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Expectations of My Mission Trip

I was asked to write a blog about how I felt before leaving for Gainesville.  Here are my feelings and expectations…
So I googled expectations and found this picture.  When I first saw it, I couldn’t stop laughing.  Then, like a brick wall, it hit me-this picture is me!  My whole life I have been a planner.  I’ve always needed to know the 1-,5-,10-year plan.  Spontaneous was never a word that described me.  In fact I looked down on spontaneity.  I mean a person is only spontaneous because they are a bad planner, right?  That was my attitude.  Whether it was hanging out with friends, doing a school project, or doing something with the church youth group, I always needed to know what the plan was (I was quite a control freak-but that’s for a different blog).  I hated not knowing what was going to happen.  When I think about it know, I think that the unexpected scared me.  What if I wasn’t prepared for what was coming?  What if I failed?  What ifs, what ifs, what ifs were constantly running through my brain.  Looking back on my high school years, I remember certain circumstances when I would get extremely upset because the unexpected happened.  I know it seems quite silly but that’s just the way I was.
And with this attitude, I was limiting my life without even knowing it.  Think about your life.  The times that you were having the most fun were probably spontaneous times in your life.  You can’t plan on having fun, it never works out if you do.  Fun just happens, it can’t be planned.  But even more than limiting the fun that happened in my life, I was also limiting God in my life.  I had these nice, neat plans, and if God didn’t work into them, then that was His fault.  Of course, I didn’t realize this at the time but it was happening nonetheless.  The times that I was limiting God the most was on mission trips.  How absurd is that?  I go on them hoping to share God, but I’m just limiting what He can do through me.  And the way I was doing this was through my expectations for the trips.  Whether I expected that I’d be hanging out with only my friends on the trip or I expected that I wouldn’t have to do work I didn’t want to, I was constantly limiting God.  God could have used me in so many ways had I gone will a willing heart!  But it was because of the failure of MY expectations of what God should do, that I was in a bad mood time and time again.  How pathetic is that-getting mad because the Creator of the World wasn’t listening to me!
Now in the past year or so, I’ve tried not to be expecting so much.  I’ve learned that my expectations lead to feelings of failure and anger.  But now my life is much different.  I’m much happier because I’m not expecting certain things to happen.  God has really been able to grow in my life because I’m letting Him make the plans, instead of me.  And trust me, He knows what He’s doing!  I’ve gone from the girl who needed to know what my life will be like in 10 years to not even thinking about what I’ll be doing in a week.  For the first time in my life, I’m being spontaneous.  I let things happen as they come to me.  And I go with the flow.  It’s quite freeing!
It’s because of all this that I’m trying not to have expectations for the next year.  But of course I have had some that I will share with you.  My biggest expectation is with my money.  A month ago when I started fundraising, I expected that I’d have my full $7,000 by the first of the year.  And as I sit here typing, on January 6, I have $2,267.  Not where I wanted to be at all.  Especially considering the fact that I can’t leave ’til I have $4,200 and I’m supposed to leave this Friday.  But with all this said I’m trying to keep an open heart to God.  He has done far greater things!  And I should be praising Him for giving me this much money so far!  So as much as I’d like to sit here and get upset at the fact that life isn’t going the way I want, I’m doing all I can to be positive and keep praising God.  I have no idea what God has in mind, but I know it will be great.
So I leave with this prayer
I have no idea what you have in store for me this next year.  And I praise you for that!  I can’t wait to be opened to all the new experiences and people that I will meet in the next year.  God please help me keep an open mind and heart to everything that comes my way.  Help me not limit myself or You.  I thank you for all the unexpected things that come my way.  Please help me approach them with a Christ-loving heart!  I know only You can make things happen.  I love you and thank you for this opportunity!  In Christ’s name