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Our Handbook of Expectations and the Journal of Expectancy

Hey, friends, talking about some really deep stuff today. So we're starting with this truth bomb 

People don't come with instructions!

Wow Gosh, we wish they would, right?! It's a joke we often throw out there. When kids are born, we've got a new baby or a big change in life comes. ”Oh, if only this season came with instructions if only this baby came with instructions”. 

But in reality, we do have a handbook that guides us regarding what we expect of other people as well as ourselves. We don't consciously think of it like that, but it's very real. It's embedded in what I call “the brain Kindle”. You know, like the Kindle app, we have our list of commandments written on our souls that we've inscribed over the years, and we expect others to have read the rough scribble on the stone.

“Thou shall not speak loudly or meanly to me”. 

“Thou shall not keep me waiting.”

“Thou shall not be different than I am.” 

“Thou shall not be better than me”.

”Thou shall not be beneath me.” 

“Thou shall not strike back.” 

“Thou shall not have your feelings and needs without regard to mine.” 

“Thou shall not disappoint or hurt me.”

“Thou shall not hinder my wants and desires.” 

“Thou shall not work less than I do.”

“Thou shall be judged against my abilities, liabilities, and limitations.”

“Thou shall be able to read my mind and act swiftly.”

“Thou shall not discomfort or scare me.”

 And on and on it goes. We've developed our handbook of expectations for the people in our lives, and it's this big book on the shelf in our soul with a lot of chapters.

I want you to think of Leo Tolstoy, who wrote a book in the 19th century called War and Peace. I don't know if you've ever read this before, but it is like 365 chapters. There are four different volumes inside this one book and at the end, it's two different parts of an epilogue. I think they say it's about a 38-hour read for the average reader. Crazy, people do this as a one-year challenge, because there's a chapter for every day of the year, and then, be able to say “I've read one of the best pieces of literature from the 19th century!” You'd be able to say, “Yes, I've read War and Peace, one of the world's greatest novels!” So if you want to do that, maybe we'll have a Facebook group of War and Peace 365 days!

So think of this massive book.

Now you open this handbook in your soul, where all your expectations gather and snowball and emerge from you. You can find a chapter in there for each person in your life, maybe you have more than 365 chapters. And, just like War and Peace, there are multiple volumes, like books, within the book. Think of that as kind of like the seasons of your life. Within each season there are many people with chapters about them.

Does anyone know what the handbook says?  It's your rules and your expectations of how your friends should be, how your boyfriend should be, how any significant other in your life, how your parents should have been, who these people should be in your life, who they should be to you, what they should be doing to meet all of your wants and your needs. It's the operating system that you want others to follow so that you can find your satisfaction. And, just like your phone's OS, the operating system has updates. You update your handbook anytime your needs change or something just kind of hits your fancy and you're like oh, I need people to be like that for me. BUT this doesn't allow for anybody to have a handbook but YOU.

If you believe that you'd be happy if other people simply did and were what you demanded them to be then you're misleading yourself. You may be internally demanding it, but you're not probably consciously thinking about it all the time. 

           And when you're misleading yourself, it means you aren't leading yourself well.

We often think that our expectations are sensible, justifiable, and rational. But is the rest of the world just like you? We can’t just assume we wouldn't have so many problems with people out there not being who we want them to be.

Because of free will, you and all of your people have permission to do whatever you want to and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do, regardless of how you try to justify it or say no, I have to because they want blah, blah, blah. 

No, in truth, no one controls you and you don't and can't control others, and we keep all giving it our best shot. We keep trying to justify and control and shape and form all of the people in our lives so that we can pursue and avoid the things that we want in our lives.

Now, I believe that communicating what you want and need is a responsible, self-governing act. However, when the person you share your wants and needs with doesn't do everything in their power to give you what you want or need, then it's fully your responsibility to manage how you respond to that. It's impossible for any one person to meet all of your needs and make you feel the way you want to feel anyway, and the one who knows what you truly need and what your heart's desires are, that's Jesus, and He's the only one who can do the work, who did do the work of bringing you abundant life and complete joy. 

