Lower Your Expectations (At Least Temporarily!)

I have not experienced as much stress in the last 12 years or so as I have over the past nine months and, believe me, it hasn’t all been fun! Among other things I had to move from one home to another in a short period of time. During that time the renter from the only home we own didn’t pay rent for almost 3 months in a row (and that rent covers a mortgage payment that doesn’t include the other mortgage payment plus our having to pay rent!)

Because of the current circumstances under which we are renting a home we have to prepare for the possibility of moving again in the next few months (my wife and school age children are thrilled! NOT!) On top of that the school where my church rents space took our rent up more than 300% without warning and added almost $2000 dollars to our rent payment! That literally stole all the reserves of our little congregation and put me at risk of having to have my salary lowered (right after getting my first raise in almost 10 years!) We actually had to stop meeting for two weeks to save paying an exorbitant rent and stay solvent! This all happened as my oldest daughter is beginning her first year of college during her last year of high school, which means more money is needed sooner than expected (and ironically because our daughter is the great student we always dreamed of and wanted her to be!)

This year began with my officiating and participating in four funerals in 6 weeks, with two of them involving family and unexpected trips from 12 – 16 hours. I am even purposefully not mentioning a few more things because of diplomacy and tact (among other things!), and because I’ve mentioned enough for you to get the picture as to what I mean by stresses in life, while realizing you have them too!. Talk about instability and chaos around us at every turn!

Of course, in the grace of the Triune God, and His unending and passionate pleasure to remind me at every turn that I, too, am the son the Father’s always wanted and has included in Jesus Christ, He has been fulfilling the promise of “daily bread” in the Spirit, and I am surviving and even thriving in certain ways, as I am sure you are! Thank You Trinity!

But as I have prayed and fasted in my closeness with the Father, and inquired with Him in prayer as to how I might participate with Jesus in these circumstances, one of the responses he has given me, repeatedly, I believe, is to:

Lower your expectations (and stress!), at least temporarily, Tim, by remembering that YOU live in this “present, evil age”! HaHa!

To tell you the truth, this realization has not only been an answer to my prayers, it has also relieved my stresses and has had me exploding with laughter! I’ve been experiencing laughter in ways that is doing me good like a medicine! And all because I realize I have been taking myself and the world a little too seriously!

Think about it! What right do I have to expect that in a “present, evil age” (or an age where the Triune God is present, but present in the darkness and alienation of the world!), everything will go and be right??? Isn’t that “crazy” to think that? In a present and evil age I should expect evil, opposition, adversarial situations, and for most things to go wrong and have terrible, unexplained glitches – MANY glitches! Expecting most things to go right in this “present, evil age” where the the “prince of darkness” still roams and where the Second Coming of Jesus in His glorified humanity has not yet happened is like expecting things to go well for chickens when a hungry fox marches into the hen house hungry for chicken! Seriously, Tim! 🙂

And, not only do we live in the present state of a system and world still shrouded in a blindness (in which the Light does shine!), but I live here, and YOU live here! Ha-Ha! Dare I say it and be plain??? Okay, scripture first and then me:

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. ~ 1 Cor. 1:26-29

If I’m being truly serious in my participation with Jesus in his believing, I must accept not only my Adoption and Distinct status of being Famous and Well Loved of the Father in Jesus, but I must accept, too, that to be called to embrace that truth is to recognize, on the other hand, my foolishness, weakness, lowness and despicability in this “present, evil age” so that none might boast (me, and the world who is reduced to nothing through me! Ha!) How can I possibly expect to be considered a person the world demeans and not expect demeaning treatment? That’s silly and absurd! Part of my stress and trouble is simply in having too high of an expectation of a “low down” world! How about you? Laughable, isn’t it?! Ha-ha!

Thank God that the Real Stress Relief for me, you, and the world in our blindness, is mentioned in the verses immediately following, in the scripture noted above:

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Cor. 1:30

~ Timothy Brassell

2 comments so far

  1. Jerome on

    Amen, Pastor Tim…I’m living where you’re talking! (and where you’re living, too!) The stresses in my life and my wife’s life has reduced us from being big-time doers to exhausted, big-time “be-ers.” As in “be still and know that I AM the Lord!” Yes, Jesus, thank You for reminding us that You are BIG and we are small. Help us to lean on Your strength. Helen (especially) and I have just gone through the final days of my father-in-law, and mom is very feeble. During this time, everything “we” were doing ceased. We are thankful for the “daily bread” that only He can provide. It becomes day to day, and moment to moment during these kind of times, doesn’t it, Pastor Tim? Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus! And thank You, Jesus, for sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and with us. You know, your post reminds me again of the “mystery” of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. That is what we are doing – participating in the suffering that Jesus suffers on our behalf. A communion of suffering in which there is pain, but also a depth of understanding and fellowship that nothing else can match. Hang in there, brother! Love you!

  2. tjbrassell on

    Brother Jerome! You have such a way with words in the Spirit that is inspiring and stimulating! I pray you get to keep participating with Jesus in His proclamation of the Gospel for many years to come! People need to hear what he has to say through you! I am praying in and with the Spirit for you and Helen in your current struggles!!! Love you too!

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