My name is Adam Jones.
My wife is Grace, we’ve been married for just over 13 years.
Story – Our first date
Amy asked out, went to church, sprayed foam
I’ve never really asked her, but I’m going to guess that our first date was not what Grace expected…
We have 3 kids – Andrew, Seth and Chase
Story – Foster Care
Over the past couple years, we’ve had 9 foster children through our home.
Although we never say it quite this bluntly, coming to our home is a study in expectation and frustration.
None of them woke up and decided to expect the turns life gave them.
If you visit my home, you’ll see a wall with our family photos on it.
It’s probably not much different from the wall in your home, other than it has an overwhelming number of kids on it.
And most of them ended up in my family because somewhere along the line, their expectations were crushed.
I’m curious… If you’re really honest, how many of you aren’t getting what you expected out of life?
Maybe it’s your marriage or your kids or your job or your school or your health, but how many of you just aren’t experiencing what you thought you would?
Especially you ladies… You spent your whole childhood planning your marriage/family but the reality is just nothing like what you expected…
Or men… You thought you’d graduate high school, fly through college, get a job, make $60,000, have an awesome house, a 3 car garage and spend your free time playing pool with the guys in the Man Cave…
Students… You’re not exempt… School is supposed to be easy and you’re supposed to be popular, have a hot girlfriend/boyfriend and be driving your very own brand new car…
Frustration is the gap between what we EXPECT and what we EXPERIENCE.
Sometimes we lower our expectation so that it’s easier to meet and when that happens, we’re miserable.
Our expectations DEFINE what our experience.
If our expectations are met, the experience is great…but if our expectations remain unmet/unfulfilled, the experience leaves us wanting…frustrated.
Our expectations define what we’re LOOKING FOR in the experience.
Some of you came to church tonight expecting to get something good from God and expecting to give something to God…service, enthusiasm, money, etc. and you’re going to have an incredible experience.
Others of you came expecting the bare minimum and that’s what you’re going to get…you’ll check the “I attended church” box and maybe get an inspirational thought or two, but that’s it.
Luke 10:38-41 (p. 725)
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- I cannot expect what I do not express.
Some of us would just start banging around pots and pans and keep getting louder until someone sat up and noticed that something was wrong in the kitchen.
- 38 -> Martha opened her home. If she hadn’t done that, Mary wouldn’t have anyone to listen to. If Martha isn’t busy, we’re not eating.
The very thing that made Martha effective is backfiring because she’s trying to impose a standard on someone else that may or may not be their calling.
Martha is expecting a behavior that has never been discussed or agreed upon.
Example – Your husband/wife isn’t a mind reader
How many nights do you and your spouse spend NOT talking to each other because you came home and an unexpressed expectation wasn’t met?
If you expect dinner at a certain time, you better say it out loud.
If you expect your husband to fold laundry, you better say it out loud – (cause we won’t on our own).
If you expect your kids to be quiet, you better say it out loud.
If you expect your boss to consider you for a promotion, you better say it out loud.
When we sign contracts, we make sure every little detail is spelled out so that there aren’t any surprises down the road…but when it comes to the people closest to us, we’re often willing to just “wing it” and assume they’ll know what we want.
- I cannot define anyone else’s relationship with God.
Sometimes we’re disappointed because we expect everyone else to express their love for God and their love for us in the same way we like to express it.
Sometimes we get burdened by something, convicted that something should happen, but then we want to put that burden..that conviction..on someone else.
- 40 -> Martha was distracted and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister…”
Don’t put your perception of God’s expectations on others. This is where frustrations begin.
This is why a lot of husbands/wives are frustrated. We think we’re authorized to negotiate with God for other people. But the truth is, in the end, I have to stand before God and you have to stand before God for what we each do.
Example – “Church Worship/Clothing/Class/Lighting Wars”
Churches actually fight and split over stupid things like…
the style of music or
how people dress or
whether there’s Sunday School or Small Groups or
how the lights are in the worship room or
whether it’s called a “Sanctuary” or an “Auditorium”
Story – My shoes, my socks, and my grandma
When I first started preaching, my grandma couldn’t stand that I wasn’t wearing dress socks and my shoes were properly polished. She actually didn’t come hear me preach once because of my shoes and socks.
