Five Minute Friday: Expect

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

What outcome are you trying to control?

That question came from the lips of one of the ladies interviewed for the Hope*Writers online conference. (Wish I could remember who). The twelve sessions with authors and editors were worth listening to for that one piercing arrow alone. Anxiety is directly linked to control, or lack thereof. So what is it that you, that I, am trying to control?

Thinking along those lines leads directly to the heart of fear. If we can look full-face at the core with all of its blood and gore, we can begin the process of dismantling it in the grace and truth of Christ. Going beyond the fear into the reason for the fear is an important step in finding freedom from the fear. Deal with the cause, not the symptom.

Maybe I’m slow, but that’s exciting and new to me.

Kate says: expect.

Go.

Every woman struggles with the urge to hide her true self. We feel we are too little and too much all at once. More often than not, the image we project through behavior, clothing, ambition, home decor or a million other little things is just that – an image. Who we hope to be, who want to be, who we think we should be.

It’s our armor.

Our defense.

Because we expect to be hurt. People let us down. Fathers. Friends. The men we should never consider dating but wind up with for far too long. Mothers. Children. Coworkers. Husbands. Ourselves.

We want to be authentic. We want the outer to reflect and celebrate the inner instead of masking it. We want to let the guard down.

It’s hard.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending my church’s district women’s retreat. The setting was picturesque, the music moving in the richest way, the preaching profound. But what got me, what really got me, was the experience of having my calling as a teacher affirmed in front of a group of mostly strangers. I had opened my mouth and blazed forth with opinions and suggestions regarding the importance of Bible study. I expected to be shut down or at the very least for people to just roll their eyes and move on.

I never expected to be built up.

It broke something deep inside of me.

I’m always apologizing. Always toting around a vague sense of guilt and a strong sense of shame. Always worried that I’ll offend or have offended someone and they’re just waiting to pounce. Always trying to control the environment. Not in a direct, manipulative way. In a, “I don’t want so-and-so to be mad at me way.” Sure, I have what I’ve been told is a very direct (okay, blunt) writing voice, but that doesn’t carry over into my “real life.”

I’m done.

This day, May 19, I’m done.

The pastor at the retreat invited us to hang out with the Samaritan Woman of John 4 all weekend, taking us a little deeper into her story every session. The woman couldn’t just sit there and magically wait for the freedom Jesus offered her to change her life. She had to grab on. She had to take what He was giving. She had to fling herself into the mystery of grace, not knowing what would come next as a result.

She had to expect the good.

I can’t fulfill my calling or experience the abundant life Christ offers if I keep expecting the bad, if I keep shrinking back against the wall. I’m tired of being bound up. I’m tired of avoiding new relationships because old ones have been bad. I’m tired of keeping silent.

I’m tired of expecting the worst at all times. I know bad things are going to happen. I’m not trading in dark glasses for rose-colored ones. Rather I want clear vision, straight-ahead vision, eyes-on-Christ vision. To see the good and expect the good. And when the bad comes, to see it in the light of the Good, Good Father.

Like a flower just beginning to open, full of hope and promise.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Aaron Burden
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27 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Expect

  1. Wow, Marie. This is really powerful. I love reading your words, and your challenge at the beginning about anxiety over what we cannot control is really timely. Thank you for the much needed reminder and blessings to you as you pursue your gifting as a teacher.

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    1. Hearing that question was such a big thing for me as it reframes the issue of fear. Some of my struggle is biological, wonky chemicals and all of that, but some is definitely wrapped up in how I think about and perceive the world.

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  2. I love this so much. I always expect the worst. I am a worst-case scenario, anxious about everything out of my control type of girl. I never, ever, ever expect the good to happen. It always shocks me.

    Thanks for challenging me on that. You’re making me think hard, friend. Love you.

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    1. We share a brain, dear one. We share a brain. Thankfully, there is One who is far mightier than our brains! He can change our thought processes and make us brave.

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  3. Oh Marie!
    I’m so excited for you!! I’m in your corner, cheering you on to be passionate and embrace your calling! You are such a gift and intentionally crafted.
    Thank you for this beautiful post!!
    Love,
    Tammy

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  4. Sounds like a life giving weekend. Thats wonderful. What encouragement. Yes it is scary to start expecting good. Kinda feels like setting our selves up for disappointment. I find myself there too. But I am much happier when I expect good. Even if we don’t get the “good” we wished for usually we find so many other treasures wrapped in God’s goodness along the way. Along the hunt

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    1. Again and again I am reminded, as through your words here, that there is good and joy in each day. We just have to ask the Lord to give us the eyes to see it.

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  5. You go girl! Be who you are, discover the good, champion the Truth – at least you know that any censure coming as a result of living as who you are designed to be is well worth the storm… (FMF neighbour #11)

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    1. I can’t put into words what your comment brings up in me. I think…excitement, from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. How freeing it is to take tiny steps that will eventually be leaps into the design and plan God has for us!

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  6. I love your last sentence. I see that flower full of hope and blooming right before my very eyes. I often apologize when I get emotional and then apologize for getting emotional. Thank you for reminding me than that is part of who God created me to be. I’m in the 13 spot this week.

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  7. It is hard to let the guard down sometimes when we’re not sure what response to expect from people. I’m glad you found people who were able to build you up and affirm your calling. I love your description of “clear vision, straight-ahead vision, eyes-on-Christ vision. To see the good and expect the good. And when the bad comes, to see it in the light of the Good, Good Father.” That is a really good way to look at things.

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  8. Marie, powerful, wise words here. Thank you for this. It’s funny you speak of expecting the worst. When I went running this morning I thought about how I too expect to be hurt too and so often enter conversations in a defensive rather than open manner.

    It made me recognize that I have failed to receive the gifts God has given me with open arms. I expect people to attack me because I “believe” that there’s something wrong with me: a woman who feels the grief of strangers and is so often moved to tears. I expect them to belittle me because I am not confident in who He has made me to be.

    I’m realizing that the more I receive what He has gifted me with thanksgiving and confidence, the more I expect to be built up and grow in the wisdom of others, who can help me in living out my calling. For He has created us to live out our calling supported by each other. I can offer them the compassion and mercy of Christ, help them to “see” the broken in their midst, they can offer me the much-needed practical and rational insight/wisdom to minister to these broken people.

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    1. Beautiful words, Anna. The Body of Christ can only function as designed if we all embrace who God made us to be. We need each other in all the weirdness and wildness of diversity.

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  9. I think it was Emily who said she has to take a step back when she’s overwhelmed and ask what outcome she is trying to control. But my notes are in the other room.

    This post is magnificent – you must type really fast 😀 But in all seriousness HALLELUJAH for taking a stand against expecting the bad. I, too, am one to always anticipate the bad. I analyze everything and see all the negative outcomes. So this is poignant for me: “Rather I want clear vision, straight-ahead vision, eyes-on-Christ vision. To see the good and expect the good. And when the bad comes, to see it in the light of the Good, Good Father.” Because it is eyes fixed on Christ, not the possibles (good or bad) that make this life beautiful. Surrender.

    Thank you for sharing! And fist-bump on the blunt writing style. Blunt writers of the world – unite!

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  10. Marie, this is your writing voice coming through—the gently fierce one that shares from the depths. We are transformed by reading your story and feeling what you feel. By expecting the good with you. And it is so good, indeed. Every word.

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