Our Expectations Shape Our Experiences

Our Expectations Shape our Experiences

Never forget that our expectations shape our experiences.

“What we are ‘primed’ to see influences what we notice, remember, and put our attention top.” Ann Betz

Saying “I won’t be nervous. I won’t be nervous. I won’t be nervous.” Will only make you more nervous. Instead, focus on how much you care and what you want to get done.

Don’t worry about being the best. Enjoy being the best you!

7 Seconds – What do 7 seconds mean to you? How important are first impressions?

7 Seconds – What do 7 seconds mean to you?
7 Seconds.
During a speech, when you forget what to say, 7 seconds is an eternity.

During your first date, when holding a kiss, 7 seconds is gone in a heartbeat. That 7 seconds is never forgotten.

During lunch, when putting doughnuts out for desert, 7 seconds is enough to say, “What doughnut?”

During an interview, the first seven seconds creates your first impressions. They establish the tone of the interview. They can make huge difference for you in the long haul. They can make the difference between being hired or not. First impressions, amazingly influential.

How important are first impressions?
We all create first impressions nearly every day. First impressions are a key factor in networking with other people and establishing new relationships. First impressions are a key factor in determining whether we will accomplish our goals on our own. Or, if we will have someone else’s assistance.

For example, when meeting someone on the airplane, or church, or at work, how do you answer the question, “What do you do?” Your answer will determine whether you will get to know this person. Your answer will also determine if that person was placed in your path so that they can help you. Or, if you can help them.

Breaking down first impressions into parts using Romans 1:1-16:
Let’s take a look in the book of Romans for first impressions. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he had not yet met the Romans. So, we can see in the first 16 verses how Paul created his first impression.

I’m going to break down the first sixteen verses into 8 parts. And, in those 8 parts, Paul introduced himself, stated who he worked for, stated his goals, showed how his goals effected the Romans, told what Paul was thankful for and how much he cared, showed what Paul had in common with the Romans, and showed how Paul could help the Romans.

Name and job title:
Verses 1-2, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,”

Description of Paul’s boss:
(This like us describing the company we work for)
Verses 2-4,”concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Paul’s Goal:
Verse 5, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,”

How Paul’s goal effects his audience:
Verse 6, “including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is Paul thankful for:
After the greeting, it is common for Paul to state what he is thankful for. For example, see 1 Cor. 1:1–9; Phil. 1:1–8; Col. 1:1–8; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:3; and Philem. 4). Romans 1, verse 8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”

Paul show’s how much he cares for the Romans:
Verses 9-10, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”

Paul states what he has in common with the Romans:
Verses 11-13, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Paul states how he can help the Romans:
Verses 14-16, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Paul did all this in sixteen verses. That’s amazing.

Looking forward
We can choose to work on our first impressions or not. I choose to work on them.

Here is a good way to determine how good your first impressions are. Try it for yourself. In 20 seconds, can you state your name, what you do, and your goals for the future? Yes, in only 20 seconds. Why only 20 seconds? That’s your first impression. After that, find out about the other person. What do they do? What common interests do you both share? How can you help them? If the other person is interested, you can provide more details about yourself.

Lord, thank you for great examples of first impressions. Help me to clearly see how Paul created his first impressions. Help me to learn the lessons that I need to learn so that I can apply those first impression lessons to my life. Please increase your wisdom in my life. The next time I have a chance to make a great first impression, I am going to remember Paul’s example.

I never thought I had self-esteem issues until a read the story of a man who had the patience to wait.

He’s a follower of Jesus Christ. His whole spirit has been committed to it for quite a while. When he talked of what he knew, incredibly blessing flowed with his words. God blessed his actions. He knew it. He was thankful for it. He said so to God every single day.

Lately, he heard of his friends in a different country. The reports of their faith were being told to the whole world. Saying that he desperately wanted to visit them would be an understatement. He yearned to impart and share with them some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish them. Still, every attempt to travel there had been hindered. Every plan that had been made had been prevented. He pleaded with God that somehow by His will he would proposer and see them.

I thought about him. I thought about his prayers to God. They were nothing like mine would be. I would be saying things like this.
“God, do you really want me to go there?”
“God, maybe my words aren’t as good as I think.”
“God, maybe I can’t help them.”
“God, you’re right. I’m no good to them. I really shouldn’t go.”
“God, are you trying to stop me from going there so I don’t hurt them?”
And, the list would go on.

My thoughts would be filled with doubt, fear, and self-esteem issues. I would doubt my calling. I would believe that God is saying no.

Yet, that’s not what Paul said in Romans 1:11-13, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Paul wasn’t doubting his calling like I would have done. Paul knew that they could and would build each other’s faith up. He also knew that he would be able to honor God through showing God to the people there. See Romans 1: 1-16.

