Zero Expectations

I have a friend who has been going through life, carefully planning each step of her life. I mean, this girl is on it. She plans out each day meticulously, and I admire her for it. The problem is, a lot of those plans she is not experiencing in the timing she had planned. I had a short Q&A with her to talk about this transition in her life and how she has had to learn to let God guide her expectations.


Q: Tell us a little about your current situation.
A: I’m 24 and currently living with one of my girl friend’s mom and her children.  I’m working toward my Masters in Occupational Therapy through a weekend program and working full time at an optometrist’s office.
During my undergrad years, I went on two dates…count ‘em. TWO! And I am glad the Lord did not them continue any further.  They were nice, but not “the one” for me.  Senior year, three of six girls in my apartment were engaged, the other two had serious boyfriends, and then there was me.  Needless to say, waiting was hard.  It was a challenge to not compare myself to my apartment mates and classmates.  At our college, it was basically expected that you date someone all four years and get engaged by senior year.  My extended family would tease me and tell me I would go to this college and meet my husband and get married right after college.  Not my story, which surprisingly, I was not alone in.
Fast forward to the end of senior year, a month before I graduated, I sat at the breakfast table with a guy I know from my hometown.  He was sitting with a bunch of his apartment mates.  One of the guys sitting with my friend talked a lot and made me laugh…a lot.  By the end of breakfast, he said, “I like you! I think you’re interesting and I’d like to get to know you!”  WHAT? WHO SAYS THAT? WHO MEANS THAT?  Well, a couple hours later, at the chapel service, he came up to me and said, “Would you like to get coffee or something?  Not as a date, but just to get to know each other?”  “Sure,” I replied, wondering if he would really follow through. Our first coffee “not date” went well, and I didn’t think anything of it.  The next time he asked me to coffee, he brought sticky notes with 20 questions!  That’s when I knew something was up and tried to throw him off.  Listen, buddy, I’m a senior, about to graduate, and you’re a sophomore.  There’s no way.
Well, he would not relent. He found me at graduation amongst a huge crowd and congratulated me.  He said we should stay in touch over the summer and once again, I doubted his intentions.  He managed to arrange for us to meet up in Columbus one summer day and poured his heart out to me over Jeni’s ice cream.  I was scared to let myself love this man – to be so vulnerable with someone.  How ironic, the very thing I saw others have that I wanted, I was scared of and wanted to run from.
Basically, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes!  We’ve been dating about a year and a half and are praying about and moving toward engagement.  Another waiting season!


Q: What is the most difficult part of where you are in life right now?
A: What is most difficult about where I am right now,  is that it is not my ideal or where I ever thought I would be.  While applying to grad school (for the second time – oh the joys of waiting) my friend’s mom offered me a room in her house if I went.  Last summer, I moved in and have been here about six months.  Several times during these months, I have dreamt about moving out and having my own place, but God has revealed to me for multiple reasons why being here for now is good – better.


Q: What has God been teaching you at this stage you’re in?
A: God has been teaching me through waiting that His plans far exceed my ideals.  It is safe to trust in Him because He holds it all and can make things happen.  I am not in control. He always provides for all my needs and the only time I am ever in want is when my eyes are not fixed on Him.


Q: I know you and I have talked about you feeling that you didn’t have much relevance with your peers that are in a different place than you are right now. How did you and are you coping and handling that transition in life?
A: God has showed me that my story is more relate-able than I once thought.  Even if I can’t relate to my peers now, someday, younger ones will come behind me and I will have a story to tell them of God’s faithfulness, goodness, and how He surprised me with all the good things I had never even thought to ask for.


Q: I’m sure your expectations of life are different than how your life has gone, as mine are as well. What’s your biggest tip to people in the same spot you are in?
A: Waiting is okay – even good.  When you try to control your outcome and make your dreams come true for yourself, it’s really tough, exhausting, discouraging.  When I realized that the One who made me also placed my desires within me, I could rest a little easier knowing that He has His best in store for me and by His strength, I can wait for Him to come through.  I just pray, “Lord, help me desire your will for me.”  Which ultimately isn’t my own place with a regular sized fridge, a man, a perfect marriage, my dream job, etc.  His will for me is to glorify Him and I can do that by learning to rest in and wait on Him.


Q: What has really helped bring you to where you are now?
A: I have come to realize that God has much different plans than I have for myself. I learned to get rid of my own expectations and instead let God guide me. He rarely gives me what I expect, and what He gives is always much better. Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.”

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