One of my best friends went through a phase where he decided to (try to) remove all expectations from all experiences. His premise: if I have low expectations (or no expectations), then every experience I have will “exceed” my expectations. I laugh every time I re-read that last line. Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it. And if you knew my friend Luke, who tends to try a lot of crazy ideas (something I love about him) and he blogged I would also link him here and here and here. But alas he keeps his thoughts off the public airways.
I can also remember my other buddy Adam, having strong conversations with Luke about the insanity of his thought process. And I guess if you think about it, it is a little nuts, I mean just try to remove all expectations from every experience. It’s not possible. Not having expectations is in one way or another an actual expectation.
This memory of this past conversation is stimulating some new thoughts in my soul regarding the expectations I have when I am looking to engage a spiritual experience (or a church event). I am slowly engaging church again, and in the past every time I stepped into the vicinity of a Christian focused event I got excited, hoping for some new fresh insight. And in the past I would leave discouraged. But recently I’ve been trying to understand those expectations. I wouldn’t say that I have removed all my expectations, but instead I’ve come to realize the power in what is present and real.
It’s good to be excited. It’s good to expect the best. But it’s even better to take the truth that comes before you and celebrate it. Almost as if there is no good or bad. I have countless memories of Christian leaders asking me if I was able to truly focus during an event when something technical went wrong, or if so and so was a distraction or whether I might have a better experience if my kids weren’t with me.
The spiritual experience is not to be forced. It can’t fit in your expectation box and it won’t. So exchange your expectations for education and experience. And I believe you will be able to take the most simple experiences and enjoy them for what they are.
I am beginning to get there.