Is everything in your life going as you expected it to? In my time living sober, I have a new perspective regarding my own expectations. As I entered into this way of life, all I could see was a broken past with lost dreams I had given up to live with the in-crowd. I held on to the hopes of high-living all the way through years of drinking.
In time I was able to shake off the guilt and the failures, and began working with others seeking help from drinking and drugging, and helping them through the 12 step program. I originally planned to never lose even one I sponsored, thinking how I could change the traditional way of guiding the one needing help with my excellent leadership abilities. That, as you probably know, didn't work. Every expectation I had was shattered. The harder I tried to hold on to their being successful, the more I failed, the more disappointed I became. Those I expected to failed, continue to prove me wrong and the ones I thought would surely succeed, failed miserably.
"I have held many things in my hands and lost them all; but whatever I placed in God's hands, that I still possess." - Martin Luther
Hold on loosely
As a child develops learning skills, they become so interesting to talk to. It is a pleasure to watch them learn to write their ABC's and read from a book. They cannot be pushed too hard or they struggle to learn. But with encouragement and motivation, their skills may come smoothly. If we go step further and pray for the child learning, and place the outcome into God's hands, the learning may come even easier, still with our encouragement and motivation. We turn our expectations away from the child, to the Father above. The same approach must be taken with those I may work with in recovery. Remove the expectation and pressure, let them initiate contact, and their journey is much surer, my frustrations were fewer.
I have the same experiences in my walk with Christ. I learn daily how far above His ways are above mine. I think I am doing things right by sharing my experience, strengths, and hopes with others by writing these posts and helping others in their recovery, but I can see that I leave out time with God to do those things. What that does for me is dulls my spiritual awareness, and I wind up spending precious time struggling to think of how to say the right things. When He is my priority, the thoughts flow and I seem to have an answer, a topic, and a spirititual insight for needed help. Yet I hold on to my way, and my failure prone expectations.
The answer for us all is this: Our "ministry" does not matter, if we hold onto the control buttons, as though the message belongs to us. It is God-given. The paradox is that we place the work, and it's outcome into His hands to see it succeed. Like the small child learning, our entire life is learning to hold loosely, and be willing to let go. Does that make sense?
What we hold.
We have all heard that when we pass away we leave it all behind. The saying, "you can't take it with you," is the popular way of saying that. I beg to differ. I will not leave it all behind. Jesus said these words:
"Do not lay up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where neither moth or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-21 NKJV
What treasure does He mean? He isn't talking about dollars, silver, and gold, that are uneccessary in heaven. My account, your account is based on our life and service here on earth. Giving love to the unlovely, time to the lonely, strength to the weak, has comforting rewards on earth. Doing the work of Jesus by serving those in need, brings Him to life through us to them. We benefit as much or more than the ones we help. And our treasure grows in heaven. Paydays with God are unending.
I understand that this life here is the place where we learn from trial to trial, to conform to the image of Christ, learning and developing the "fruit" of the spirit to where we instantly know to let go and let God, or to hold loosely and trust the outcome to His hands, but it remains a hard thing to do. But we continue to do what is needed and build treasures in our eternal account. The important thing to remember is to give Him the time and not put a clutch-hold on anything, allow each experience to be a lesson, and be trusting as a child for the results.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.