Last week I was grieving. It might seem insignificant, but I had been looking forward to some special events for a while. Connecting in person is incredibly life-giving for me, so you might imagine that a loss of in-person connection has been life-draining. As a church staff, we were scheduled to retreat together for a few days—it’s a wonderful time of rest and creativity. We did not retreat. Additionally, one of my teams was scheduled to host a faith & technology workshop—Brad, my good friend and mentor, was our intended speaker and it was going to be incredible. We did not host.
As I look at my planner again this week, I’m reminded of a few more special moments I had hoped to celebrate outside of my home. I will not and it makes me sad. These small losses occur weekly, even daily. My disappointment and grief are like a broken record—it keeps looping back.
Examining my grief has challenged me to consider how I might rewrite my expectations during this season. What would it look like to think, plan, and connect differently? How would Jesus rewrite his expectations if he were living my life? As I pondered this, I looked to the gospels. In several instances, Jesus was faced with an opportunity to adjust. He prepared internally in order to engage externally. I was especially struck by his actions at the wedding in Cana, found in John 2.
While he was attending a wedding in Cana with his freshly appointed disciples, the hosts run out of wine. He was there as a guest and had no obligation to remedy the situation, but he was asked to intervene by his mother (v.4). We can speculate that Jesus’s expectations were to celebrate, not work; but the circumstances changed and Jesus had to adjust. We know from the other gospel accounts that prior to attending this wedding, he spent forty days with God in the wilderness. He prepared for his ministry internally by spending time with the Father. As I prepare for my own ministry (in life and work) internally, knowing I need to rewrite my expectations in this season, I can anticipate unexpected hiccups. For me, hiccups might take on the form of a cancelled retreat, a rescheduled workshop, or a virtual coffee date. I can also reframe those experiences in a way that can bring me a joy in the midst of my disappointment. I can turn my “what would have been” into a “what might it be”.
Because Jesus was prepared, he could face the wine hiccup with love and grace. Though it was not yet his time (v. 4), he obliged his mother’s request (v. 7-8). As a result of rewriting his own expectations and responding in love, the hosts were honored (v. 9-10). As I begin to engage with my changed circumstances externally, having internally prepared, I can make decisions based on what might bring others joy and honor in this unplanned situation. I have the opportunity every week—every day— to seek out new forms of connection that creates joy for others, as well as myself. It also forces me to recognize that I am not alone in my grief.
Today, for for the foreseeable future, I commit to rewrite my expectations. I will prepare for the hiccups so that when they arise, I can engage with grace and love, as I imagine Jesus would if he were me. #rewrite #hopewriterlife