June 22 - Expectations

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 22 – Expectations

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)

The world never makes it easy for us to be ourselves.  From the moment we begin interacting with it, there are expectations that are set before us and sometimes it is just easier to live up to those expectations rather than be something different.

At the age of 5, my father put me on a piano bench.  I took piano lessons every week of every year and I knew that he expected me to be a concert pianist.  He had no other desire for my life but that.  I practiced and practiced so that I could meet his expectations.  I did well … exceptionally well, but my heart was never there.  The most difficult day of my high school life was the day I had to tell him that I just couldn’t do it.  I was miserable because of his expectations.  I didn’t enjoy playing because of those expectations.  His hopes and desires for my life weren’t at all what I wanted for my life. 

(Please don’t misunderstand – I’m thankful for the background in piano – and grateful for the discipline that he taught me.)

Up until that day, I had hidden my true self from him because I didn’t want to disappoint him, I didn’t want to argue with him about it.  He was the law in our home and I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than what he expected of me.

Nicodemus and Joseph lived as Jews within their community.  Jews who lived up to the expectations of their positions.  Their hearts were no longer in it – they wanted to follow Jesus, but they had to operate in secret because of the laws of the land and the traditions in which they had grown up.  This day they set that aside. Something greater than their secret needed them to come out into the open with their own heart’s desires. 

What, in your life are you doing about other people’s expectations?  Do you live up to them because you must or because it is where you should be?