- I cannot pull others into my dysfunction.
Did you know… You can be so dysfunctional that you don’t even know it.
If everyone is always wrong…and no one gets it but you…and every relationship ends…then maybe you’re the common denominator.
- 42 -> Jesus says, “Martha, you’re worried about many things but Mary has chosen well.”
Sometimes you get frustrated with people because they refuse to get overcommitted like you are. Martha says, “Can’t Mary come in here in the kitchen and be frustrated like I am???”
Martha is all worked up but Jesus says, “Martha…Martha…Martha…the problem isn’t Mary.”
Sometimes we’re so dysfunctional that we’ll actually start to HATE stable people because they’re not as crazy as we are.
It may not be your expectation of everyone else that’s the problem. It may be your expectation of yourself.
Story – I’m a workaholic
I tend to be a workaholic and for a long time, it would tick me off that I was the only one still at work at 8 pm. Or I have this little habit of going into our worship area every Saturday night from 9 pm – midnight just to go over last minute details and make sure I’m set and focused for the morning, and it used to annoy me a little that no one else was quite that dedicated.
My old habit of working 70 or more hours a week was completely unhealthy but it seemed completely natural to me and sometimes, I just couldn’t figure out why no one else agreed.
- The greatest source of my frustration with others is my confusion of God’s expectations of me.
Martha – Gotta cook…gotta clean…gotta get ready…Jesus is coming.
Martha said, “Jesus, don’t you care about all the trouble I went to to get ready for you?”
Jesus said, “Martha, don’t you care that I’m here?”
Standards are good…don’t go to work tomorrow and say, “I’m just trying to have a ‘Mary’ spirit.” Mary didn’t have a house. And you won’t have a job.
When’s the last time you clarified God’s expectations of you?
So many of the wounds that come from my expectations begin because I’m really just frustrated with the wrong way I think of God’s expectations for me.
Instead of wanting Jesus to fix your expectations of other people, maybe what you really need is for Jesus to fix your expectation of you. And then your expectations of others will reflect Jesus’ heart and expectations for them.
Sidenote – Jesus doesn’t care first and foremost what you do
Your greatest value to Jesus is NOT in what you do. You are His son…His daughter…and His very first concern is that you are WITH Him. He’s not really concerned with whether you are wildly successful or a miserable failure. He says, “Come be with me and I will make you into what you were meant to be.” So often when we try to work it out ourself, it becomes out identity and once our work becomes our identity, Jesus can’t be anymore.
So…when’s the last time you stopped to work out Jesus’ expectation of you? He expects you to be His…with Him…looking like Him…trusting Him…following Him…listening to Him.
Go ahead and work hard…but do it after you’ve sorted out who you really are.
You’re not an electrician…you’re the image of God.
You’re not a secretary…you’re the image of God.
You’re not a stay at home mom…you’re the image of God.
You’re not a mechanic…you’re the image of God.
Don’t let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience.
God has a plan for you…He wants you to thrive…He wants you to prosper…He wants you to succeed.
But too many of us are so wrapped up in the wounds of misplaced expectations that we refuse to embrace the joy of living on the cutting edge of His Kingdom.
God has a plan for you and that plan is for you soar in life. You were made for great things but Satan has a plan for you too… His plan is for you to put your head down, hide in a corner, and wait for it to be over. Satan wants you to fail, to hurt, to fear, to hide, to hate. And he’ll get to you by crushing you through your misplaced expectations.
God wants you to experience a life that is full of joy…a life that is fulfilled by living in His family…His Kingdom. That’s why He sent His Son away from all the riches and comforts of Heaven to experience the mess and pain and disappointments of our world. That’s why He sent His Son to the cross to die in our place. Jesus died so that we could experience something we could never earn on our own.
Don’t let Satan convince you to expect anything other than that.
The good news is YOU GET TO MAKE A CHOICE.
You don’t get to choose what yesterday looks like…that day’s already passed. But you DO get to choose what today looks like…and tomorrow…and the day after that.
Bad things are going to happen…sin promises that…but great things can be born out of great pain…IF you fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our lives.
When we all fix our eyes on the same place and lay our expectations at His feet, we’re building a wall around our families…our church…and together we’re running, living on the cutting edge of the Kingdom right here in Clermont County.