You have to realize that everyone around you, they all have a handbook too, full of chapters. This is especially so during a season of big days like the holidays or weddings or birthdays or all of the things like it, which gets even more heightened because of our expectations and our anxiety and our worst-case scenario planning that gets heightened. Right? But you don't find joy in being controlled by others and they don't find joy in being controlled by your handbook.

First and foremost, you have to become responsible for yourself. You have to become the story maker, someone who sees themselves and is aware of your expectations, so you can lead yourself. Well, it means being the one person who can change, control, and lead you into the way that you want things to be. 

Remember that when you make others responsible, you're giving away your true power. They're not receiving that power and doing something great with it because they're struggling to be responsible for themselves, they are much less capable of being responsible for your thoughts, emotions, interpretations, actions, and narrative belief system. You have to go take that pencil back, listen, nobody's even going to try to keep it. It's exhausting to try to hold somebody else's pencil, somebody else's story, when you're struggling to write your own. 

Take the power of the pencil of your story back from all the people that you've given it to in the form of blame, specifically. Go find your piece of paper and start developing the narrative you want to live from and go turn it into like a beautiful story about you, a son or a daughter and your loving Dad. Turn it into a story about being a co-heir with your brother Jesus and about living with the power of Holy Spirit inside of you. Let it be full of life and fruitfulness, rather than a set of rules and your personal handbook religion that other people are supposed to be the followers of.

You need to be aware of all the people that you've created a chapter about in your life. You have a chapter for each of your parents and all of the parental figures in your life. You have a chapter for each of your significant others, namely your spouse or boyfriend, girlfriend, or whoever. A chapter for each one of your children, your siblings. A chapter for each friend, each co-worker, each boss, each leader, each pastor. A chapter for every member of your extended family, every neighbor. The list goes on.

It's a very long read and the longer you live, the more people in your life, the more chapters you write, and the less aware you are of yourself and your expectations, the less willing you are to take responsibility for yourself and the more power you give away.

With each chapter you write, with each expectation you have of others to make you happy or whatever it is you want to feel, the heavier your handbook becomes. You're dragging it around with you everywhere you go. You're taking it to the Christmas parties and to work and the gym and to church and when you walk through the neighborhood and every time you hang out with your friends. You're keeping it close to you and holding it dear when you feel threatened and you wouldn't want anybody to see it. So you keep it pretty hidden. In fact, I think most of us have hidden it so well that we're unaware of it ourselves. 

And thus we live with the anxiety that something is out of alignment pretty much all of the time, and yet we can't quite put our finger on it.

I'd also say that you have a chapter for each version of you that you've created, for each season, and all of your roles and responsibilities. It's a chapter that defines who you think you should be, what you think you should do, and how you think you should operate. You're probably constantly letting yourself down if you're holding yourself up against this version of you in the handbook. 

The work I suggest you do around this isn't to chuck the book into the sea of righteousness and,  wipe your hands on your leggings and say, ”There, I took care of that. I'm not the person who has any expectations Whatsoever. I take full responsibility for myself and never need anybody else ever again to help me feel anything.”

No, first of all, that's just not sustainable. That's not going to be the way human nature leads you. I'm going to suggest that you take some time to figure it out. Look at what you are expecting from each of these people in your life?

                            I'm saying you need to get the handbook out and read it

Become more aware of what's happening behind the scenes. What has been so normal for you to live from? Then you can start to see what it is that you've been wanting and needing all of this time and recognize how others have let you down because they simply can't meet all of your wants and needs. Then you can grieve the loss of and the disappointment of all of your expectations and let that process through your soul and your body and let it out.

So what do you want the people in your life to be and do now? Why do you want them to be and do those things? How are you letting yourself be affected by what they do and who they are? How are you allowing their behaviors and actions to influence your inner life, your paradigm, your soul, and what you think and feel, leading to how you behave and what you do? 

