Leaving work this past Friday I became flooded with those always welcomed, often fleeting, feel-good emotions of gratitude where you insist that the sky looks that much bluer and the air just smells that much fresher. Looks something like this…
But seriously. It’s like you’re wearing fantasy glasses with “Pinch me is this RL (real-life)?!” lenses. They’re the best moments ever!
I’M PETRIFIED OF THEM.
Because amidst my overjoyed emotions this stupid voice in my head likes to go, “Stop being ridiculous! This will never last! You’re setting yourself up for disappointment”.
Womppp. So I quickly come back down to reality and then think, “Yea, I guess the sky really isn’t all that blue [taking off my polarized sunglasses]. Whatever. On to the next thing.”
Reading over that thought-train kind of makes my skin crawl. But it’s SUCH a real and easy thing to slip into.
Case in point: I was group texting my mom and sisters leaving the office that same afternoon, and I sent a simple text about how I was enjoying my new role. “It’s a good fit for me.”
Anddd then I felt this little gut check as if God was saying, “Really, Kait? After all that? Just a ‘good fit’?”
[OY. Ok, God, give me a take two.]
The second text I sent was pretty freaking ecstatic; including how I couldn’t believe the newfound flexibility I’d been given. I wrote how it was something I’d seriously been desiring and thought would only maybe be possible when I was like 50 y.o. [if ever].
In this text to them, I also decided to credit God this time–for His faithfulness and for giving me exactly what I’d longed for and didn’t even know how to go about looking for, even down to the smallest of details [ie: An office with my own desk, but also a flexible work-from-home option. A quiet, but collaborative space. Introvert-friendly, but about people. Business-oriented, but with a Kingdom mindset. Experience in entrepreneurship and grass-roots marketing.] He heard it all.
Hitting send on that second text felt gooooooood. It was as if I’d finally allowed myself to settle into that big, fat comfy seat of gratitude for a second.
I realized, I’d been trying to field all the “How’s the new job??” questions with a simple, “Good. I’m learning a lot“.
Because that feels safe, right? It wouldn’t make anyone else feel bad about their own situation either. And who knows where I’ll be with it 6 months from now. That response wouldn’t set me up to be let down when I later experienced any disappointment with it. When it gets hard. Or when it isn’t as new and fun and exciting.
Then it dawned on me [thank goodness].
By operating that way, I’m literally capping my own joy. And if that attitude keeps up, the job probably would feel just as ho-hum 6 months from now. So maybe playing it cool, isn’t that cool after all.
My disposition had been expecting disappointment versus expecting the faithfulness of God–the exact opposite of what it should be as a Spirit-led, faith-filled believer.
A simple response of “good” doesn’t give God the glory, it doesn’t give testimony, and it surely doesn’t make God feel like he should entrust me with even better news & circumstances. I mean, it’s not like I’d really even give Him the due praise, right?
[WHAT. Hold the phone. ]
Rather, if we really believe he’s this great big God, the King of Majesty, the creator of the Universe, and the ruler of Heaven and Earth (and oh how I really do), then we can and should expect good things. Through our positive expectations, we allow events and outcomes to naturally flow to us… even if and when the initial results aren’t what we thought they’d be.
Because when you expect the faithfulness of God, and look for signs of it everywhere, you experience a lot less unnecessary suffering than you ever could by expecting to be disappointed.
As believers, sometimes we need to learn to just get out of our own way, and let God use us how, when, and where He wants to. Finding satisfaction, trust, and enthusiasm in the #hereandnow is an indication of our spiritual maturity. The #hereandnow doesn’t mean your stuck, it means He’s still orchestrating your next move.
Someone awesome once shared with me a simple formula by Jack Canfield, that when applied appropriately, can produce life altering results in every aspect of your life. It goes as follows:
[event + response = outcome]
Basically, it’s saying that “successful people take a different approach to events. They simply change their responses (R) to the events (E) until they get the outcomes (O) they want”.
[I’ll let you digest that for a second.]
When this really all started to hit home for me was when I heard it described as an act of listening. Those little gut ‘checks’ we get throughout our days [like I did on Friday] are not random and they’re not nothing. They’re an opportunity to respond. An invitation to control your outcome.
We usually hear them and think “Ugh, no.” – I don’t want to do that right now. I don’t want to be vulnerable and share how excited I am. I don’t want to go talk to that person. I don’t want to sacrifice my time doing that. So we just don’t. It’s whatever, right?
No. These little ‘checks’ are a direct request from the big guy upstairs [cough–God].
In case you haven’t noticed, He’s suuuuper polite. It’s more like a subtle nudge in the right direction. A clue so right under our noses, we usually miss it. But if we’ve even remotely started to figure out how he works [and not just how we work], we should actually be responding intently; almost even militantly (Sir, yes Sir, Father!), and not begrudgingly (Ugh, why God. Do I have to?)
Whatever happened to, “Your voice I will follow”?
I mean, it’s kind of hard to follow and respond if we’re not even listening, or paying attention, and mostly–if we’re not even willing.
[Ohh it gets better…]
Because when we’re willing to become face-smackingly aware of the goodness of God in our lives, and start following the “pace of peace” (Joe Riddle) over the pace of the world, it transcends the “good” circumstances into “great” ones and the “great” ones into glorifying ones.
By responding to His subtle call(s), we’re igniting a series of events to occur after it. When you don’t engage, the ripple effect extends far beyond yourself.
What if sharing testimony of God’s faithfulness in your own life was the spark someone else needed, at the most opportune time, to receive hope for it in their own? We can be a road block, or we can be a catalyst.
Your satisfaction and contentment will continually change in every aspect of your life IF you allow it to. A string of disappointing circumstances is a weapon for the enemy to derail your sense of peace. What’s unshakeable, is in knowing that regardless of it all He never changes. In the pace of life, you can choose to follow His “pace of peace”. You can learn to discern His voice over the bajillion others.
Our God IS capable of turning your mourning into joy, your feelings of “stuck” into freedom, your “not enough” into abundance, your insecurities into confidence, and your doubts into decisiveness.
But you have to want it. “God won’t force even a good thing upon us if we ask for it in one moment, and then put up our hands against it in the next” (Relevant).
C.S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain:
“We are a Divine work of art, something that God is making and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character” (Relevant).
…A ‘character’ of expecting the faithfulness of God.
All of this to say…we can call it how we see it, or we can call it how He does. One path has a lot more joy, a lot more peace, and a lot more success. We can choose to share the fullness of blessing in our lives, or we can withhold it. We can exercise vision for His faithfulness or we can attract disappointment. I think the world has plenty of bad news to hear as it is. The least we can do is participate in spreading some of His greatness, by “sowing a seed of hope” (Steve Kelly).
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
“I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting”. -Joyce Meyer
We are to patiently w a i t on the Lord–expecting, looking for, longing for, and reaching with outstretched hands for the faithfulness of God in our lives.
He wants us to be more accustomed to expecting the great, not expecting disappointment.
So send the stoked text, buy the balloons, let the kite fly, clink the champagne glasses, and let yourself celebrate every tiny victory. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.