“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”
Friend to Friend
When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t have great expectations for what my marriage would be like, if I ever walked the aisle at all. My parents had a horrible marriage. Cycles of heated arguments and physical violence followed by silence and passive aggression were as predictable as the seasons.
I became a Christian when I was fourteen and resolved that if I ever got married, it would be to a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. Through the years, I dated many young Christian men, but in my young mind, they seemed boring.
So I had a conversation with God that went something like this:
“OK God, if I ever get married, it will be to a Christian man. I’m committed to that. I won’t give a guy a second glance unless he is a man who loves You with all his heart. It’s not enough for him to say that he is a Christian. I want to see it in the way he lives his life, the way he uses his words, and the way he relates to other people. I’m going to pay attention to what he laughs at, what he watches on television, and how he handles anger. I know what I’m asking here. I realize that I most likely won’t feel very passionate about this guy. I know that my life will probably be rather dull and boring. But that’s OK. I’m holding out for a Christian man, no matter how humdrum and ho-hum he may be. If I like him pretty well, that’s enough for me.”
Oh my goodness! Talk about low expectations! I’m sure God got a big kick out of my request.
Several years after my prayer for a mediocre life, I met a guy at a Bible study. He looked over at me, and I melted in a puddle.
After a few weeks, Steve Jaynes finally asked me out on a date.
“There is a missionary from Jackson, Mississippi, speaking over at Murphy Hall,” he explained. “I’d like to go hear him. Would you like to go with me?”
Well that certainly lined up with my expectations! Steve was handsome; no doubt about that. He was a Christian; that was for sure. But going to hear a missionary on our first date? He was going to be boring after all. But hey, what did I expect? (Now remember, I was young. I love missionaries! I am one! Just keeping it real.)
When he came to pick me up for our date, I had some of my favorite music playing—beach music. It’s a type of 60s R&B Motown type music.
“Do you like that kind of music?” he asked
“Sure do,” I replied. (I must say I said it with an attitude of “and you gotta problem with that?”)
“I do too,” Steve said. “I have an entire collection. Do you know how to Shag (a traditional Southern dance similar to a slow version of the Swing)?
I think I heard God laugh.
“I’ve been dancing the Shag since I was in the fifth grade,” I said.
“Let’s see if we do it the same way,” he said as he grabbed my hand.
For twenty minutes, we separated and came together as if we had been dancing together all our lives. He held my hand up and I spun under. He pulled me in and then rolled me out like a scroll. His shuffle kick mirrored my own.
You know what? We did go and hear the missionary that night. And afterwards, we went to a favorite college hangout and danced until the doors closed. We had fun, and we haven’t stopped having fun yet.
We have grown in God’s grace, and we’ve graced the dance floor. Steve is the most funnest guy I have ever known, and he loves the Lord with all his heart.
And to think I actually was ready to settle for just a nice Christian guy. God exceeded my expectations beyond all I ever could have asked or imagined.
But this isn’t just about my love story with Steve. It is about my love story with Jesus. And it’s about yours too. Like my prayer for a mediocre-but-nice husband, I fear we have lowered our expectations in our relationship with God.
He longs for an intimacy with us that ushers in a deep abiding joy, but I’m afraid we’ve settled for simply nice.
Are you ready to raise your expectations in your relationship with Jesus? Oh sister, He’s got so much to show you, to tell you, to share with you. Don’t settle for “just nice.” Jesus is much more exciting than that!
Dear Jesus, forgive me for having such low expectations in our relationship. I know that You came to give me abundant life, not a so-so life. Today, I’m raising my expectations of life to line up with Your word. I’m expecting the abundant life that You came to give!
In Your Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Look up Zephaniah 3:17 and enjoy!
What is one time that you were surprised by God?
God wants you to enjoy Him today! Look for moments of sudden glory where He makes His presence known.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you long to feel close to God but sense there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do you have a glory ache–a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me and discover how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred to experience a deeper, more intimate relationship with God than ever before. While you’re there, you can download a free chapter or watch a video book trailer.