1: the act or state of expecting: anticipation <in expectation of what would happen>
2: the state of being expected
"Expectation will change your experience." These words came from one of the wisest instructors that I had the opportunity to sit under at Hillsong. Even so, I disagreed. My first thought was, "No they won't. Previous experiences shape my expectations." I will be the first to admit how wrong I was. Our personal expectations have a lot to do with the experiences we will have.
I've been processing this more and more lately. It's become more of a reality to me with us expecting our first child in May. People's well-meaning "warnings" began to create fear and dread. Actually, for a short time I questioned whether or not we were ready for this undertaking. But then I decided to shift my mindset, and my new expectations have started to shape my experience. I'm now enjoying the preparation process- the baby registry, the room decor, the doctor visits. I know I am way out of my league in bringing home a baby. I know we won't know everything we're suppose to do. I know we will miss some areas of preparation and drop the ball here or there. I get it. But my expectation is set: this is going to be awesome!
I know that God is not a vending machine or to be manipulated like a puppet, "If I do this than You'll do this. If I believe this way You'll move for me in this way." I don't think God works like that. I do think God honors our expectations and continues to reveal Himself when we have God-honoring expectations. If we have little to no expectation of truly encountering God, chances are little to none that He'll move in a big way.
There's a story in the Bible about Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Elijah had an expectation for God to show up in a very big way. Imagine the outcome if Elijah's expectations were shaky and small. Elijah stepped up, full of faith, believing God would do something only He could do. The rest is history.
"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: 'Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you,Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.'" - 1 Kings 18:36-37
Elijah's expectation was God would answer him and make Himself known to Israel. I love this story. It encourages me to step up into God things. It encourages me to set my expectation of God revealing Himself every week. It gives me confidence God will continue to come through. What happened after Elijah prayed is my favorite part.
"Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!'" - 1 Kings 18:38-39
Elijah's expectation of God resulted in people knowing who God was and responding. Expectation changes your experience. So what are you expecting to see God do this week? What are you believing for as a leader of His people? What is your expectation in your own life as you encounter the living God?