I’m beginning to realize something as we’re nearing the halfway point of the summer. First of all, why is it the halfway point of summer already??!? But I digress…
At the beginning of June just before my children finished the academic year, I was looking forward to some relaxation. I set myself up with the expectation that the summer months would be a time to relax a bit, a time where there are fewer meetings and fewer activities.
And then summer actually hit.
In early June, my sister came out for a visit from Nebraska. Shortly after, we had other friends visit from Nebraska. Then the kids got out of school and then there was Annual Conference. After Annual Conference, one of the kids’ cousins stayed over for a week and then Beth and I celebrated our Anniversary with special meals, jet skis, and kayaks (though not all on the same day).
Somewhere in there, I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of a dear friend. And all of this was before leaving for a week of Jr. High Camp!
And that’s when Pride happened. If you don’t know all of the things that happened at Pride, get the slightest glimpse in the sermon from July 19th. You can find it on our website by clicking here. Spoiler alert: it was all worth it!
And so here we are at nearly halfway through the summer, and already expectations have been completely blown out of the water. Even if this isn’t every San Diegan’s experience this particular summer, perhaps it’s something we can all relate to. Many people have an expectation of what a particular book or movie might hold. Those privileged to be married or have children likely had an expectation of what those relationships would be like, and many of us had to readjust rather quickly! Expectations can be confirmed or denied when we test drive cars, when we listen to our favorite artist’s new album, when we try a new recipe, and when we see a celebrity or political candidate interviewed on T.V. (or YouTube, etc.).
I’m not trying to say that it’s a bad thing to have expectations. We simply have to be flexible. When something doesn’t go the way we expect, we have to readjust. We have to reschedule and reassess and recover and respond. Getting stuck in an expectation can sometimes mean that we’re stuck in denial.
On the other hand, expectations can be great.
Positive expectations can give us hope. We can have special things or people to look forward to, particular circumstances that we may anticipate with joy and excitement. Expectations can give us ways to set lofty goals, to have visions and to dream dreams. Expectations can help us to keep focus, to remain within carefully crafted boundaries, and to reach as far and as high and as wide as possible.
I submit that we all may be called to maintain healthy and lofty expectations for the work that God is doing in PB UMC and within our own lives and communities. I believe that we are called to dream beyond limitations and to have faith in a God who continues to surprise us, who continues to renew our perspective and break down our barriers.
Let us expect hope and peace, let us be filled with excitement and joy, and let us have visions and dream dreams. Let us continually focus on God’s call and the many ways God equips us to carry out this call. And then let us break free of even these expectations in the grace and infinite goodness of the One who makes all things possible.
May we all know God’s grace and love…