Letting go of what we love is often an incredibly painful process. To deny what once gave us pleasure and joy can be the most difficult act asked of us. In the rhythm of life, losing what we work to cling so closely to is often necessary in order to be welcomed into a new beginning that we may or may not have known we needed.
Recently I have found myself having to let go of expectations. Expectations I had for myself and expectations I had for others. I created this world inside my head, this world that included a version of myself I was trying so hard to step into. I had it all figured out, the kind of life I was certain I could be fulfilled in. Now it was just time for me to mold myself into that person, to start wrestling my desires and thoughts into this tiny box of where I was sure God needed me to be.
Instead of finding purpose and meaning, I found anxiety and a severe lack of self confidence because I wasn’t created to live up to the expectations in my head. I found myself micromanaging situations, relationships, and conversations to fit this perceived version of myself, worrying incessantly about future decisions and forgetting that whole trusting God thing. It’s draining not being able to live up to your own expectations because then you actually become your own worst critic.
My expectations had manifested into a messy reality and it was only through the death of this reality that I could experience freedom and peace and hope and contentment in being who I was created to be. I had to deny my own expectations and desires for the relationships and life I thought I wanted, finding myself humbled and broken in the moments proceeding this loss.
But in the space left over, I found hope. A lot of it. And excitement has been bubbling up within me as I am learning to trust my place in the overall Story of the Gospel. As I meditate on the life of Jesus and the life we are called to, the more I’m recognizing the idea of letting go being reiterated throughout Scripture. Several times throughout the Gospels, Jesus calls us lose our expectations and ideals for life and instead to find it in Him (Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33). This idea of letting go is not new, but it certainly is revolutionary in our daily lives.
I believe that starting to let go of our lives in the way Jesus calls us to starts with letting go of the expectations we create in our minds. The expectations that we aren’t meant to live up to, that will create disappointment and failure. It is through the death of these expectations, and the messy realities that come with them, that we can start to truly live. We are promised that we cannot comprehend what God has promised for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). Our expectations and perceived scenarios of what we want cannot measure up. We are called to be. To live moment by moment in the life and expectations God created and to rest in the assurance of the Gospel of grace, joy, peace, and hope. God promises us a full life, but we must deny our own expectations and adhere to His in order to find it.