The 7Up Principle: Managing Expectations

I like 7Up.

I like an ice cold glass of water.

I don’t like getting one when expecting the other.  Spit-take ensues.

In sub-Saharan Africa, a young boy re-inflates his one toy, a worn out soccer ball.  He jogs down to the open “field” of dirt after finishing his bowl of UNICEF rice for the day, and starts kicking his soccer ball around…soon to be joined by other similarly impoverished youth in a game of football – world style…and they are all happy.

In Suburbs USA, a young boy rolls out of bed early in the morning without prompting, and rushes downstairs to the annual celebration of Christmas, and is soon disappointed that he didn’t get the go-kart he had asked for.  He got plenty of other things, he even got several things he had asked for…he just hadn’t gotten the thing his heart was set upon.

Before you start bemoaning the American youth, or praising the African one, think about expectations. The African boy got what he had expected, and was in fact rich in comparison to his playmates.  If his soccer ball had burst in the midst of his daily routine, happiness would have likely not been the result.  The reverse was true for the American.

What do you expect today to bring?  How do you expect to be treated?  What do you expect you will have to do?

God wants to give us as a gift to the world, our expectations are generally the reverse.

Do you want to be happy today?  Begin with a simple prayer something like this:

“Dear Lord, please help me to roll with the punches today.  Help me to focus on bringing joy to others and pride to you.  May I handle problems, people, and problem people with grace and understanding.  Thank you for this day.  Please help me to not waste it.  Amen.”