I’m 22. Almost 23. I will be graduating from college sometime soon, Lord willing. When I graduate from college and move into the real world there are expectations that my parents, friends, and community have on me.
I go to Wheaton College. Although not a conservative Christian college by any means, Wheaton is still an evangelical Christian college. I’m watching as many of my friends are getting married. And it’s not just two of my friends. It’s definitely in the double digits. My Facebook news feed is lined with wedding pictures, engagement pictures, and new relationships being started. As wonderful and glorious this may be for many people, its rather distressing and scary for someone who has never been on a date before. When I graduate, there is an expectation of making a career out of the education I have received. In that career making, there is an expectation of money making as well. There are many facets of expectations we have on our lives and what we want to happen.
In our lovely American, evangelical Christian culture, you go to college, get married, start a career, have a family, continue in your career, retire, move to a nursing home, and then eventually die. All of those things are great, wonderful, and beautiful in their own way, but is that the only way to live our lives? Living our life around the expectations of this grand, happy, American life, put on us by ourselves and others?
I am inclined to believe that these expectations greatly effect the way we live our daily lives. I’m convicted that each day I wake up and each moment I do not surrender my day to God, I am living under the pressure of these expectations. If I do not surrender my day to God and his will, I am living for myself and my pleasure. Therefore, I am denying myself the opportunity to please God and bring him glory.
When I live in the expectations of society, I live under the pressure of the world and not under the peace of God. I believe that God has a plan for me, and I know God’s plans for me are far greater than my expectations or my own plans for my life. Therefore, I’m able to trust him when I surrender my day and each moment to him.
It sounds easy doesn’t it? But how often do we actually live our lives like this? I know I don’t live this way very often at all. In fact, most of my day I am too busy to think about God or what he wants in my life. Most of the time I’m not even thinking about God because there are so many other things going on. When I’m on Facebook and I see new relationships starting, wedding pictures, and engagement pictures, I wonder what’s wrong with me. Or why I’ve never been on a date. Or I wonder if I will ever get married. And my heart longs for it. This is mostly because of a fear of being alone and living my life by myself. But what would it be like if I slowed my life down and brought my concerns and troubles to Christ in every moment in my life? Is that even possible?
I pray that God would teach me how to live my every moment surrendering to him and his will for me. Even the moments where I feel left behind, alone, and forgotten by the rest of the world and my friends. I pray that God would give me eyes of discernment to know myself and how he’s made me. I pray that he makes his plan for me clear. I pray that as a church, we are able to live like this as well. I pray the church would not escalate the effect of expectations on people’s lives but instead point people to God and his will for them.
I also pray for you, as you read this. I pray that God would be relevant in your life. I pray that he would show you his plan for you. And I pray he would give you the patience to wait for what he has planned. I pray that you would have the strength to surrender your every moment, thought, movement to God. And most importantly, I pray you would have the strength to surrender the pressures you feel from society, culture, yourself, and the people around you to him.