The suffocation of anticipation
Today in my prayer time one of the first things I prayed for was this silly head of mine. It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have horrible migraine headaches. It’s my cross to bear and believe me when I say, I want to put it down, OFTEN! I am also reminded often, that my burden is easy compared to others, so I am thankful for my headaches being “just headaches.” I don’t like them, I don’t want them, they have robbed me of many days of my life, but again, it could be worse. What leads me to this writing, is also in my time this morning I realized that my 8-day headache I have been experiencing is probably self-induced by stress, worry, anxiety, busyness, lack of sleep and anticipation. Wait, what? Anticipation? Of all of those self-inflicted emotions, anticipation jumped out at me like a deer jumping into oncoming traffic. What was it about anticipation that stopped me in my tracks? Well, what does any good curious girl do…she digs, googles, reads, defines and prays some more. Here is what I learned.
1. regard as probable; expect or predict.
2. guess or be aware of (what will happen) and take action in order to be prepared.
To anticipate something can be exciting. The anticipation of a new baby is an exciting time. A vacation with friends or family, moving into a dream home, a milestone birthday (unless you’re getting older) this one is reserved for those less than 40! Haha. So many positives to anticipation. But look at the definitions, “regard as probable, expect or predict.” Is it possible to find ourselves in a mindset of expectations and predictions for ourselves and others? Placing burdens on our lives and the lives of those close to us. The second definition says to “be aware and take action in order to be prepared.” We can prepare ourselves for the birth of a baby, a vacation, a move, or a birthday. What we can never prepare for is infertility, the loss of a job making vacations impossible, a disaster taking our home, the loss of a loved one and losing those birthdays. We can also anticipate the actions of others, expect and prepare for what “we think” we deserve from them only to be hurt or let down when they aren’t who we prepared ourselves for them to be.
As the holidays approach and families begin to gather, pressure begins to rise, anticipation will begin to rise as well. Kids will anticipate gifts, mothers will anticipate meals and preparations, and fathers’ financial commitments. We will anticipate family gatherings, the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all families are whole. We all have family dynamics that become especially exposed during the holidays. I heard today of a bible teacher saying, why do you go into family gatherings year after year expecting family members to act differently than they have in years past? So true! The only people who can act different are the people we can control, and that is US! You and me!
This week is a big week for our family, the reasons I will share one day. I have anticipated these specific days for months. My kids and husband have anticipated it as well. We need this to happen, there is a desire for closure, answers, the light to be turned on at the end of the tunnel, though the tunnel may still be long and hard. I beg for the light. I pray for the burden to be less. I have painted the picture of what this looks like from the worst scenario to the most glorious. Doesn’t God see me? Then it hit me today, my anticipation is suffocating me! Of course, He sees me! I have strength, peace and joy that is only explained because He DOES see me.
I am a Mom, I am a fixer, a kisser of boo boo’s, a slayer of monsters in the closet, a friend when others are mean, a reminder that one woman will always love you most. How do I breathe again when I am suffocating? I remind myself that freedom is in surrender, there is hope in the wait and I turn to the one who gives me breath.
Mathew 11:28-30 (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The yoke: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull. Our burdens, responsibilities, anticipations can be heavy but the yoke was never created to be carried by one. Jesus never promised easy and simple lives. We are called to do the work that he has set before us with His promises of joy, peace and love, even when it is hard. Share your anticipations with Him. His shoulders are stronger, his burdens are light and when we partner with Him we can rest and not grow weary.
My hope for you is that your anticipations will shift as mine did today. I will anticipate the Lords plan, I will trust and not grow weary, I will rest in the comfort of knowing that there is hope in the wait …
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lam 3:22-26 (NIV)
Finally, this song resonates for the moments I just need to breathe. Take a moment, soak in these words and “exhale.” Click here Exhale by Plumb.
Until next time,