I have been pondering what it means to operate in an attitude of expectation versus anticipation. A friend shared this concept with me a few months ago and it has challenged, encouraged, and transformed my thinking.
When we are in the posture of expectation, we approach God with the formula already predetermined. A+B+C=D. We know what we want the result (D) to look like, therefore we know how the process (A+B+C) should happen. So what happens when our neat and tidy formula doesn’t happen? Speaking from experience, I have been disappointed, discouraged, defeated, embarrassed, sad, bitter, angry, and confused. What I wanted my formula to look like wasn’t actually happening in reality.
When we come to God with our predetermined outcome, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment when things don’t go as we have planned. I have heard this concept often, but it always just ended there. We should “Let God be God”. But how do you do that? It’s a simple sentence, but seems impossible to actually do.
Let’s start with what we do know! We know God is good. We know He loves us. We know He wants good things for us. So what if we shifted from expecting God to complete our formula to anticipation of the good He desires for us
Matthew 7:11 (NASB) says, “If you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
If you read my musings each month, you will know that I like to look up definitions of words. I started typing “anticipation” into Google. It suggested “anticipation vs. expectation”, and an article came up that someone much smarter and more poetic wrote.
This thought is a perfect summary:
“Anticipation is looking forward with excitement to what is coming, resting in the assurance that it will be good regardless of what form it takes. Expectation is projecting an imagined reality onto the future.”
For the full article, you can read it here.
Anticipation is a much kinder and less stressful place to reside in my mind and spirit. It leaves me with excitement looking forward to what God is doing in my life, knowing that good things are coming and I can enjoy the journey. Thank you for being on the RGM journey with me. Thankfully it has not gone at all according to my expectations, but it has been so much better and very, very good.
Shifting your mindset takes time and practice. It is a practice, not something that happens immediately. The more I practice, I find myself starting in a place of anticipation. It was scary at first, because I don’t like surprises, or not having a plan, or not sharing my opinion. BUT GOD is good and I am much more peaceful when I rest in that goodness!