Next week I’ll share the plan for the next four months and our summer reading. And as much as I want to tell you right now what we’ve got on deck, instead of straining ahead, let’s sit with Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission and authors Robynn Bliss and Sue Eenigenburgas a community one last time.
For me, what makes this book so powerful is that it takes a word we’re familiar with (expectations) but have watered down and they flesh it out. Sue and Robynn have forever deepened my understanding of expectations and how they are not the enemy. It’s good and necessary to have expectations. The problem lies when they are unexamined and in need of adjusting.
In the final chapter, Robynn share three profound, world-changing truths she came to understand as she worked through her experiences and expectations.
- God really does love me. He notices me. He sees me.
- My pain matters to God. He doesn’t overlook me.
- I am not responsible for other people and their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, or their pain.
They are simple, yet powerful and most importantly, true. What truths has God revealed to you as you read and thought and prayed about this book? If you read the book (and even if you didn’t, but have been following along in our conversations), I am certain you will see the ripple for the rest of your life.
Let’s briefly review the six areas expectations. We have expectations of:
- Ourselves and roles
- Our sending organization
- Our fellowships
- Our co-workers
- Our host culture and
Looking over this list and recalling the book, where have you been experiencing the largest gap? Do you think you need to change your expectation or your reality?
For me, I’d say, what stood out is that when I first read this book I was in a fairly large, well-established organization. This time, I’m in a much smaller one and need to handle (or find) many of the services my former organization provided. Let’s just say my relationship to health care, newsletters and communicating with supporters and taxes have radically changed.
All three have found me lying in bed in the middle of the night over the last year. Stomach in knots, overwhelmed by details that I hadn’t needed to worry about before. Actually, the truth is I needed to consider them, worry was my bonus twist on it.
Which area had the smallest gap between your expectation and reality? Which has helped you understand yourself, others, and God better? Who do you think you could give a copy to or recommend they get the book?
I have loved reading this together and look forward to the talk in the comments. These talk help the roots of these truth go a little deeper in us, don’t they? I appreciate you! Pop open a can of something cool and fizzy or put on the kettle, let’s reflect on how God has been at work. See you in the comments.
P.S. Sue has invited anyone who will be in the U. S. in November to attend this module she’ll be leading on Expectations and Burnout. There are other modules taking place that might be of help as well.
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