Does every summer feel like a let down? You build it up in your mind, and then it flies by. You regret what you missed out on, and vow next summer will be different.
Perhaps you thought Stay Present Summer would be your fail-safe from ever feeling fear of missing out again. And with that, we begin the journey of adjusting expectations (because this book is not a FOMO-banishing wizard).
Your expectations can be the greatest obstacle to staying present with Christ and loved ones. It’s ironic, of course, because expectations are simply your brain’s way of organizing your hopes and dreams and desires. You want to live fully and make memories? What an admirable thing!
The bucket list exists for a reason. But sometimes it commits treason against our intentions.
It’s then that you either deny your hopes for the season, claiming “I’m just staying present,” (when really you are building resentment). Or you ratchet up control over circumstances, so not one expectation is left behind.
One year, we welcomed a foster baby (now our forever son!) right before summer began. It changed how we were able to engage in our summer activities. Another year, my husbands grandfather became very ill. We traded all our camping trips for visits to the hospital. When he passed away the next summer, we knew we hadn’t wasted any moment of our time when we had it with him. Still, it was natural to feel that summer was a bummer.
Through the years, I learned that neither micro-managing expectations nor denying them will give you the peace and presence you long for.
So how do you stay present by staying expectant?
It comes down to what you believe about God. Fear of missing out is a type of anxiety. This insecurity—belief that God is holding out on you—is what the serpent tempted Eve with in the very beginning. It goaded her to take control, an attempt to be god of her own life.
We do the same when we expect fulfillment and peace from things going our way.
When all our summer satisfaction is wrapped up in accomplishing the bucket list, we minimize the place of honor and power God deserves in our lives. Our families, friends and neighbors get a poor representation of Him too. God’s good and perfect plan, for this life and the next, must be crummy, because all our hope is stocked up in our earthly experiences.
When your expectations become preeminent, you will cease to stay present. In the competition for lordship in your life, your hopes and dreams should be in the cheering stands, not on the race track. Instead of racing for the prize of controlling your peace, your expectations point all attention to the true Champion.
When expectations are in their proper place, they applaud the movement of Christ in your life. You can watch Him, without distraction, move powerfully and effectively in your summer, in your family, in your community! Boom! Confidence, inspired.
So don’t go burn your bucket list. Rather, stay expectant for the bigger picture! Put your hopes and dreams for the season in a position to give glory to God and bring hope to those around you.
Thanks for reading Part 3 of my new e-book Stay Present Summer. There are LOADS of extras in the book, including
- tips for staying screen free,
- Bible readings,
- memory verses,
- journal prompts,
- activities you can enjoy with your kids (or roomies!)
- and more!
Download Stay Present Summer: 7 Ways to Claim Confidence and Contentment This Season here: Get my Free E-book!