You want others to change who they are so that they do what you want and become the people you believe you need them to be. But I want you to consider this for a minute If someone did change and give you what you right now believe you want or be who you believe you need them to be, would that change anything for you internally? Because that's just a situation or a circumstance. Whoever they are, how they're acting, and what they're doing, is simply a circumstance in your life. 

                    What those people do does not change who you are in your soul. 

It doesn't shift your paradigm. You do that. Would you still be you believing what you believe, wanting and needing things, and wishing things were different for you to be different, for you to find satisfaction or fulfillment or whatever it is you're looking for?

If you believe that others are the reason you are who you are, they are the reason you feel what you feel and they are the reason that you behave the way you do, then you're not leading yourself well and ultimately, this impacts your storyline and your legacy, all the results of your life, in a massive way. 

It's all on you now. It's your responsibility to accept this and take it to the Lord because you don't have to do it all on your own. You do this with Him. He wants to be there with you. But as long as you're waiting for other people to change and blaming other people in circumstances for who you are internally, you will never get a chance to recognize how you can bring all of that to the Lord and let him walk with you through it.

So what other people do, who they are, and how they behave, is simply the situation or circumstance that you then interpret to mean, whatever you interpret it. So if my daughter, at dinner, says something sarcastic, my interpretation of that might lead me to laugh, but it might lead my husband to be offended or hurt... It all comes down to the interpretation. And if my husband interprets what she says as mean but I interpret it as like, oh, that was humorous, that was witty, then she doesn't need to change who she is. The only thing that needs to shift is my husband and I having an interpretation.

We would have to go have a conversation and say I interpreted that as she was being funny and making a joke and he would have to communicate that he interpreted it as being mean or offensive. Then we would have to say, what do we believe about our daughter's heart and do we believe she would intentionally set out to hurt either one of us? It comes down to what do we believe about her heart? Now, it's not just about the circumstance, it's about recognizing we both had an interpretation of the same circumstance and because that circumstance and that situation revolved around our daughter, we'd have to determine what we believe about who she is and her intentions. Would she verbalize something at the dinner table to intentionally try to hurt her father, hurt his feelings, or was she just trying to be funny? 

It sounds pretty crazy, it's almost too simplistic, but if the others do what you want them to do and they are who you want them to be, then you feel good about everything. You think they care about you and they love you and they value your relationship, right, and then they go and deviate from your plan and you interpret it as the opposite, meaning they don't care or love or value you and their relationship with you.

The reality, however, is that they are just people with free will and they can do what they do and be who they are, regardless of what you want from them. Regardless of what your handbook says about who you want them to be, and how you want them to behave and operate. They can behave and operate in the way they choose. Your handbook chapter on each person and how they're supposed to operate is nothing they're aware of, nothing they can measure up to, simply a form of control. That doesn't create a true connection.

If you're always looking at the people in your life to meet your needs and make you feel what you think is a good thing to feel, you're never actually going to find true contentment and connection with them. You're going to cycle through the sabotaging belief that others are in control and have power over how you think, feel, and believe. 

When you don't take responsibility for your paradigm, you will allow your belief system to be out of alignment with God's will and with truth to lead your soul. Essentially, you're confusing true connection with feeling pandered to and taken care of, based on what your expectation of what that looks like and, depending on your narrative belief system and the root motivations behind what you believe, think, feel and how you act, you're going to interpret the world around you based on your perspective.  All of the people you've put into your handbook chapters will be held accountable to the expectations and rules you've set in place for them. Makes me think of that scripture, we're made in the image of God, and how we can easily try to create other people and decide who they should be in the image of ourselves. We want them to meet our needs rather than conforming to the image of Jesus, we want to see other people conform to the image of us or the image of who we want them to be. 

Here's the issue, everybody at your Christmas family party has their handbooks and you are actually in a chapter of each one of their books yourself. They also have a chapter or more than one chapter on themselves in their handbooks and they all have different narrative belief systems than you do, causing them to interpret their world and your actions and your behavior based on their perspective and interpretation. 

