Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said.
“We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
- 1 Samuel 16:11
Expectations destroyed me.
Growing up, my time and energy was focused on trying to be like everyone else. I joined the basketball team (even though I couldn’t shoot a decent two pointer); I threw shot put and discus in track (even though I never placed); and I joined FFA (even though I didn’t understand anything about farming).
Why did I do these things?
Because, where I’m from, that’s what every teenager did, and I thought everyone expected me to be like them. So, I became the person I thought everyone wanted, and it destroyed me.
It took my confidence (because I wasn’t good at any of it); it made me question my self-worth; it made me miserable. But, at the same time, I hated who I actually was and what I was good at.
I was the girl who sat at home reading, writing, and re-watching every Jane Austen movie in existence.
But why did I hate these parts of my personality? It’s because I based my worth on the presumed expectations of the people around me. I thought they wanted me to be athletic and agricultural. But now, looking back, I realized that my friends and my family only wanted me to be me. Yes, they came and supported me at my games, but the day I published my first book or gave my first presentation on Jane Austen--they cheered for me because they knew I was doing what I was meant to.
Just as expectations destroyed my life, expectations were also a hindrance in King David’s life. When Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel, he only knew that is was one of Jesse’s sons. As Samuel entered Jesse’s home, Samuel expected one of David’s older brothers (handsome and strong) to be the next king. And why wouldn’t he? Samuel anointed Saul--a man who was described as “the most handsome man in Israel--head to shoulders taller than anyone else in the land” (1 Samuel 9:2).
Samuel based his expectation of the next king based upon the former king, but as the Lord reminded Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
With these instructions, the Lord led Samuel to anoint David (the shepherd and the youngest brother) to be king.
The world is full of expectations, and sometimes, we center our life around them. We want to be what the world deems successful, what the world deems beautiful, but if we live our life based upon those expectations, we will miss out on our unique purpose and design. The world has one expectation, but the Lord has another.
What does the Lord expect?
He expects you to be 100% uniquely you. He wants you to do what He has called you to. He doesn’t want you to be what everyone else is; He wants you to be whatever you were meant to be--just like He wanted David to be king.
After a few years, I gave my jersey back to my coach; I put the shot put and discus away; and I retired my FFA jacket and placed it in the back of my closet. Then, I began to read more, write stories, and continuously re-watch those Jane Austen movies. I stepped away from the expectations and became me, and finally, I had joy in my life.
Be you, my dear friend. Put away the expectations that bind you and start living out your unique purpose. It will be worth it; I promise.
What expectations are you placing on yourself?
How can you begin to give up those expectations and become uniquely you?
Abba, I get so lost in the world’s expectations, and I forget that You have expectations for my life as well. You want me to find joy; You want me to be content. But, Abba, as I try to mold myself into the world’s expectations, I lose sight of who I truly want to be. Help me to throw away the expectations I have placed on my life and choose Your expectations. Abba, You don’t expect me to be anything but who I am. You love me for who I am. You created me to be who I am. No longer will I live by the world’s expectations. Today, I choose to follow Your expectations. Today, I choose to finally be me. I love You, Abba. Amen.
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