What Did You Expect? – Managing Responses and Finding Peace Purity 572
Purity 572 11/10/2021 Purity 572 Podcast
Today’s photo of the Greek Coastline, presumably from a boat on the Mediterranean or Aegean Sea, comes to us from a friend who recently enjoyed their honeymoon there and who assured their friends that even though their trip was delayed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Greece exceeded all their expectations.
It’s Wednesday and for many of us this Hump Day will exceed all normal expectations for a Wednesday because tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and many of us will have the day off. So Wednesday becomes Friday, a phenomenon that I would say is extremely uncommon except for the fact that the vast majority of us will experience this “freaky Wednesday” again in two weeks when we will be celebrating “Thanksgiving Eve”.
Managing our expectations is one of the best ways to foster contentment as we can mentally cool our jets before we enter into an experience to avoid being disappointed if our reality doesn’t match up with the way we envision how things will come to pass.
The holiday season is usually where most of us have learned of the pitfalls of getting our hopes up, as many of us have experienced our “worst Christmas” and were forever changed by it. For most of us there was that one Christmas when the magic just wasn’t there as we either didn’t receive what we were hoping for under the Christmas tree or, even worse, we received a most unwelcomed yuletide gift of an unexpected loss, tragedy, or trial.
That initial “Bad Christmas” was a pivotal moment in our lives as a part of our innocence was lost and we learned the lesson that we didn’t always get what we wanted or that tragedy, trials, and loss were a part of life that could even invade the joyous season of Christmas. Now that “Bad Christmas” should have taught us to appreciate the good times when we can have them and to temper our expectations about life in general.
However, those disappointments, trials, tragedies, and losses could also drive us into an attitude of self-pity and as I learned through my pre-marriage counseling sessions recently, self-pity is a cancer that can not only affect the one feeling sorry for themselves it can also ruin the relationships that the sufferer is in.
The material we are reviewing (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts BY Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott) teaches the valuable lesson that we are each responsible for our own emotional responses, that you partner’s responses should not be given the power to effect how you feel.
People are imperfect and will not always respond the way we expect so we have to be emotionally mature enough to not be pulled into despair or anger if our partner doesn’t give us the response we wanted from them.
Our expectation of another to make us happy is unwise and if we hold the expectation that our partners will make us happy at all times we will either be filled with self-pity, resentment, or seek to blame them for our unhappiness. Self-pity, resentment and the blame game are the responses that lead to unhappy marriages, and in many cases divorce.
When we respond with self-pity, resentment, or by blaming our partner, we tend to separate ourselves from them emotionally and stop communicating because of our unfulfilled expectations.
To break the chain reaction that could result in a communications break down, we need to take responsibility for our emotional responses by managing our expectations and by communicating openly and compassionately when we run into disappointments.
By considering the other person’s experience, what may be involved in our not receiving what we expected, and talking about it, we can learn how to effectively communicate what we need in our relationships and how we can support one another through life.
The only One who knows our thoughts and needs perfectly is God and He directs us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means we are to consider their needs above our own and to love them. So when we are disappointed by life or by people’s responses to us or situations, we should try to see the situation from the Lord’s perspective and see where we can be patient rather than take offense, and to act to help and heal rather than to cause harm or division.
Life can be full of disappointments due to circumstances, other people’s responses, and our own expectations. So keep walking and talking with God so you can see the truth about the situations you are in and act in a way that will foster contentment, settle disputes, and bring peace and love.
When we walk in the way the Lord calls us to walk, we become minsters of His love and wisdom. When we act compassionately, we can not only be a light in the darkness for others, but we can also calm the troubled hearts that may be beating in our own chests by seeing that in God we have all we need for life and godliness and all the answers to life and death.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is :
Lamentations 3:23 (NLT2)
23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Today’s verse reminds us of God’s faithfulness and the blessings that come with each new day.
Some days are filled with problems and trials. Sometimes friends and loved ones disappoint us. Sometimes we can feel that nothing is going right and that we are all alone.
In a life that is separated from God, the potential for days like these is very high because when we believe that our life in the here and now is all there is, there is no hope. Science shows us that things fall apart and if we have no considerations for a spiritual dimension to our lives, life is a desperate struggle to find circumstantial happiness and to try to maintain it with the realization that every moment is another moment closer to our eventual extinction.
Platitudes of leaving a legacy behind or being remembered are cold comforts when the eventual extinction of the universe is considered in a worldview that doesn’t allow for God.
But God is real, and His word reveals that He has a plan for a new heaven and a new earth that will override the expectations of our material observations.
The word of God also reveals that the Lord is faithful because it is filled with the testimonies of men and women who have been delivered and transformed by God.
The fact of God’s unseen presence is with us is documented in the word of God and can be experienced when one establishes a relationship with God by putting their faith in Jesus Christ.
God created the universe and the way it operates and even for those who don’t believe in Him, He has created the order that gives us a new day every 24 hours from which we can start again. The Lord is shown faithful even to the unbeliever by the regularity in which the new days come.
“The sun will come out tomorrow” may be a hit in the musical Annie but it is a truth and a reality that is created by God and is only one evidence for His faithfulness.
So thank the Lord for a new day. Forget about yesterday’s troubles, or better yet learn from them, and take solace in the fact that no matter how the day goes today you will be able to seek rest at the end of the day and have a fresh new one waiting for you tomorrow because God is faithful, and His mercies are new every morning.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.
C. What Is "Just"?
A fair and impartial judge, an honest and forthright business person, an objective and equitable employer—all represent what we know and appreciate about those considered to be just. Some people say, "Our nation is a just nation." Is this true? Consider the following definitions:
- The English word just is a legal term that means either "conforming to a standard of correctness" or "acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good."
- Justice refers to the law, jurisprudence is the science of law, and the "justice system" sets the legal standard.
- The Greek word dikaios is sometimes translated as each of these words: "just, justification, right, and righteous."
- Just and right are often used interchangeably throughout the Bible to mean...
"See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
- Right standing and right conduct are always measured against a standard.
- —When two people secure a marriage license before marrying, they are in right standing within the legal system.
- —When a man is convicted of a crime, his wrong conduct is illegal.
Illustration: The chief priests found Jesus guilty of breaking the Jewish religious laws, but Pilate found Him innocent of illegal conduct according to Roman law.
"As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, 'Crucify! Crucify!' But Pilate answered, 'You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.'" (John 19:6)
Question: "Why is God partial toward some people?"
Answer: The Bible says God does not show partiality. It may appear from our limited view that God favors certain people over others. However, God loves and cares for us all equally.
"God does not show favoritism." (Romans 2:11)
Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.
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