If I've lost you, I want you to re-read this. Then come back to center. You sabotage yourself when you live like your life will only be right and you will only feel good when other people are what you want them to be. The truth is, you'll never live a life surrounded by people who are all that you hope for. Yes, you can communicate better and you can move past things and forgive, but if you live life believing that fullness of joy, abundant life, and all the good, warm, cozy feelings you hope for are wrapped up in who other people are to you and what they do, you're going to simply keep cycling through negativity and hopelessness and dissatisfaction and control. 

You need to realize that no one makes you feel a certain way, you simply feel a certain way on your own because of your interpretation of what they do and don't do.

Let's dive into an example. Let's do a fun one that every client loves. Let's talk about your mom. So your mom is probably a good person and at some level, she did her best, though you might wonder why her best 100% was less than your 30%, that's an entirely different podcast, not just a different episode! 

You probably have to be with your mom sometime around Christmas or have had to in the past, and let's just say, your mom always has something to say that's like barbed wire to your ego, there's always this one sentence that comes out of her mouth that makes you feel like you just bit down on a huge chunk of black pepper and all your water is gone. 

Now it's the holidays and your family comes together and one of your sisters is going to get away with an excuse that keeps her out of dinner and you know a brother is going to placate your mom until you're overreacting and maybe you know your dad will tell you oh, you know your mom loves you and, whether she's right or not, you need to be respectful, because the Bible, after all, tells you to honor your mother and father, right? The problem is that every year, you wonder why she has to bring up the same thing time and again? Well, she has a perspective and a belief system that's ruled her life for decades. Maybe she's done some personal work and become more aware over the years, maybe not, but regardless, you find that you suffer to some degree when you're with her, especially when she gets stressed out from the holidays, right? 

Feel free to exchange the mother in this storyline or change out the character for anybody else who fits these circumstances best in your world.

So your mom also has a handbook and it tells her what she expects from you as well. You have a handbook and she has a handbook, and neither of you have a clue about what the other's handbook says, because you hide it and you don't communicate it. I want you to realize that for every time she hasn't colored inside the lines as a mother based on who you say she should have been for you, you also haven't measured up to her handbook either, and if you're justified in what your expectations are, then the natural law of things says then she's justified in what she expected from you, her child. 

The fun is just getting started here, so let's go down this road a little bit.

Your mom also has a paradigm of beliefs, thoughts, imaginations, and emotions that have led her through her life and you're not privy to them. Just like her X-ray vision does not help her to know everything there is to know about you, right? Only Holy Spirit, God, the Creator, He's the one who knows all the things. He's the one who's counted all of the hairs on your head and all the ones that we've lost. I want you to think about the fact that she is actually a person with a soul and maybe she has a walk with Jesus, maybe she doesn't, but God is not willing that even one should perish. If she does not know, the Lord God is after her, He wants to bring her into the kingdom. He wants her to have fullness of truth and if she does have Jesus in her life, God still wants to grow her soul, even if her spirit has been fully redeemed. Her soul is going through a redemptive process and she is not perfect yet and you're just like her. 

You're in the process and not perfect yet. But if you hold her up against what your handbook says about her, you're constantly going to be interpreting things out of whack, out of alignment with what's going on inside of her, because she's your mom and her intentions towards you are not to wound you all the time, she likely herself is wounded. 

       You know that hurt people hurt people. Healed people heal people. 

Well, maybe she's just not a healed person that can help bring healing to you yet and maybe God's going to provide other people for you.

I, like my mom, did not bring healing into my life, but it put me in a situation where I became passionate about being a mother and a spiritual mom and a mentor to other people because of the lack in my life, not because I had it perfectly and not because I had the world's best mom. It honestly, comes from the place of the pain and the suffering of not having a mom that was able to give me what my handbook said I needed and wanted from her, and that I should have been able to expect that from my mom. 

