Lately, I've been thinking a lot about raising my expectations: of life, work, romance...even God. I guess it's all these hours on trains and planes, which has given me WAY too much exposure to things that chip away at my hopes.
For example, the last magazine I read included several cheery articles reminding me of things I've neglected to worry about. Apparently, I'm way behind. It told me (in graphic detail) how I need to worry about catching something grotesque if THAT DOG licks my face...becoming something grotesque if I don't slather myself with SPF 4000 from February until late November...and making the whole world grotesque if I buy jeans that are anything less than 100% organic cotton. And if my 401k isn't fully funded? I should probably quit life now, because I'm taking up too much room on the planet.
By the end, I was pretty fed up. I mean, this is what I'm supposed to be focusing on to get from where I am to where I want to be? Really???
And don't even get me started about the relationship advice, which was varying takes on the same theme: "Marriage is disappointing; make sure you have good girlfriends to see you through..." ARGH.
Rather than simmering in my frustration, though, it made me want to push back, to swim against the tide of all this worry and doubt. And the basic rule of swimming is: Don't swim alone; use the buddy system. So I thought I'd invite you to swim with me.
In my book, I describe a time when the pastor of my church asked us all to ponder the question: "What do you want Jesus to do for you?" He based this on passages from the Bible that suggest that God enjoys interacting with us over specific prayers; that God is okay if we have specific desires for our lives, and maybe even put them inside us because he wants to help us get there. I was quite sure everyone else in our church was praying for world peace; I snuck off to a corner and asked Jesus to bring me a husband.
We spent the next 40 Days praying for our deepest desires, and the results were rather astounding. So I thought that doing something similar--asking God together for the deepest desires of our hearts, the pieces of life that we're missing--might be a fun way for us to swim against the tide of low expectations together. Or raise the bar. Or some combination of the two.
I've created a new blog: www.fortydaysoffaith.blogspot.com. Starting on June 1st, I'll post there every day for 40 Days: thoughts about asking God for big things, words of encouragement, inspirational stories. And you can jump in as you want, commenting on your hopes and dreams; we can cheer each other on. Whether you're a person of high faith, low faith, or no faith at all, you may have noticed that it's easier to believe that something wonderful (like a husband, or a book deal, or a happier outlook on life) will happen for someone else rather than for you. I'm hoping we can capitalize on that, toss whatever faith we bring into one collective pool, and each end up someplace better than where we started.
So if you're game, come on by. I suspect it will be a fun place to hang out this summer!