Psalm 62:5-6, 1 John 5:14, Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 100:3
I am quite sure my daughter Rebecca does not understand why I would EVER start a devotional with the title “Lowering My Expectations”. As a parent, I have always had very high expectations and I believe children need those as long as they come from a place of grace and diligent prayer. One thing I have learned through my “cancer journey” is that sometimes we do need to lower our expectations of things here on earth and remember where our confidence and expectations should lie.
(Psalm 62:5-6) Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
(1 John 5:14) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
I think we all have a little bit of vanity whether we want to admit it or not. I know I do. Sometimes God can teach us through some of the roughest times that His thoughts toward us are all that truly matters. We spend a lot of time worrying about people, what they think and what we dream they might be thinking. In reality, they probably aren’t thinking at all. I learned this through the hair loss that accompanies chemotherapy. I know many people may not relate to this - hopefully you’ll never experience it - but can still learn truths from my experience.
When I first heard the word chemotherapy, the only thing that came to the forefront of my mind was HAIR and the loss of it. Those two words just go together. Those of you who know me, know I have always had somewhat of a “fixed” hairdo. Not one of those “wind-blown” looks in Garnier Fructis commercials that I so admire. My hair has always required lots of “product”! I was not excited about the potential of hair loss and thought about it every day and night and also went through a bit of denial in thinking I might just be the ONE it doesn’t happen to during the treatments. I was wrong. My sweet husband kept saying, “We’ll get through it”. I kept saying, “I CAN’T SHAVE MY HEAD!”. I kept reading about all of these women who had been so brave to shave their heads before their first chemotherapy treatment. But remember, I was going to be the one it didn’t happen to. Again, my husband said “You can do this on your terms!”
Well, it happened just like the doctor told me it would. After the second treatment my hair started to thin and finally I said, “I can’t stand it any longer, get the clippers.” I had great friends who brought me such cute hats and I had even purchased a wig that looked somewhat like my own hair. (If you’ve never been to a wig store, that’s an experience all in itself) But, I didn’t want to leave my house. What would people think? Would they notice? Will they be staring at me saying “What in the world is she wearing? Look at that wig!” “She has a hat on, I bet she is going through chemotherapy.” All of these thoughts rushed through my brain. But, what I realized the first time I went out with the wig on my head was that no one was really looking at me, thinking anything. I prayed before I left “God give me the courage and the boldness to do this”. A calm came over me when I remembered a passage from Isaiah 43.
But now, this is what the Lord says--
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Is there someone or something you spend a lot of time worrying about? Do you ever play out things in your mind that never happen? Try lowering your expectations of the opinions of others.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)