The Call To Live Awake (Day 4)
I hurdle constantly with the issue of expectation. In a relative world, having expectations is a normal thing. It's the reciprocity of human life. You give and you also expect to receive. You love and you expect to be loved in return. That popular Golden Rule "Do unto others what you want others to do unto you" has gotten me stuck on some issues about expectation.
Living awake has made me realize that the golden rule while noble and profound is unrealistic. What you do unto others is seldom ever done unto you. For example.
I listen to about 10 people on the average day. Aside from my consultancy practice, I'm also a youth minister and a daughter and a friend. Listening is an activity that takes up a lot of my time and I happen to like doing it too. I listen quite intently and really go deep into the core issues of people. Just today I had a meeting with a client and he was telling me about his concerns over some changes in his business. I had him articulate what he was thinking and then I asked him what he was feeling about it. In the beginning he felt very bothered about these changes and I continued to ask him how these changes really made him feel in a personal way. By asking him that, he then revealed an insecurity that made him react in such a way that led him to being in a defensive stance. Instead of being able to understand what was happening completely, he couldn't just yet. Helping him go deeper into what he was feeling and accepting his feelings as he shared them helped him feel safer and come to his own realisation of what he needed to do.
Having the emotional stamina to go through these dialogues is an important thing. Not a lot of people can actually have the same stamina as I do. I am however blessed with a few friends who God has allowed to walk with me during this season. Fortunately enough for me they have the same emotional aptitude as me when it comes to listening. But I can only count these people with one hand.
The expectation issue that is bothersome is the fact that not everybody can really do for you what you do for them. It can be sad and discouraging but I've realized that the torment you go through for being emotionally deprived of reciprocation is growing in the understanding that the little inconveniences are windows to receive the consolation you need from the Only One who can always be there.
It's not always an easy thing. God in His nature and with our limited ability to appreciate Him do not always connect as intimately as we want to. It brings us to an uncomfortable situation where we begin to doubt if He is there at all. We expect God to be able to reach us in a way that we will clearly understand Him. We expect God to be able to talk to us the way we want Him to talk to us. We expect Him to be like us. And when He isn't, we become impatient and grumble at His seeming absence.
We throw Him questions about why our lives are miserable or frustrating. We bang our fists and demand His salvation. The truth is it is our own self-absorption that keeps us from seeing Him.
Living awake has made me realize that the more I focus on myself, the less receptive I am to Him. The less sensitive I am to His presence. The less open I am to receive His love. It's ironic because we expect so much from other people but we expect so very little from our God who has promised us everything.
May I always expect more from you God than from others. In this way I can be more compassionate to their shortcomings because Your love can fill all that I need anyway.