The problem is that we live in a fallen world and all of my expectations of perfection, they only manifest in heaven. They're not going to manifest on this earth with a bunch of broken people, and the longer I sit in expectation that all of these people should manifest heaven on earth to me, and for me, I keep myself in a cycle of self-sabotage, pain, and needless suffering.

Who are all of the people in your life that you wish would change so that they can make you happier? 

This also is different than the roles and responsibilities inside of a family or at work. This is about you and your inner life being dictated by the actions and behaviors of other people, as opposed to you being responsible for your role in your own life right, your inner life.

I also want to talk about the difference between shame and guilt in this context, because when you let others know that who they are isn't lining up with your handbook, that who you want them to be for your benefit and comfort and ease and happiness is out of order, it brings shame to them. You could probably think about other people who you know you don't feel like you're who they want you to be and how it brings shame. It says this, who you are, you're not enough or you're wrong. It's different than guilt, which says you did a thing wrong. You're not wrong. You just did something wrong and you need to admit to it, repent for it, and ask for forgiveness, that's guilt. You can just say I'm asking for forgiveness when you're guilty of something and God immediately restores us with his forgiveness. It's different than shame, which there's no answer to.

Shame and condemnation are from the enemy, they're not from the Lord. The Lord will say you are guilty of this, but I have completely forgiven you and wiped away your sins because of Jesus. But shame and condemnation come because the enemy wants to keep you in a cycle. Our handbooks can keep us in a cycle of shame and casting shame not just casting blame, but casting shame onto other people because they're not lining up with the expectations of our handbook. 

Guilt says you didn't do what I asked you to do. Maybe you have a teenager.  “You didn't do what I asked you to do before you left home today.” Now you have natural consequences, like when they were little they would lose dessert, but now it's you lose time on your phone or use of the car, etc. right? If your child didn't do what they were responsible for doing, then they're guilty of something and it simply points to something they did. But that's different than creating a sense of shame about who they are in relationship to their ability to form themselves and to exactly who your handbook says they should be.

So, when it comes to your parents, did your mom and dad have language for this? Did they read a book back in the day on how to parent you with grace and how to teach you self-governance in life? Probably not, The books and information about parenting we have today far surpasses everything written over the past centuries collectively. Then you have to consider that your parents were taught by their parents, who knew even less about all the differences in personality, gifting, calling, and all the things like neurodiversity and sensory differences, ADHD, and all of the things that we’re more of like aware of today.

Yes, they did the best they could. No, it didn't measure up to what you wrote in your handbook and no, it was never going to measure up to what you wrote in your handbook. Nobody is going to do that. Jesus is the only one. 

Whatever you write in your handbook about Him, He's so past it. You don't even know what to write. 

You can communicate to others what you want and need, but you don't have to tie what they do to your inner life operating system, your joy, and your beliefs.

They made me angry is never true. They did a thing or said a thing you interpreted it in a way that made you angry. Your mom said to you “You haven't called us in months.” You interpret this as overbearing and you might think to yourself why do I have to call you? Or I'm not at your beck and call, or no wonder I don't call you because you're going to berate me instead of just being glad I called when I did.

Your mom, however, on the inside is having a different conversation with herself, based on her interpretation. It might sound more like I don't know why she doesn't call me. I don't know if I did something wrong, we haven't deeply connected in a very long time, I always seem to say the wrong thing, I don't know what's wrong with me, I'm just not as good of a mom as she deserves. Or maybe she's thinking, I wish I knew how to express my sadness to her about the distance between us, but whenever I feel sad, it comes out as anger and I just don't know what to do about that. I hate that. Our relationship is more and more like my own relationship with my mom, and that scares me, which causes me to feel mad because I hate feeling afraid. Then I'm caught in a cycle and it would just be easier if she would just be the one who changed and be the person who shifted this whole thing because I simply don't know how to do it. 

What if that's what your mom is thinking? Oh gosh, that's a whole completely different world away from your interpretation! She doesn't know that you're thinking I wish mom could just be nice at dinner or even just be silent and peaceful for once because I miss her being happy instead of so stressed out. What you do know, what you do hear is your interpretation of the situation. You're interpreting what she's saying based on your history and how you think she should be as your mom, and she's interpreting things based on her beliefs about how her daughter should be treating the woman who raised her and supported her the best way she knew how.

