As I ended my last post I rashly promised you a summary of what God expects of mothers. I fully intend to keep my promise – or at least the spirit of it, but as I travelled home I was troubled by the wording I had used. Does God expect anything of us?
A book I read recently claimed that “God has no expectations of us”*.
Seriously? No expectations?
I find that really hard to swallow, and lots of buts bubble up in protest. “But what about… and then there’s…..” BUT at the same time I can’t deny that it is true.
Firstly: God has no expectations of us in the sense that he knows what weak and fragile beings we are – not only are we mere creatures, but we are broken ones at that. Broken, weak, limited beings in a broken world shot through with evil.
O.K. so that was supposed to be encouraging! Stick with me.
Let me put it this way: It has recently dawned on me that I basically approach my day, my life, my parenting … with the basic assumption that I have all the right ingredients available to me to do a pretty good job. My expectation is of success.
Please don’t get me wrong! This expectation does not spring from thinking that I am special and unique or from any confidence in my particular brilliance. I am thinking more of the expectations that exist simply because in my ‘world’ that is what we are ‘meant to’ be able to do. By ‘world’ I mean the circumstances and environment of my upbringing and the situation and society I now live in. I’ve never really thought about it this way, but each morning I wake up with the subconscious assumption that I should be able to do a good job of my life today, and by extension that those I have to interact with should be able to as well.
And again and again I fail to meet this expectation and so do the people around me.
Not only is there an appalling arrogance in thinking that we can be the gods of our own lives, but there is also an unbearable burden in it.
We delude ourselves that we are thoroughbred race horses, bet heavily on our victory and then scratch our heads when time and time again we fall at the first hurdle.
And the encouragement please?
God does not have this expectation of us. God sees us for the donkeys that we are and loves us!
How I see myself: I am a world renown brain surgeon – I go to work, scrub up and ask for the scalpel ready to save lives…..but more accurately….
In my mind I am sitting at a beautiful shiny grand piano in a crowded concert hall, the audience in breathless anticipation as my fingers hover over the keys ready to strike the first chord….. what my Father delights in…
This is not to belittle human accomplishment and creativity. Of course there are people who really are concert pianists and world renown brain surgeons, as well as super fast athletes and world-class artists. I am not one of them – but they exist all over the world. Of course they do – because there is a God who his creatures fearfully and wonderfully in his image.
It isn’t that we are nothing – not by any means does the bible want us to believe that – it is just that we are what we are. Just think about a toddler for a moment. What an amazing creature – just think of all they learn and how they develop in a matter of months. Astounding! But you don’t expect them to drive a car or cook the tea – let alone perform brain surgery. Compared to God we are small children – and that includes us mothers!
What does God expect of us as mothers? He expects us to be what we are. He expects us to be weak, to get things wrong, to get tired, to get our priorities in a muddle, to lose patience, to feel like giving up, to miss opportunities or to overreact….. and he even expects us to keep forgetting that this is the case!
And secondly God has no expectations of us in the sense that he’s got it all covered. But I think that is for another post.
*Good News for Weary Women by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick