P.S. I Love You

Expectations can kill relationships. An unspoken bar is set; a vision of what perfection entails becomes what must be. When Josh and I were in our pre-marital counseling, one of the exercises we participated in was systematically laying out those expectations we held as we entered into marriage.

Who would do what around the house?

How would we treat each other during a fight?

What would love look like?

Despite all of the talk about Meyers-Briggs results, love languages and family history, there was still something messy and complicated about two individuals coming together. Preparation is necessary, but incomplete. As much as we try, life cannot be scheduled and perfectly planned.

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As we enter into this final week of our 21-day fast, I find it appropriate that today is Valentines Day. A day for love. When we sacrifice, voluntarily go without, it becomes difficult to not grow distracted by our very sacrifices. To forget the reason behind the sacrifice. Rather we think:

Look what I’m leaving behind. See how I’ve worked for you. I will show you my love and devotion through my actions.

Expectations then come into play; reciprocation becomes the name of the game. God, you must show up in the way I need because of what I’ve done for You.

When really, it’s all about love. Drawing near to the One whose love for us can not be measured, contained or broken. Setting aside the checks and balances that try to keep everything even.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. {John 15:13}

Hasn’t He really made the bigger sacrifice? Can anything we do compare? Isn’t it all praise from this point forward?

We love because He first loved us. {1 John 4:19}

This weekend I allowed myself to be caught up in a tornado of ingratitude. My mind spun out of control, focusing on those things I felt deprived of. Rather than abiding in the perfect will of my Father, I wrestled and fidgeted in it. The focus became the sacrifice and not the love behind it. This morning as I woke, I felt like the auto-focus had righted the picture. Once again to know God was the goal:

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… {Philippians 3:7-8}

As this week progresses, my desire is to be less focused on the sacrifice;

to set aside my expectations for what God will do, and instead listen to the love story He would tell.

Have your expectations for God gotten in the way of what He’s doing?

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24 thoughts on “P.S. I Love You

  1. Melissa, this is so challenging for me. So often I do things (fasting aside, but rather things like serving at church, praying for people, reading my bible) and focus on two things: 1) what I’m giving up (the sacrifice, like you said), and 2) the end result. Both don’t necessarily focus on what God may be doing in my heart. In example #1, I make it about me. In example #2, I make it about my effort. Thanks for the reminder today!

    • I’m glad to find I’m not alone in this. The main thing I’ve discovered during this fast is that God isn’t concerned about my sacrifices, my agenda, or the things I hope to gain. He’s focused on building our relationship and teaching me more about Him, and who I am in Him. Thanks for sharing, Dustin! :)

  2. “This weekend I allowed myself to be caught up in a tornado of ingratitude. ”

    me too friend… me too… when does this thing called marriage get easier? :)

    • Does it? Haha! Does that sound cynical? I guess I meant it in the, “you appreciate what you work for” vein. :) I would rather be fighting for us than fighting with him; which goes the same for my relationship with God. Hope you and the Gumpee have a fabulous day today! :)

  3. I just want to be satisfied knowing that God is my inheritance. Not His gifts, not his blessings, He! Secretly I want God and land. Yikes!

  4. “Can anything we do compare?”

    That’s the ultimate way to humble yourself, IMO. When you step back and honestly ask yourself that question there’s no way if you’re truly wanting to put God first to say “yes” in anything. Great post. :)

    • Thanks, Jason! It is humbling to remember all that God has done for me, and embarrassing to realize how ungratefully I accept His gifts. I’m sure glad God doesn’t get fed up with me the way I do with my kids when they’re acting spoiled. :)

  5. I get things built up in my mind of how things should go and it messes me up until I realize that He’s much better at planning all this out than me. Great reminder, Melissa. Thanks.

  6. This is so good Melissa! Expectations definitely kill relationships. Especially when they are unspoken.

    This may sound like semantics but I try to live my life with “expectancy” rather than with “expectation”. Expectancy is full of hope for good things and allowing it to be any and everything. Expectation has something specific in mind and when that it not met, you are left in disappointment. I know God is good, so even if things don’t work out the way I have in my mind, I walk in expectancy that He is going to work it out for the good.

    • Tony, my bff is always telling me this same idea: live with expectancy, not expectation! I love that! And, He is always faithful to outdo my expectations anyway, even if I think otherwise.

    • I like your semantics. Expectancy is very different than expectation. I read a quote the other day from Tozer that said pretty much what you were saying, we know that God is good so we should not be fearful in praying to Him because whatever He gives us will be to our benefit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tony! :)

  7. Nothing I expect can compare to the reality of God’s love for me. And yet, I build up notions in my mind of how things should work, and I can become disillusioned when things workout differently. I am with you wholeheartedly in desiring to set aside me and my ideas in order to see, hear, and know the true story of God’s love for me.

  8. Hasn’t He really made the bigger sacrifice? Can anything we do compare? Isn’t it all praise from this point forward?

    Preach it, sista!! Amen, amen, and amen!

    I don’t know where this idea of comparison comes from because it is total bologna sandwiches. Just came over from Michael Perkins blog about reciprocity…where do we ever get off thinking that we’ve done enough for God, or that we could ever do enough? I’m so grateful that He says there is NOTHING we can do to repay Him. He has done it all.

    • But how easily we fall into that mindset! We value our contributions, our sacrifices, our deeds, and feel that He should too. Isn’t it the “good” child who does what their parent asks and gets good grades that gets the reward. There are times in my parenting where I feel like I should treat my children more like God treats me, but I get scared because I want to control them. God is so gracious and open handed with us, giving to us freely and asking nothing in return.

  9. We all get me centered sometimes – but your heart clearly points out Melissa. It is all about love. You love. God smiles.

    And I said a prayer for you. :)

    God Bless.

  10. So true, that expectations kill relationships. If only I’d known that BEFORE getting married! Nope, instead I’ve had to learn it the hard way. Thank God He’s patient with us and loves us to understanding and wisdom. (Not that I’m saying I’m wise. Just a little bit wiser than I used to be.) :)

    • Oh, I have so much to say about that!!! But, I am saving it for next week. Our 10 year anniversary is next Thursday and I think I’m going to spend the entire week displaying the stupid newlywed things I did, in the hopes of others avoiding those same pitfalls. :) Haha! I wonder what stupid things I’ll do this decade that I’ll look back on at 20 years.

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