we need to CHANGE OUR EXPECTATIONS – in order to draw to our life the good things we hope for!

• This ‘schism’ is usually between what our ‘head’ believes and our heart ‘knows.’
• “The heart has it’s reasons that reason knows nothing of.”
• Scripture tells us that our life springs forth from all that is lodged in our HEART, not our head. (Prov. 4:23)
• The HEART is the center of all life – body, soul & spirit life.

So again(back to our original question) – WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING??? What is your OUT LOOK on life and what is it based upon?

HOW WE ‘SEE’ is a big, big deal. How we see can imprison us! When Jesus first began speaking publicly, he opened a Bible to Isaiah 61 and said, “This is why I’ve come:” [Salvation means] “to open the prison AND THE EYES of those who are bound!” Negative expectations can put us in bondage, binding us to negative outcomes. OUR OUTLOOK WILL BECOME OUR OUTCOME!

More, later… unpacking this will take a few more blogs.

For now, here are some exercises to help you make this personal:
1) List 10 things that you are HOPING FOR………

2) Consider whether you have any NEGATIVE EXPECTATIONS which cause you to DOUBT whether you will receive what you HOPE for?

3) Ask yourself: Where do these negative expectations come from? (Some ‘reason’ renders a belief in what is probable, or not, for my life.)

4) Start praying Psalm 25:1-3: “Unto YOU, O Lord, do I bring my life. O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in you] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed.” [Amp]

5) Ask God to change your negative expectations, and heal the wounds behind them. Right here, ADD SOME CURIOSITY to your DOUBT that your hopes could be fully realized…and let the restoration of WONDER begin!

[See my last post on “WONDER”]

WONDER

Graham Cooke, one of my favorite founts of profound inspiration, says this about WONDER:

“Being a great father is high on God’s agenda. He longs to father us into deeper places in the Spirit. We can partner with God in this process of fatherhood, by becoming child-like. In fact, becoming child-like is the only way we can grow in Christian maturity!

Being childlike isn’t a matter of regressing into a lower place in the natural. It’s actually about advancing into a greater place of life in the Spirit. Our innocence and purity must be recovered for us to live as children in the Father’s house. The Kingdom of God belongs to those who can develop and maintain A CHILD-LIKE SENSE OF WONDER!”
(“Living in Dependency and Wonder; The Journey of Discovering the Depths of God’s Love For You”)

Remember “The Shack?!” (You don’t?? READ. IT.) Wm. Paul Young has written 2 more books (“Cross Roads” and “Eve”) – but none (in my opinion) as life-changing as his debut. (Though they are great reads!) In his latest book called “Eve” he speaks of God’s arch-enemy, the devil, formerly being one of heaven’s greats – a Cherubim, like Michael and Gabriel, who surround God’s throne. He makes a little statement that got me pondering: Lucifer (satan’s former name) was in charge of ‘worship and AWE.’ The Cherubim, who surround God’s very throne cry, over-whelmed, over and over “HOLY!!!” because God is SO AWESOME. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Our enemy whose M.O. is to steal, kill and destroy… HATES AWE!!! Which is another word for WONDER. Of course he does. He is green with envy for the constant sense of awe and wonder that he has lost through his rebellion. Why else would he so be out to destroy it in our lives!?! Especially in children’s lives!

A sense of WONDER lives in every child. It’s why we like to be around them so much. (And if you don’t, you’ve lost your ‘wonder’ for SURE.) Let a little child play and express in the middle of a room of adults – and every last one of them will stare at him or her like the flames of a campfire. We are ‘mesmerized’ by child-like wonder. Innocence. Purity. Open-hearted vulnerability. Wide-eyed fully-present engagement with life as an adventure to be experienced.

Whats happened to our WONDER?

Some years ago, I was leading a small group of women through a study of John Eldrege’s book, “THE SACRED ROMANCE.” (A very good read as well!) I remember John bringing up the subject of childhood WONDER…. calling our experience of it “a wooing to a great romance.” As an exercise, he asked us to write out one of our favorite childhood memories… with as much sight, sound, smell and emotion as we could – recapturing as much ‘color’ to our stories as possible (to get in touch with that great ‘wooing’).

My first story was about Christmas. How I loved all the ‘specialness’, ‘celebration, and sparkle! [Still do!!!] The tinsel, the soaring Beverly Shea recording of “What child is this?” (Ha!) and… the PRESENTS. I used to lay on the living room carpet, under our Christmas tree, with the most exquisite feelings .. just staring at the presents, some WITH MY NAME ON THEM! That feeling was WONDER. It was MAGICAL. HEART-IN-MY-EYES EXPECTANTCY. My wise father used to come and join me – adding to my sense of AWE – by laying on his stomach next to me and exclaiming, ‘ I WONDER what’s in there……????’

CHILD-LIKE WONDER. Where did it go?

After life serves up many disappointments, small and large, with a few (or many) traumas thrown in…. we become hardened. Our wounds make us cynical. Unbelieving. No longer open, soft or expecting good. Few of us seem to sustain this all important sense of AWE about life. It is thought of by the sophisticated and logical as naive. Stupid. And many of us feel shame in adult moments when wonder visits us. A perfect picture of this is in one of my favorite disney movies, “THE KID.” Girl friend (Lily Tomlin) is exclaiming about the breathtaking beauty of the moon one eve, and jerk boyfriend (Bruce Willis) responds with cutting cynicism, trying to make her feel really stupid for being so open, child-like, and full of WONDER.

OKAY… I can’t wait to tell you! Wonder has a MOST CURIOUS definition! Literally. Ready? WONDER = DOUBT + CURIOSITY. Think about it.

To be ‘in doubt’ means to be in awe. To feel incredulous. To exclaim, “I can’t believe it!” “Wow, how can this be??” Apparently, every time we experience that kind of moment, we have an opportunity to move towards more WONDER. IF we choose wisely. Whenever we find ourselves doubting, we can make one of two choices…. harden our hearts and move toward cynical unbelief … or open our hearts and choose to be CURIOUS…. I WONDER….. which leads to a totally different outcome. (Run and find your Bible and read Acts 2:12-13 for a vivid example of these two choices, in response to the Holy Spirit’s fresh out-pouring!)

Amazingly, the Greek word for wonder is ‘mopheth’ pronounced ‘mo-faith.’ When we add curiosity to doubt, WONDER leads us to MORE FAITH. Every time.

I WONDER…… Is this what God was restoring to His Israelite children, by serving them up some ‘WHAT IS IT??!!” (manna) every day of their wilderness wander? Maybe because only ‘wonder’ could reverse 400 years of slavery-damage to their expectations?…and possibly prepare them to enter and live in trust and wonder in their Land of Promise?

This is one of our first lessons on Wonder. Why it matters to God. To us. I want to leave you pondering. Wondering…

Will you write out one of your own stories? Think about what it felt like? Ask yourself where that feeling went? And why? And when you find yourself in any moment of ‘doubt’ at present…. make a choice to ADD CURIOSITY? I WONDER….. where could this lead me? What will I find? What could I learn? Is there something You want to show me, Daddy? Here?

Simple stuff opens the door… and we are on our way to recovering our innocence and purity; to living as children in our heavenly Father’s house. The Kingdom of God belongs to those who can develop and maintain A CHILD-LIKE SENSE OF WONDER!”

God bless your WONDERING…. and come back soon for more.

Janet out.