This message was inspired after a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. Why is the world so full of expectations? This is something that society has created for itself because the world recognizes overachievers. What expectations are parents placing on their children? What expectations do we place on our spouses? What expectations do we form in our own minds? What expectations do we have of God? Do we expect him to do things in a certain way, and when it falls through we get depressed.
Every girl looks at a magazine and wants to look like Beyoncé to impress a man. Guys want to be Brad Pitt or Robert Downey Jr to get the ladies. Parents reject their children because they gained weight, in-laws reject the new wife because she doesn’t have bigger hips. Wives disrespects their husbands because he has no car, husbands shame their wives because they are not curvy or have long hairs. Parents shame their children because they are not the overachievers at school or University. African women want to look like white women with blue and green eyes and white women want to become black women by putting implants in their buttocks. We have lost touch with Gods original desire which is love yourself as I have made you. I ask again, what is with all the expectations, pressure and anxiety?
People do not believe that God truly loves them, so they reject him and blame him for so many things gone wrong. Everybody has some issue, as long as you are on this earth. Being a child of God does not mean that you are free of suffering or trials. One thing we are sure of is that in John 16:33, Christ says “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world”. The Amplified Bible Classic Edition says “I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you”, how powerful is that? There are certain aspects of my life that the Lord is still dealing with and anxiety is one of them. Anxiety creeps in when we don’t meet certain requirements or expectations, and then illnesses like heart palpitations, high blood pressure and migraines show up. I felt so bad that I kept asking myself, do I trust God so little that I stress about certain things? The total number of people living with depression and anxiety disorders in the world are 322 and 264 million, respectively (Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.)
I grew up in a home where perfection was demanded and everything must be in order, and happen in certain ways. Once things are out of order, Chichi loses her cool. I was as stiff as a robot, unable to give myself a break, no joy and no fulfillment. I came to a point in my life where I had no control of certain situations and Jesus said “honey you can’t order your way out of this one, you must and will walk by faith and not sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). It took me a while to realize my calling because I was so caught up in the expectation of my family wants a doctor in the house. Not that it bothered me then because I had a certain type of arrogance, which I find distasteful when looking back now. This expectation pushed me to work extremely hard, without pay, gave me lots of health issues and I turned around and said God must have left me. Do you feel this way sometimes? I am here to tell you that God never leaves his own (Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8; Mathew 28:20). Jesus came that we may have life in abundance (John 10:10), and this is what grace is all about.
I want to make it clear that God does not expect anything of you because he knew you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5). If God expected perfection from us, there would be no need for the savior Jesus Christ to come. Therefore, in Christ our perfection is made manifest, we receive the grace for a relationship with the father, the desire to be uncommon, strength to be warriors and co-heirs to his kingdom. People refuse to understand grace (Unmerited favor) because they want a set of rules that displays their perfection. Trying so hard to keep the law leads to more sin because we think it is all about hard work and what we can do for God. No disrespect to anyone but I must say that no one is perfect, not I, not your pastors, your priests, your popes or bishops. No one but God is good (Mark 10:18) and only his word is infallible (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). So anyone that does not speak from the word of God is false. Bible will always interpret bible and it never contradicts itself because God is not man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19).
Grace is so deep because it reveals to you the intense love of Jesus Christ. I find that the more I understood grace, the easier it was for me to be uncommon in a common world. It is not that I never make mistakes, rather that the love of Jesus motivates me to be obedient to his words. Someone will ask, so what is with all the laws in the Old Testament? Galatians 3:19 says “Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator”. The Israelites were stubborn and God gave them the law to show them exactly what they looked like (as in a mirror), until its purpose has been fulfilled. Christ had to come so that man will be reconciled back to God and granted access to the throne room. Why do we still carry so much anxiety? What stress and pressures have you placed on yourself or have been placed on you by others?
Who says you must be married at 25 or 30? Who says you must butter up your boss or compromise to get a promotion? Who says you must drive a car at 18? Who says you must have a Doctorate to be acknowledged? Who says you must go to university before your destiny is materialised? Who says you must be a size10 or have a certain shape to be beautiful? Who says you must have kids few months after marriage? Who says you are prone to cancer or heart failure because it runs in your family? Who says you must earn a certain amount of money to be happy? Who says that you must bear a son to be valued in your marital home? Who says you must spend your entire lives paying your parents back for all the money spent on you as a child? Who tells you that full fat milk or certain foods are not compatible to your blood type? Who tells you not to enjoy your life because in their days, they had it rough? Who says your race or colour is the reason you have no job?
As if the world has not got enough pressures of its own, the church has driven people into false expectations to perform for God by telling them things like; God has left you because you didn’t go to church or tithe, you didn’t confess to the priest directly so you are still not forgiven and God is angry because of your past sins. These are all expectations and lies introduced by the enemy to frustrate the lives of God’s people.
Don’t get me wrong, it is good to go to University, have a job, get married, look after your parents in their old age, and have financial stability and children. All I am asking is, supposing it is not in God’s plan for you at the moment, what will you do? Will you stress or will you rest? When you come face to face with pressure and anxiety, refrain from self-performance because this will certainly rob you of your joy. Every day, I learn a lot about who I am in Christ and I realise that the secret to happiness is not in what you own, who you are or how you achieved it. Happiness is inner peace (shalom), contentment, trusting God’s time while living in his abundant grace.
The bible says be anxious for nothing, cast your burden on Jesus for he cares for you (Mathew 11:28; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7). The root of every problem I ever had was due to my selfish desires to have things go my way in order to tap myself at the back or show people that I can do this. Brethren, God desires to give you a good and fulfilling life (Jeremiah 29:11) and there are no limits to what he can do. I always remember the Lord saying “The world seeks excellence but I seek your heart”. I encourage you to forsake the world’s opinions or expectations of you, look to God and keep that hope alive because he has better in store for you. Be blessed.