Paul had the confidence and self-esteem to know that he could honor God through his actions. He also had the grace and peace and patience to wait for the opportunities as God presented them. Paul knew to wait on God.

Psalm 139:7-10 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Sunet Over the Dead Sea from the Glow Bible.
Psalm 139:7-10
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

When I have a skill to offer, a skill that I’m good at, a skill that can really help other people, do I have enough self-esteem to wait on the Lord to share it? Or do I force the issue, which invariably causes more issues.

When people cut me off on the road and disrespect me, do I get mad?

When someone speaks a cruel words to me, do I get depressed?

When I fail, do I tear myself down?

For me, all these issues relate to self-esteem problems. Then, I prayed to God about it. That’s when God showed me many verses on self-esteem. Now I read them out loud, daily.

Psalms 139:13-15, “13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11, “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Titus 3:5, ” 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”

Luke 12:6-7, ” 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

1 Corinthians 10:13, ” 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

There are so many more.

God, please help me to believe who You say that I am.
God, please teach me how to ever increase my trust in You.
God, please help me to look to you daily for my self-esteem.

When we take time to pray, what should we pray for?

When we take the time to pray to God, what should we pray for?

John looked down at the pick slip in one hand and into the eyes of his newborn baby, Jenna, on his lap with a plush football in her mouth. “What can I do now?”

Jenna cooed at John and played with the football.

What? No, I can’t bother God with this. He’s much too busy right now for such a small request. We’ll figure it out together.”

“I remember holding your older sister for the first time. I was so terrified that I was going to break her.”

Jenna suddenly squirmed and yelled!

“What wrong baby girl?”

Jenna threw the football on the floor.

“Yeah, your right. I finally figured out that holding you is just like holding a football. Things were fine after that. I tell you what bitty baby, football treated your old man pretty good. It got me through college. God sure provided there. Wait! Wow, you’re pretty smart for a baby. I’m going to have to watch out for you. I’m going to need God’s help again. Instead of doing it all on my own, I need ask for God’s help to find a new job so I can afford to take care of you two beautiful babies and a beautiful mama. He sure did help me on college! Smart baby!”

Romans 12:2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

John prayed and prayed and prayed for God to show His will. John also connected with his friends at church who ran a charity that helped people like John to find new jobs.

After a time, John received not one, but two job offers. John breathed a huge sigh of relief. One of the companies was even willing to pay for his move. John happily accepted that offer.

To John, his world looked like this picture of New York from Fireelf.com

New York from Fireelf.com
New York from Fireelf.com

“Well little baby. I need to talk with you more. It finally makes sense. Now I know to I should have prayed to God not only about getting a new job, but I should have been praying for how to take care of my bitty babies and how to hold them. Thank you for showing me that God cares about everything that I care about.”

“Dear God, please teach me how to honor you with everything that I do because you care for it all.”

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Am I depressed? Do I only see the things I cannot do? Or, am I thankful for my skills, my friends, and the beauty around me?

Am I depressed? Do I only see the things I cannot do? Or, am I thankful for my skills, my friends, and the beauty around me?

Piercing blue eyes looked back at him in the mirror. There’s too much gray. I look old. I wish I didn’t have to do this. I hope I don’t get kicked. Maybe I should put some pads underneath my jeans and teeshirt. Naw, that would look stupid. I feel stupid enough. Let’s get this over with.

John picked up his violin and walked out the door.

In no time, John walked to the interior of a busy train station. He listened to the trains starting and stopping. The overhead voices guiding people to the right tracks. People drinking oceans and oceans of coffee and running to the bathrooms.

Well, here’s the spot.

John opened up his violin case and left it open on the floor in front of him. He picked up his violin which revealed a “Donations Welcome” sign. He pulled out his bow.

Sweat beaded as John played hour after hour. Some clapped lightly. A few families stopped briefly and listened. Most didn’t even know he was there even though they passed within ten feet. However, there were those couple of policemen that were leaning against a pole a little ways away and watching him with some interest.

Finally John got up the courage and looked into his violin case. Four dollars and thirty two cents. That’s really insulting. I might as well stop. I have a couple of hours to clean up before I play again.

John went back home, took a long shower, and groaned loudly. Oh does that feel good. Thank you God for warm water. John stepped out, toweled off, groomed, and put on his tux.

An hour later John was standing in front of one of the premier symphonies in the country. People cheered wildly as the first violinist weaved the same intricate melodies that he had played only hours earlier. No one noticed him in the train terminal. Everyone noticed him now.

After the concert, John met the researcher. “It went just like you said. I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself. It’s truly amazing how much is right in front of us that we just don’t see. By the way, thanks for the police.”

