faith, Family

Living with Expectancy

sunrise expectanncy1

Expectancy is a new word for me. Never really thought of it before. It has a powerful and encouraging meaning for me that I hope will encourage you.

I often write about mindset how powerful and necessary mindset is to goal achievement or behavior change. I’ve said that the first step to personal change or reaching a goal is to set you mind to it; to discover the real reason WHY you want to change.

Real change in ourselves does not happen by chance or by some menial effort. Often there is a “crisis of belief” – something happens to remove the blinders from our eyes, knock some sense into us,  and wake us up to the reality that what we are doing (how we are living) and what we think or believe about something important is either not working or not true.

I’ve experienced this often in my life and I’m sure you can relate. For example, I can remember a fundamental mindset shift I had several years ago about the pursuit of material wealth. I thought that if I just worked harder and longer I would be the Jones’s that everyone would try to keep up with. I even acquired significant debt to make it seem like I was keeping up with the Jones’s, even though I wasn’t. Not even close. One day I looked myself in the mirror and said, “Dude, you are killing yourself and for what? What joy and peace do I have with all this stuff? Stop it. You need less. Less is more.”

Then and there began my journey to reduce my stuff, get rid of debt, and live more simply. It took a few years, and I’m still on the journey to eliminating debt, but we made a big move across the state into a house and mortgage about half of what we had before. I call this a ‘mid-life reset’ or ‘purposeful downsizing.’ Living with less is liberating. More time, energy, and resources to do what is most important to me rather than just trying to ‘pay the man’ and keep up with the Jones’s. BTW – no offense if your name is Jones. 🙂

Another example is in my health journey. In my mid 30’s I realized that if I didn’t make more effort to take care of myself, I risked not being able to keep up with my son as he grows up and becomes more active himself. I realized that to be the best husband, dad, employee, friend, etc. that I can be, I needed to be personally healthy in body, mind and spirit first. I also feared ending up like so many middle aged men who more or less give up on their health and suffer all kinds of ailments for the rest of their life. I didn’t want to be like that. So I made some changes to my nutrition and exercise plan and am now enjoying the benefits of being fit and feeling great into my 40’s. All because I first changed my mind and realized that what I was doing and how I was living was not working.

The most life altering example of changing my mindset pertains to my spiritual journey. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I had a spiritual crisis of belief in my last year of high school. Once I got to college at Michigan State University and away from everything I knew and experienced growing up, I made a dramatic 180 degree turn in the way I thought about my soul and relationship with God. Instead of literally killing myself trying to live a life that I thought would make me happy and always finding an emptiness in the results, I turned my life over to Jesus and began to let him guide me through life. To this day I’ve found so much more peace and joy knowing that not only is the ultimate creator of all the world a personal friend of mine, but Jesus is always with me and for me. I know for sure that when he reveals to me a mindset or attitude that needs to be addressed, he will be with me to help me and the results of the change will be worth it. I believe that my spiritual transformation would not have happened without me changing my mindset about how I was living and realizing that it wasn’t working for me.

So what does all this have to do with expectancy? For me, expectancy has become a term to capture what I believe about the result of making a mindset change. I have seen through the mindset changes in my life that the results are worth it. So when I see the need for a new mindset change about some attitude or belief I have now, I am even more motivated and encouraged to do the hard work required to make the change real and permanent because I have already seen the great benefits to my life for choosing so.

Expectancy. The state of thinking or hoping that something, especially something pleasant, will happen or be the case.

Be encouraged friend. Think about that thing in your life that you are afraid to do, that attitude or belief you know is holding you back from being your very best, that change you want to make but are afraid you will fail – maybe again for the hundredth time. Remember the things you have already changed along your life journey and how much better you are today because of it. Or think about your future self and compare what your life will be like without the change versus doing the hard work now to make your future better. Choose your hard. Do you want to do the hard work to change now and enjoy the benefits for the rest of your life, or keep your status quo today and inherit a future with pain and regret? Don’t wait any longer. Go boldly with expectancy.

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