It’s not on the days that we are feeling spiritual and connected that we can gauge our growth, but those days when the heart hurts, the body aches or the back account is short. I find it really easy to be a beacon of light, shining for all to see the sunlight of the spirit when things are going my way and life is presented in an easy and carefree manner. But that’s not where the true litmus test resides.
As I go deeper inside to look at root causes of my actions, the survey of motives behind my moves are not as noble they may appear on the outside. All too often I am taking action which will win me the approval of others, and when it doesn’t come, I revolt. It’s not that I have unrealistic expectations, but rather that I have any expectations whatsoever.
Expectations for me are a dangerous thing. It sets me up to anticipate the outcome of a situation, when most times I am not qualified to determine what the ‘best’ outcome for me looks like. It’s all well and good to have positive anticipation about events, but if I simply do the footwork and leave the results up to God, there would be no need for looking forward to any result.
When I was a young, I always looked forward to the holidays, for I knew my older siblings would return with their families and I could spend time with the people I truly adored. I would get all worked up about their arrival, chomping at the bit with eager anticipation. By the time my family members had arrived, I had blown the anticipation into such frenzy that I couldn’t just enjoy the moment and stay present. All too soon the day was over, the guests had left, and I was holding an emptiness that felt the size of a black hole.
I think that I looked forward to seeing family in the hopes that somehow they could bring joy into my life and a lasting happiness. I carried this believe well into adulthood, and have just recently begun to realize what an unexpressed burden I had placed on all of my siblings. As I learn to release this expectation and wish for fulfillment from an external source, I am better able to enjoy being present and relishing in the experience that is presented.
That same expectation holds true for visiting friends during this period of recharge for me. If I set up an expectation of what it will bring, that same disappointment inevitably follows. But if I remain focused on the present at all times, and simply experience the joy and surprise of each moment, then I come out of the experience feeling refreshed and energized rather than relieved and spent.
Just for today I will stay present and avoid expecting anything.