Spinal rolls-check!
Eyelash curler-check!
Enough clothes to last two weeks months-check!

It’s nearly impossible to pack a suitcase with clothes, ‘necessities’, and birthday gifts without going over the 50 pound weight limit. It’s also nearly impossible to pack a suitcase without packing in expectations. Because packing is about planning and preparing for something in the future. And expectations are all about the future. Expectations are about looking forward, waiting in great anticipation. Expectations are also about hoping and dreaming.

But sometimes, expectations are about myself…and control. Sometimes expectations become my focus and blind my eyes. I’ve traveled enough to know that the twisting in your stomach as the plane finally lands on unknown territory is not a sick feeling, but a giddy i-can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens feeling. I’ve also traveled enough to know the heaviness in your heart when you realize the trip did not meet your expectations.

So I’ve sworn off packing expectations into my large, hot pink suitcase. Which is easier said than done because I think have expectations for everything and everyone. And it seems my expectations always lead to great disappointment or great surprise. My expectations are never accurate. And too often, my expectation for how something should go keeps me from seeing/experiencing something ridiculously cool right in front of my eyes.

See, I think God is in the middle of everything, inviting us to bring pieces of heaven to places of hell here on earth. And as cool as it is to be part of something bigger than myself, I tend to focus on exactly how bringing the kingdom here will look. I dwell on visions, goals, gifts, plans, expectations. And perhaps sometimes, I miss it. I miss that which was right in front of me…God working in a way I wasn’t expecting. God giving me something when I didn’t even know to ask for it. God restoring something before I knew it was damaged. God saying ‘no’ when I thought ‘yes’ was the answer. And based on past experiences and future hopes, I put God and how I think God should work in a nice, neat, small box.

And then God flattens the box. Because just as the grave couldn’t hold Him in, neither can a nice, neat, small box. The scales fall from my eyes and I see. It never was about me, about what I wanted or expected. God is always up to something bigger than me. He is alive and well and His kingdom is at hand. So my expectations must simply be, God. God show up. God save. God rebuild. God clean. God heal. God hear. God comfort. God speak. God forgive. God bless. God.

That’s all I expect-God. Because regardless of circumstances, He remains. I can always expect God, the One who has never broken a promise or disappointed. He exceeds my expectations time and time again.

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