The Expectation

It never ceases to amaze me. And after a few times, you’d think I’d get it and my expectations would be lower. Maybe it’s the hope that runs deep, but I’m consistently disappointed, and yet, I try again. On a day that I have an errand or two, or a doctor appointment, or have to take two kids to dance, or one to soccer, etc., I leave a list of sorts for the others to accomplish. It may include homework, or dishes, or taking out the trash or cleaning something up. There’s times I’ve even text a list of items so I could cover multiple kids with a chore or two. It makes the expectation more apparent and no one can ever say they didn’t know exactly what was asked of them. However, it seems lately, that if I say “do the dishes”, I come home to “some” of the dishes done. Or if I say “take out the trash and shovel the chicken coop,” I come home to find only the trash done. I say clean the porch and maybe a chair or two gets put along side the tables, but the leaves and the falling pears are still on the ground. The direction is clear and is well understood but the effort doesn’t match the expectation.
The parent in me gets so annoyed that my kids don’t understand that there’s no hidden line, there’s no grey area, there’s no middle ground. There is a very specific expectation. I can imagine my Father God feels the same way about the children he created. And I couldn’t blame Him for being sadly disappointed. He really did give us clear expectations in His Word, and we skew it, or justify it, or omit what we don’t want to put under that expectation. At the end of the day, does He look at what we’ve accomplished and say, “you didn’t do what I really asked.” Let me give you a for instance. When scripture says “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is right, think on these things,” how do you think God feels when we watched a crime show on TV, or a drama with premarital sex or adultery? Because His standard is so absolute, and His expectation so clear, do you think he’s disappointed? When we let our kids watch gruesome scarey shows, or we visit haunted houses or decorate with items intended to scare or be grotesque, do you think He says, “what was my expectation?”
I’m not going to lie, I’m truly bothered by this. Some may just call me prudish or old fashioned, but I’m looking at the expectation and thinking what makes us different from the world if we don’t try to meet the expectation? Some may say, “you’re just being legalistic.” Legalism is an excessive adherence to the law. I don’t believe that to be the case. I’m talking just staying within the expectation. My own daughter came home from a Halloween party, and I looked at her face. She was supposedly a creepy clown. There wasn’t anything “pure, lovely, right or good” about it. Maybe it wasn’t awful. But I didn’t look at it and think it was anything within the expectation of “pure, lovely, right or good.”
Why haven’t we raised our personal best, our standard, to meet the expectation? Why do we choose to disappoint the Father by fulfilling only part of His expectation? Why do we tolerate ourselves indulging in anything less than “pure, lovely, right or good.” I don’t want to apologize anymore for hating TV drama’s, and haunted houses, and sleezy lyrics. I don’t want to apologize for expecting kids to be dressed decently and their language and the language of their peers to be “pure, lovely, right or good.” I don’t want to apologize for feeling in my soul that I am tolerating us disappointing the Father at the end of the day. I want people to understand His grace and mercy, in all of its glory. But we need to know His grace and mercy aren’t there as a means to behavior that is less than His expectation. It is a cover for us when we fail, but it is not a crutch while we fail!
What would it take to raise the expectations of ourselves to the expectation of the Father? Would you have to give up a TV series you watch? Would you have to drink without being drunk? Or give it up altogether if you couldn’t do that? Would you have to change the way you dress, or the way you talk? Would you have to let go of anger bitterness? Would you have to live in harmony with those around you? Would you have to work harder and faster? There are so many things in our own lives to examine in light of the expectation. What would you have to change to meet the expectation of “whatever is pure, lovely, right or good?” No more apologizing for keeping the lines of the expectation clear. I don’t care what the world will call me for my opinion, I only hope that when the expectation is this real and this clear, that He will call me faithful.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, ” Deuteronomy 6:18
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Romans 7:21-23

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