While driving in a slow lane one day I asked myself, “Why am I suffering in this lane?”. The lane beside me wasn’t clear of cars, but they were moving more efficiently than the cars were in the lane I was barely cruising in. So, what did I do? I honestly don’t remember, but I hope I put on my turn signal and swiftly transitioned into the faster lane so I could arrive at my destination on time!
Other people’s expectations can be like cars surrounding you and impeding your progress. You’re trying to make it to your purpose on time, but people who love and care about you and some who don’t, have stated and unstated expectations for how you should live and discern God’s plan for your life.
One principle I’m learning is that purpose cannot excel without authenticity. I have to use the gifts God has blessed me with to accomplish what God has made me to accomplish. In order to fulfill my purpose, I cannot live to impress people, look for approval from others or allow others opinions to prevent me from going after my heart’s desire.
I realize every heart’s desire is not a godly desire; some desires come straight from the flesh and have nothing at thing to do with God’s desires for your life. So, how do I determine what is a godly desire and what is a selfish desire? A godly desire will bring glory to God, spread knowledge of Him, and benefit His people, His church. A selfish desire primarily satisfies you and does not bring glory to God or help His people, His church.
Before I truly started to focus on creating and recording songs I’ve written, I directed the singing group at my local congregation. I eventually felt led to step away from the group and from being the director to focus on singing to the world the songs God placed in me. I felt guilty for wanting to work on my own music and felt I was betraying those in the group who truly valued the fellowship time we spent together at each practice.
No one ever said anything to make me feel I had to continue leading the chorus; I actually put most of the pressure on myself because I have an intense dislike for letting people down. Most may refer to this syndrome as being a “people pleaser”. Had I not taken the first step toward my purpose and stepped away from leading the chorus, I could have been stuck in the slow lane delaying my own progress toward living in my purpose. The pressure of fulfilling expectations can truly keep you from experiencing all God has for you, and it continues to threaten me.
I’m not expected to pursue music with my whole heart. I’m not expected to leave the safety of a consistent paycheck to pursue a dream. But if the dream is of God, am I being disobedient by not leaving? If it’s a God dream, isn’t it already done if I just leave the expectations placed upon me by others and myself and cleave to His promises by faith?
All biblical examples and teachings communicate that faith requires action. Big faith requires unprecedented action. Do we as Christians live life too safely?
I believe God will work within the faith we choose to put in Him. Think about the miracles Jesus performed. Those who believed they needed a touch to be healed, were healed by touch.
Those who believed healing could happen by Jesus speaking a word, witnessed healing by Jesus just saying a word! It’s interesting to note that those who asked God for a touch were primarily Jews, who were considered God’s chosen people. Shouldn’t God’s people have overflowing faith in God’s ability to deliver, heal, and fulfill?
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV). We don’t have the imaginative capacity to make believe all God can do through us and for us; we can’t do it! Whatever we think He can do, He can do more. And that is amazing!
Do we truly believe in God’s ability to work and accomplish things in our lives that are beyond our own ability to imagine? Do I truly believe in God’s ability to work and accomplish things in my life that goes beyond my own ability to imagine and beyond the rules of logic and common sense? Will I continue to allow other people’s expectations and finite faith in the power of God keep me from leaving the “path of expectation” to pursue the “path of immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”?
And most importantly, will you?