o you ever have big dreams or deep desires that remain unfulfilled no matter what you do? I know I do. What’s funny though is that our plans almost never turn out how we think they should. Through experiencing those unmet expectations, I’ve grown more deeply in my relationship with the Lord and have learned that His ways and timing are always best.
What did I think my life would look like after meeting the love of my life? I thought we would get married, Adam would get a great job, we would live in the San Francisco Bay Area, buy a house, have a couple of kids, and just be your typical American family. Well, as it usually is, God’s plan was entirely different.
Instead of the life I envisioned, our first few years of marriage had serious marriage struggles, extremely tight finances, and Adam was struggling to find a job. In the midst of all of this, I lost my job, we had some pretty intense situations with in-laws, and I was battling anxiety. It seemed as if we hit every obstacle we could possibly hit.
There was a piece of me that felt entitled to be granted my expectations for our life. I felt like we deserved to have things be easy–or at least get easier–since we had been through so much. I was angry with God for how difficult things had been. The days, weeks, and months felt endless. It felt as if we just had one struggle after another. I felt like I couldn’t even catch my breath before something else came crashing down.
I had a choice to make
In those times I had to decide whether I was going to continue being frustrated that life wasn’t adhering to expectations or whether I was going to shift my perspective. God doesn’t call us to an easy life; He calls us into full submission to Him (Luke 21:12-18, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:6).
Instead of staying frustrated, I chose to shift my perspective.
Over the next few months, God worked in my heart and helped me to lean into the hurts and the struggles. God transformed my anger into a heart desperately seeking His comfort. I still struggled with anxiety and the continuous tough situations, but I saw God as my advocate and I knew He was with me and for me (Isaiah 41:10). I wasn’t on the journey alone.
If we stick to our plans and choose our own will, then we will never experience the fullness of life that God has planned for us. But if we seek God and ask Him to speak into our brokenness, then He will use any situation for His glory and bring good from it (Romans 8:28). That doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain, but it does mean that God will use it for His greater purpose. The truth is that we grow in the midst of our struggles. Struggles help us to cling to Him and seek Him. If we come to Him with a submissive heart, the struggles can be where we have the most intimate encounters with our Heavenly Father.
Can we truly trust God?
Yes! That is the beauty of who God is. He is constant when our feelings are fleeting (Malachi 3:6). He is the ultimate security. With that being said, we have to trust Him with His plan, not our own.
In the midst of loneliness and brokenness, here are a few things that might help:
- Focus on the attributes of God’s character
- Look to God
- Be honest with God
Read Psalm 23 and put your name into the verses.
“The Lord is __________’s shepherd…”
Click here for a PDF version of Psalm 23 that you can easily personalize.
It’s ok to be angry or disappointed. He can handle anything that you bring to Him. If you look at David’s prayers to God in the Psalms, he is raw, honest, and vulnerable. God wants the same thing from you. He won’t judge your honesty, He just wants a deeper relationship with you.
God is kind and He is constant. His love is unwavering. He is gentle and wants to walk through life with you. He has a plan for your life. God loves you just as you are. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less than He does at this very moment. That is such a freeing thought!
God is going to use situations to shape us into who He wants us to be and He is going to use situations to lead us to His will. God uses our struggles and unmet expectations to intensify our insecurities so that He can help heal them. Be willing to see unmet expectations as an opportunity to go on an adventure with God. All He needs is an open heart.
Do you have a story about unmet expectations that God used for good? Share with us in the comments below…