Guardian Angels News

Pastoral Pearls: Expectations and Suffering vs. Acceptance

Posted by MaryPat Potts on

I find this to be very challenging and yet comforting. When I realize that I suffer because my expectations do not match reality, then my go-to reaction is to try to change the reality. “How is that working for me?” you may ask, and honestly I would have to answer,  “not so good.” I don’t know when I am going to realize that I don’t have control over what life presents to me! So instead, I complain and rant and worry and stress – and this suffering, it appears, is all on me. I am causing my own suffering, in this sense.

But many of us are presented with truly heavy suffering – loss, illness, the crumbling of our world around us, which we did not cause. In this case I am responsible for how attached I become to the emotions and reactions I have around this event. I’ve heard the phrase, “Lean into the moment,” and I see this as related to the letting go of my continual attempts to control life, and instead just allowing life to unfold, without wishing so hard that it was different.

Being open to what life offers without resisting it so intensely paves the way to a peace that I truly desire, but find difficult to experience within times of suffering. I’ve heard the saying, “What we resist, persists.” 

Hmm … That does seem to be true. After all, God promises us “Life to  the fullest,” but does not necessarily promise that life will be easy. God does promise to be with us in all of life – the suffering and the joy – and if I can dig down deep, past my own desire and expectation for life to be my way, that’s what I will find at my core. God is in my heart, always. It just takes letting go of my attachment to how I would like life to be (let go of the resisting), for   me to find the gift of God’s presence in what God is offering to me in my life. I can’t see God if I am so focused on what I want.

Loving God, open my heart wide enough to also open my eyes to where YOU are in my life.

May your presence in each moment get my attention,

even through the veil of my own desires, my own expectations,

my own attachments.

May I open myself to be filled with your Spirit and the

discernment of how best to respond to what IS, rather than what I wish it to be.

May I get out of my own way and allow myself to be lead

to the peace you offer me through your constant presence,

often buried beneath my own perceived suffering and striving for control.

Thank you for your patience with me.

I trust you, Jesus, and praise you for working to align my expectations with reality,

adjusting my response to any suffering that shows up in my life. Amen



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