I think it is fair to say that life is often a bit of a rollercoaster! Events do not always pan out as we had expected and we often find our views and perspectives challenged by people, or the events or the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Today we come to the last letter of the word Race, and we are going to focus on ‘E’ for expectations and enjoyment! As you have reflected back over the past year and looked at where you find yourself, as the new year gets under way, you may have already considered your expectations in the process!
Let’s take a moment or two to look more closely at expectations. Some years there are really clear and predictable expectations on the horizon, for example leaving school, starting/finishing university, getting married, the birth of a child, to name but a few! We can prepare and plan for expectations such as these. Doing so often enables us to transition through the change they bring into our lives more smoothly.
- •Are there any such changes looming on the horizon for you this coming year?
- If so, how do you feel about them? Daunted? Challenged? Excited?
- What does your previous experience give you/show you as you anticipate these?
- How do you plan to prepare for them?
Then there are the unexpected events and circumstances that impact us.
There is no way of knowing what these will be or when they will occur, unless God gives us divine revelation!
So we need not expend time and energy on hypothesising about them. But we can look back on those we have experienced, in the previous year, to gain insight and encouragement about the way we handled them and how we grew and developed through them.
One of the most important aspects of expectations is that they are realistic.
We need to have realistic expectations, not only of ourselves, but also of those around us. When our expectations are unrealistic, then we can be setting ourselves up for disappointment and difficulty!
I have often pondered on the theme of expectations in the last few years, as I find myself in totally different circumstances to those I had expected to be in, at this stage of the journey! I did not expect to have retired by now, and I definitely never expected to have a heart disease!! But, this is where I find myself and I can honestly say, despite transitory frustration at my physical limitations at times, I am content and I can see the whole episode as ultimately one of blessing and God’s abundant provision.
With a change in the pace of daily living I have also pondered more on the theme of enjoyment. I can see that often I have been so busy providing/facilitating enjoyable events/times for family and friends that I have not taken time to pursue activities and pastimes that are solely for my own enjoyment. One of the outcomes of a recent silent retreat was to develop a new rhythm of daily life, one which includes new activities and events… so far so good and I have experienced a greater sense of enjoyment as a result!
Paul in on one of his letters to Timothy writes, “…. hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV) The writer of Ecclesiastes makes various comments about enjoying life too. “So I commend the enjoyment of life,because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life Go has given him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15 NIV )
So, take a few minutes to ponder on what gives you enjoyment and then take steps to ensure that you have time to participate in activities and events that are enjoyable and life-giving for you!
Keep running the race marked out for you… with enjoyment!