I got really upset while interacting with other Christians recently. I ended up leaving the conversation and going to the bathroom to cry tears of frustration and anger. Why?
I know in part it is b/c I am lonely. We are new to this area and my hubby and I have struggled to make friends- an anomaly for us. Yet here we are almost two years after moving and still struggling to make social connections.
The isolation gets to both of us at times- and I think it also increases my expectations for the limited social interactions that take place. And it can also make an unreturned phone call, or a rebuffed offer to get the kids together feel like a personal rejection.
This past week I was thinking about why I got so upset and was reduced to tears just b/c the conversation wasn’t going the way I hoped.
And I discovered- I had expectations for those other people. I had needs I wanted them to meet. And when they failed to see my need and/or to help me meet it- I became upset.
My frustration was stemming from a natural need. We all long for friends- for meaningful relationships- people we can trust. We seek encouragement and support along this journey of life.
But sometimes, we seek people to meet needs in our life that we should be looking to God to fill. I believe with all my heart that is in part why we have not made friendships here sooner.
God was trying to get my attention- make me realize that I have been depending on my social relationships to provide far beyond what God intended.
I wrote the following thoughts in my journal as God revealed this to me:
“I need to let go of my expectations of what I think people should provide for me- look to God to meet all my needs, to fill me, to satisfy me- to bring me contentment and peace. Even to be understood. Others will disappoint me- but God never does. (Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Peter 5:7)”
When we come into fellowship with other Christians with great expectations- we are hindered in our ability to be obedient to where God is leading us- how he wants to use us- because we are too busy thinking about how to meet our own needs through the people around us.
So when I was in a similar situation in the past few days, and started to have those same feelings of anger and disappointment- I cried out to God to cleanse my heart and mind.
To let me love fully- not based of what anyone else was going to do for me, but in response to His love. This is a natural outpouring of thankfulness to Him lived out in loving those around me.
Once I let go of those expectations, and confessed my sin to God- it was amazing how blessed I was in the fellowship that followed. I was no longer consumed with self- but rather I was in tune with God’s leading through the Holy Spirit.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
I pray that God will continue to convict and lead me as I interact with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Through His grace and strength- may I serve in love, leaving behind self and my great expectations.