“I feel like I’ve worked through my relationship with God pretty well. I don’t doubt the things I used to, and I’m now 100% confident in his affection for me. My problem is humans. They’re fickle and unreliable and unsafe.”
He just laughed at me, probably for a whole minute. It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting – I was being completely serious. But he chuckled and said, “Well, that’s a funny thing to say.” And then he said something else that I’ve been carrying around in my heart for the last few weeks; something that keeps coming up when my [unreasonable] expectations of other people aren’t met.
“You’re thinking of this the wrong way. If this is a cake, you’ve cut it in half making one side ‘God’s side’ and the other side ‘everyone else’s side’. You say, ‘I’ve got the God side figured out, now I just need the other side to complete my cake.’ God’s love and acceptance isn’t half of the cake – it’s the whole cake. If you’re expecting to find the right group of friends or the right guy to complete the other side of the cake, you’ll never find it. Everything else other than who He is is icing on the cake – a blessing to be thankful for, not something you’re entitled to.”
I still heave a loud sigh every time I go back and read that portion of my rapidly scribbled journal entry after our session. I didn’t think that one of the first things my therapist would tell me was that I needed to lower my expectations. But here I am, two weeks later, still processing that one thought. Still unsure how to adapt to that method of thinking.
In relationships, I expect authenticity, grace, genuine concern, maturity, consistency. In reality, I’m bathed daily in His authenticity, grace, genuine concern, maturity, consistency. Any other expressions of these qualities should be considered a surplus, not a source of sustenance. I get frustrated with people quickly because the expectations I have of them are less about healthy relationships and more about looking for sustenance where it can’t be found.
Somehow, I believe this way of thinking makes you a more grateful person. If I don’t think I’m entitled to certain things, and if I live with the awareness that I already possess the things I so desperately crave, then everything else becomes a gift and the absence of certain things doesn’t leave me with an emotional deficit.
At least that sounds nice in theory. I’m still struggling to see the whole cake instead of the unsatisfactory half-cake mirage I’ve been looking at for years.