It’s often what people expect of you that determines what you do, not how smart or talented that you think are.
My sister and her husband were coming to visit us in State College where we lived while Jim was working at and going to school at Penn State.
I was excited to see her, and even at 21, I still wanted my big sister’s approval more than anything. Since they were going to be with us over the weekend, that meant we had to find a church right away. Something we had yet to do.
But Calvary Baptist Church had sent us an invitation with a list of service times and activities. It sounded like it would be a good fit, and I had tucked it into my desk thinking we should try it out soon. Soon was suddenly here. And Peggy certainly expected that we would have found a church.
We had a great visit with Peg and Bob and their little daughter Betsy, but the most important thing that happened that weekend was that we had also found a church. We were there twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday night for the rest of our time in State College. Within a few months we were baptized together at that church. And then my electrical engineering student husband began to wrestle with whether he was in the right major.
Nobody had questioned our move to Penn State, at least to our faces. But I wondered whether Peggy was continuing to pray for us, that we would be on the path that God wanted for us, something other than a job where Jim would make good money. Jim talked to our pastor, the new one who had come to the church since we had joined there. He suggested Jim change to a philosophy program if he was interested in ministry.
Of course we talked to Peggy. I remember sitting across from her at her dining room table, well mostly Jim talked to her, and I listened. And to make a long story short, we found ourselves on a path that would lead to Bible college, education degrees for Jim leading eventually through a doctorate and a masters for me, and on to a lifetime of ministry.
Because she had expectations of us and prayed accordingly.
About me as a writer: while Jim was at Penn State, I had started work on a degree in the medical field, like Peggy’s maybe, something in that field. But God made me a writer and teacher, and our finding a church because Peggy was coming opened up the world to which I truly belonged. And led me here where words are my tools, tools I love to share.
A few days ago, my sister Peggy passed from this life to the next in heaven. But I am this me because of her influence. Because she had expectations and I knew it.
That question asked in the title: Expectations, help or hindrance? For me, it has always been a help, a touchstone, especially when I recognized that her expectations for me had become my own.
So, everything you write must have a purpose, a take-away. Here’s a couple for this one: whose life might you change because you have and share, with him or her, your high expectations of what they might do in life? And secondly, what are you doing out of your giftedness to make a difference in your world?