Exaggerated Expectations

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Psalms 23:1-2

Like it or not, the holiday season is here. We are all making plans for Thanksgiving and it seems as though Christmas will be the following day. Some of you have had your Christmas decorations up since September (shame on you). It is the time of year of exaggerated expectations. Company is coming and the house has to be just right. The potato salad better be made just right and the turkey cannot be dry. Will there be enough sweet tea and pecan pie? What if crazy Uncle Jim insists on talking politics again this year? What if, fill in the blank.
Exaggerated expectations are a matter of control and we want it so badly. We think we know just how things should go to be just right and perfect but they seldom, if ever, turn out the way we picture. We all do it whether we admit it or not and when we bind ourselves to these exaggerated and unrealistic expectations of perfection, we are often left in a slump of disappointment and discouragement.

So how do we fight against this?  David has some great advice for us in Psalm 23. He says the LORD is our shepherd. What David is proclaiming to us, and his own heart, is that God is in control and not us. He is our Shepherd, the one that guides us away from despair and into safety and joy. He says when we relinquish this control to God we shall not want. This means that we will lack nothing. We often convince ourselves that if we relinquish control to God we will somehow miss out on something good. The opposite is true though. We often miss out on some amazing things because we are still eyeballing what we thought we should have, which is so much less than what God has.
David then says that God makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us by still waters. I am not sure if you have ever sat down in a green field or at a calm body of water but there is something about it that in its simplicity makes it so incredible. And we have to stop, sit down for a while just to soak in the complex simplicity of it all. All so often we go about life with these crazy complex and exaggerated expectations of life that we miss out on the simple joys that God leads us to and shows us of His majesty and love. We so often get caught up in the loss of a penny that we fail to see the gift of a fortune lying at our feet.
As we go about our day, and the days to come, we need to be realistic about how little control we really have and not allow it to rob us of the joy that the Lord has brought to us. During this busy time of year we need to be ok with everything not being picture perfect. But instead, let us take the time to enjoy the complex simplicity of still waters and green pastures of the Lord.

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