Anticipation is oxygen for the soul. It’s also the genesis of discouragement.

* We’re headed South this summer, to Disney and coastline, Sea World and Universal Studios. Anticipation is running high these days. The kids are giddy with the stuff. We adults are pretty stoked, too.
* My book, Finding Home, just got sent off to iUniverse for the next phase of the self publishing journey, and I can hardly wait to hold the first hard-cover copy in my bare hands.
* This Fall Shauna and I will have been married 15 years, and I’ve already got intimate plans for our celebration.

Anticipating all these things carries me. It directs my energy, narrows my prayers, fuels my focus. But anticipation is made entirely of expectations. We’re hoping for sunny weather, short lines to the best rides, a van that keeps running with a hulk of an air conditioning unit. I’m dreaming of my book looking slick, selling really well, and changing lives for eternity. And I’ve got some really romantic things in mind for our anniversary.

None of those things may materialize. And then what? What do I do with all the failed expectations? Disappointments can either breed plan ‘B’s and ‘C’s and ‘D’s, or it can bottom out into full blown despair. God can get blamed for things he had nothing to do with. And who said my expectations were worth expecting? Or even right to entertain in the first place?

Part of it, I think, is focusing anticipation on the right things, eternal things. Not sunny days and big waves and things we can’t control — but things like deepening love, both given and received; joy in the moment, whether it’s raining or pouring; intimacy with God, and lessons learned; opportunities to grow as a person, and memories worth holding onto.

Man, it’s going to be a great summer.