In my quest to look cooler by virtue of association, I’m bringing you a guest post from the coolest kid I know: Tony Alicea. When I was bummed because I felt like I was talking to myself over here at MessiahMom, Tony encouraged me. That’s Tony, an encourager. He’s got a great site, Expect the Exceptional. I want you to visit, www.tonyjalicea.com and would love for you to encourage the heck out of him here in the comments. If you don’t have time to devour his online body of work, read his testimony, here and follow him on Twitter, here.
One of my favorite movies of all time is 500 Days of Summer. It’s the story of a boy who meets a girl who he thinks is the woman of his dreams. The film documents the 500 days of their relationship in a unique style, by skipping backwards and forward through the days. Many people I’ve asked say that they don’t like the movie because you do not get the ending you expect between the two main characters. However, you are warned by the narrator at the very beginning of the movie when he says, “This is not a love story.”
One of the most poignant scenes is one where after they had been broken up for awhile, he reaches out to her and she invites him to a party at her house. The film goes into a split-scene as the events unfold. One one side we see the expectation in his mind of how the night would play out. On the other side we see the reality of the situation. It’s pretty heart wrenching. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I think I love it so much because I can completely relate to what he is feeling.
It helped me realize how we create a huge burden when we set expectations in relationships. Many times we do it unwillingly and in the process, never communicate those expectations to the other person. When they do not live up to our expectation, we are left with one of the most damaging emotions in a relationship:disappointment.
This has happened to me countless times, not just in romantic relationships, but also in my relationship with the Lord. I think to myself, “God, you say you are good so I’m expecting you to work out this situation in my life in this way.” When that doesn’t happen, I become disappointed and even disillusioned with the goodness of God.
Expectation is like giving someone a backpack of bricks that they never asked to carry. Expectations are almost always selfish and self-seeking. There is no hope in expectations. Expectations are demands.
“we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” Romans 5:3-5
Hope does not put us to shame. Another translation says hope does not disappoint. This is a completely different mindset, which I call “Expectancy”. Expectancy doesn’t expect perfection or that everything will work out exactly as planned. Expectancy is a hopeful optimism. Expectancy is trust. Expectancy is faith.
A friend of mine came up with this acrostic for hope. H.oly O.ptimism P.roducing E.xpectancy. I love that!
I want to live a life of expectancy where I believe that things will work out for the best. I want to live with birds-eye perspective where I can see the forest, not the trees. I don’t want to put any heavy burdens on any of my relationships.
500 Days of Summer ends with beautiful redemption. Even though it wasn’t the ending that was expected, I believe it was better than he could have imagined. If we persevere, I believe God will bring us not the ending we expect but the ending that is immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.
Regardless of what you’ve been through in past seasons of life and relationships, if you live with expectancy…Autumn will come.