I spent the weekend purging unwanted items and unworn clothes from my closet shelves and bathroom drawers. I filled seven (seven!) trash bags and three giant totes with “things.” Things that caused me stress and frustration whenever I entered the small, cluttered space. Why have I held onto pants that no longer fit and heels I’ll never wear? Now, the space is a little more barren and I feel a lot less frazzled upon entering. I feel physically lighter after releasing the things that have gone unused for so long.
As Lent approaches, I find myself drawn to this concept of release.
My soul longs for a season devoted to the release of rushing and anger and frustration and comparison. How I desire to fill that space in my life with intentionality and white space open for spontaneity and gentleness and loving words of affirmation.
A season of contentment.
Rising fastest to the surface of this murky pool of release: expectations.
I continually find myself striving to find a way to fix my relationship with my daughter. A relationship rooted in brokenness and loss, a foundation in desperate need of security and trust. I’ve read the books and watched the seminars, I’ve attended conferences, and logged hours upon hours in a therapist’s office working on attachment. Yet, still, I feel the shaky ground beneath my feet, ready to give way at any moment.
My expectations for where we should be by now, nearing three years home, are unmet. My expectations for how I should feel, always fall short. My expectations for her behavior, rarely become reality. My expectations for affection and response to strangers and learning … missing the mark.
I’m fed up with the brokenness and the hurting and the mess. I know, I agreed to step into the pain and the hurting, but enough already. I want my comfortable, predictable life back.
The crux of laying down our lives and picking up our cross daily is that we actually have to lay down our life and pick up our cross. We have to release our own expectations based on earthly, temporary things and seek His. Jesus never promised this life would be easy and, in my humanity, I often forget that important detail. I want to read the verses promising good things and light burdens and rest for my weary soul and overlook the ones that remind me that I will face many hardships in this life.
He drew me out of my comfortable, predictable life for a purpose. A purpose He had planned for me long, long ago. A purpose bigger than me and my silly expectations and smily instagram-worthy photos. His healing hand is always at work. He is the author of life and redemption is His finest display of glory. Yet, redemption doesn’t come swiftly or easily.
We want God to do a big thing, while God is planning to do a small thing. We are impressed by the big and loud. God is not. We are in a hurry. God is not. We want God to act fast, but Godspeed is almost always slow. — Brian Zahnd
This season of Lent will find me daily releasing my expectations (more than likely, this will be a moment by moment release). I’ll spend these forty days digging up hope from the hardened soil where I’ve been slowly burying it, one shovel-full at a time. I will believe God for the impossible once again. I will trust in the abundance of God’s loving kindness. And I will remain absolutely convinced that God can heal and redeem every single bit of brokenness. Not in my time, but in His: slowly, gently, purposefully; Godspeed.