(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
By Kyle Jane Heskett
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
– Ephesians 3:20-21
People kept telling me that it would be the best time of my life. They would tell me stories of their experiences and all the friends they made. They were so excited for me. I went, and to date they have been the hardest years of my life. It was college, and for the first real time in my life, my expectations were completely shattered. Welcome to adulthood, right?
Honestly, my college years taught me a lesson I will never forget. As an adult, we all come to grips with unmet expectations. It’s a hard and uncomfortable, but if we learn the lesson on how to handle them in a healthy way, I truly believe it will lead to a more satisfying and joyful life.
A few months in, college started to feel lonely. I was homesick and no one really knew me. It was hard to adjust living with a roommate and the lack of sleep and home cooked meals started to wear on me. The stress led to acne breakouts all over my face, which caused deep insecurities. Let’s stop right here and weigh two options I had. Option number one is choosing to draw near to God, realize it was actually OK that my experience didn’t live up to the hype, and rest in the fact that this discomfort was temporary. Option number two, the one I chose, was to dwell in my unhappiness and wish my situation looked better. I became very depressed and anxious.
Years later, I can look back on the lesson I learned. God is not bound by what is “supposed to be,” but rather, He takes is to the “immeasurably more.” He is still doing good and amazing things in your life when things do not turn out a certain way. I cannot tell you how many times something didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and looking back I’m glad it didn’t! God knew what I needed, and He had more for me than I had for myself. As an adult, we all come to grips with unmet expectations. It’s a hard and uncomfortable, but if we learn to handle them in a healthy way, I truly believe it will lead to a more satisfying and joyful life. I think Jesus wants nothing less for us. The verse shown above reminds us that we can trust God to take care of our lives. An unmet expectation is not the end, but rather the beginning of something new.
I can tell you from personal experience that learning to accept my circumstances as they come has saved me from a lot of stress and unhappiness. It’s OK to look forward to and plan things and it’s OK to get disappointed if these things don’t work out the way you imagined. But your situation and experiences do not have to look like others. God is still faithful when others are not. God is still in control when we are not. And joy is still to be had in the changes life can bring.