Photo Source: EarthRandom.com
Photo Source: EarthRandom.com

Just like a tree can filter the light, the earth is filled with beauty that we miss every day because we’ve simply filtered it out.

Do I feel anger with all of the nasty traffic? Or, do I notice the beauty of the forest that I am driving through?

Do I judge people just because they look and act differently? Or, do I see that everyone is a genius at something.

Do I go though life thinking that God isn’t there and doesn’t care? Or, do I look at what He has promised to me and look for His answers.

Am I depressed because all I see are the great things that I cannot do? Or, do I listen to what Mother Teresa used to say, “do little things with great love. If you can’t do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can’t do them with a little love, do them anyway. Love grows when people serve.”

John 20:14-16 “Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).”

Just because we don’t see Him, doesn’t mean He’s not there – remember the wind.
Be intentionally thankful for the skills we do have.
Be intentionally thankful for our friends.
Be intentionally thankful for the beauty around us.

My kids see everything that I do – even during the worst times. What am I passing onto them?

My kids see everything that I do – even during the worst times. What am I passing onto them?

Ripples-in-pond by Doug Demercurio

This day was is long and dark and cold.
I stand and stare. What can I do?
The trees are dead and dropping leaves.
There are no seeds to plant in spring.

I turn and walk inside the house.
My heart does burst. Where is there hope?
The walls of pine are cold and bare.
The lights are off for lack of juice.

The lions den has welcomed me.
The nine foot giant’s killing me.
The giant fish has gulped me up.
I have nine plagues that torture me.

There is a chair with no one there.
I stand and stare. What can I do?
A blackend stove that has no wood.
A cold dark box that has no food.

I have three kids that I must feed.
My heart does burst. Where is there hope?
I have three kids who have no clue.
I have three kids without a mom.

The lions den has welcomed us.
The nine foot giant’s killing us.
The giant fish has gulped us up.
We have nine plagues that torture us.

My heart is black and drying up.
Where should we go? What should we do?
What can I do for our despair?
Where can we look for some respite?

My hands are tired and very sore.
What can I grasp? What can I hold?
Who can know this dire black?
Who can know this kind of pain?

The anger of lions tears us down.
The giant’s blows close our eyes.
The fish’s despair isolates us.
The plagues force us to run away.

I prayed to You to give me light.
I prayed to You to give me hope.
I prayed for Your insightful words.
I prayed for Your discerning ears.

We prayed to You for our lost mom.
We prayed to You for hungry mouths.
We prayed to You to dry our tears.
We prayed to You to hold us close.

The lions now do stop and stare.
The nine foot giant’s quietly asleep.
The giant fish does look confused.
We have nine plagues going away.

There is a knock upon our door.
Who can it be? What can they want?
We’re not alone. We’re not forgotten.
We all do hope for radiant smiles.

Then I learned a simple truth.
Growth is hard and growth takes pain.
But never think we are alone.
With neighborly love, we all can live.

The lions now provide us food.
The nine foot giant is just a friend.
The giant fish brings so much help.
We have nine blessings aimed right at us.

We’re not alone. We’re not one piece.
We all do struggle with so much grief.
We all have skills that we should share.
We all have ways to help another’s pain.

Just like a drop of water falling,
the ripples effect much more then me.
I want to pass along my hope
onto my kids and the whole world.

Please instill in me a thankful heart.
Please open my eyes to see the needs.
Please open my ears to provide support.
Please open my hands to help them out.

Ripples-in-pond by Doug Demercurio

Reaching out for all I can, what is in my grasp? Strife or contentment?

My tears do bulge because I have no power.
They call in vein and ask for some respite.
“I have no chance to heal the strife or wounds.
No hands will help. Nor eyes nor ears do care.”
I’m so alone and no one understands.

The power resides with those who beat me down.
They hold my food and everything I need.
They tell me they know what’s best for me.
They pull my strings and make me do bad things.
My tears do fall in overflowing seas

To my surprise a hand comes reaching down
and helped me up and dusted off my strife.
“I’d like to help to show you now what’s wrong.
With both hands full you’ll aways want for more,
and then you’ll always live under their control.”

I asked for more, I did not understand.
“If all you crave is filling both your hands
then restless hands will always search for more.
With both hands full you’ll never know real peace
because all you’ll see is what they give to you.”

“Be satisfied with keeping one hand full.
Being satisfied widens your vision to use your gifts
better and better then you can ever imagine.
All you need is there within your grasp.
Wanting for more fights against using what you have.

Power comes through expertly learning a skill
And using that skill with God’s unfailing wisdom.

ECC 4:6 “Better is a handful of quietness than
two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”