Have you ever felt the pain of rejection because you did not measure up to someone else’s expectation?
I heard the words, “the expectation box” this morning and began to think about how we measure ourselves by the expectation’s others have of us and how we expect others to measure up to our expectations of them. The result is a sad case of rejection which sirs up anger, hurt, and all sorts of accusations against ourselves or the people who “failed” to meet our expectation.
Scripture says that we should not join in with those who are in the habit of comparing others to their preconceived standards by which they compare others to themselves. When we compare, or measure, ourselves by ourselves (our own standards) or to those of others, we lack understanding. (2 Cor 10:12)
The expectation box is a box that you, the world, your spouse, your children, friends, etc., place around you that they expect you to mould or fit into. The problem is that no matter what you do to try and conform to those standards you will fail. This is because everyone’s box is different. One kind of behaviour is acceptable to one person and not to another. So, which is right? Neither!
There is only one “box” or image that you have been designed and created to fit into, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. And you don’t or cannot even do that by yourself. You need the Holy Spirit to help you do that. Jesus Himself was constantly expected to fit into the mould of the religious, political, and social society of His day. But not even Jesus, who was perfect in God’s sight would ever fit into any other mould placed upon Him. He only compared Himself to the Father and it would be wise for us to do the same.
The problem many of us have is that we don’t know what the Father’s expectation box looks like. But it is there and when you know it and work towards fitting into it you will find it is both easy and pleasant because He does not get angry with you while you are being changed and transformed into His image. God’s expectation box, called love, looks like this …
Love is patient and is kind; love is not envious and does not brag about itself and does not get all puffed up. Love does not behave disgracefully, does not seek its own things, endures all things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:4-8)
Now, if you try and compare yourself with this list you will initially feel like a complete failure. And that’s where the problem comes in. You cannot compare your outward behaviour or the behaviour of others to this standard. If you try do it by comparison or by self-expectation, you will fail. This expectation box is God’s box, and only He can draw you into it. The first thing He does in drawing you into His “love box” is to love you without expectation. This is hard to imagine because we have been so programmed to “measure up.”
But at the same time, it is possible to attain God’s measure of love because He lives within you and you are one spirit with Him. The Holy Spirit draws you through the love of God into his image, which we are calling His love box. When you find His love, you will have a very hard time finding a box. Jesus leads you out of the comparison and rejection trap when you turn yourself towards Him and allow Him to love you as you are.
When you learn the truths that God is patient and kind towards you, that He does not make you feel “small” when you come to Him, that he is looking for your best interests and not His, that He is willing to endure with you while you are learning (and continues to be patient and kind in the process), that He is delighted in you and that it is not easy for you to make Him angry or disappointed, that He does not see you as evil or full of iniquity and sin, then you will discover that it is easy to snuggle into His mould for you.
The Lord believes in you, has hope and faith in you, will always endure with you and draw you deeper and deeper into His amazing love.
I pray for your freedom and deliverance from any and all expectation boxes that have held you captive and that you fall into God’s love box from where there is no escape.
With deep love and affection.
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