I don't know if you've ever heard of Francine Rivers, one of the best Christian historical biblical fiction authors, but she's got two books that help you see external perspectives. Collectively they're called Marta's Legacy. It's two books, the first one is Her Mother's Hope and the second one is Her Daughter's Dream. I read these books when my mom was still alive, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, and I bawled my head off.

It's the story of three generations of women. You get to see the first woman's life story as she grows up and then she has a daughter and you see how much they love each other. Then you see them disconnect. Then the daughter has a daughter and you see how much they love each other. Then you see them disconnect. Then you see the connection between grandma and the granddaughter and how meaningful it is. I just wanted to sit all these characters down and say, listen, I know more about each of you than any of you know. Any of you know about one another that you don't know and I want to help you get perspective because then you can find healing and reconnect. Each of you is valuable just as you are, but you're all expecting the other to be something you expect. Can I please, please help you? 

I just remember going ah, if only somebody with this external reader perspective could sit these people down and say you're all wrong, I know better. It happens all the time in coaching where I'm just like, oh, I wish I could just help all of you.

 I've done a lot of conflict resolution and mediation over the years, and when I'm able to come in and bring this external perspective and help them all debrief and see each other pull out the inner truth, it is so amazing and everybody cries and hugs each other at the end! I wish that we had more of that in our own lives, people to help us see that we're living from our handbook. 

So you can choose to surround yourself with people who do show up for you and who like being with you the way you are, without controlling you to be who they want you to be, and people who know who they are themselves. But there are a lot of people in your life you don't get to choose like your family and coworkers and neighbors, all the people who just like show up in your life and they're there and you can either live like they're against you based on the fact they don't follow the rules of your handbook, or you can let them be who they are and let them see you set an example of living with responsibility for yourself, leading yourself well. 

                          You can live like you can't control anyone but yourself. 

Ultimately I know this has been long, but it's been on my heart to share this with you during this season of big days.

My suggestion to you during this holiday season, when expectations are high and situations are highly triggering and emotions can get high, is to bring rationale to a lower level, I want you to remember you're capable of managing yourself, and remember that you alone can manage your paradigm. You alone can manage the shifting of your thought life, by laying down the handbook. You alone can voice what you want and need and still allow others to be who they are authentically. 

What if you were no longer super concerned about others being and doing what your handbook says? I'll tell you what can happen. You can find peace. You can decide for yourself how you're gonna respond. Instead of getting so reactive, you can decide to allow your thoughts to be creative about how to honor the one in front of you and leave reactivity behind you. You can allow yourself to interpret things from God's perspective and their perspective. Rather than demanding that what you believe is true or your interpretation is the only right one, you could let the people in front of you explain what's happening for them, what's their interpretation, what is their narrative, what are they thinking, and what is their intention. Or if you can't do that, you can just go to Jesus and ask Him to help you understand and forgive and operate with grace.

I'm saying we all have a handbook of expectations and it's got a chapter in it for each person in our lives, even groups of people, but what I encourage you to do is to continually try to lay that down and instead create a journal of expectancy. This is what I would put in the journal “Promises that God has given you”, both promises from the Bible and promises from personal experiences and conversations you've had. I would put gratitude and thankfulness, and then I would combine that with communion consistently, not just Christmas and Easter communion. I would put in there stories of God showing up for you, stories of others showing up for you, how God and others in your life are taking care of you and being who you needed them to be, even if it's not what you thought you wanted or needed, but it turned out to be. I would put in there all the hopes and dreams and desires in your heart that you wanna see come to pass, and anything that shifts your heart into a place of expectancy that God is for you. Jeremiah 29:11 is true and your handbook doesn't have to rule or ruin your life. 

What does this do for you? It helps you have hope for the others in your life instead of comparison, anger, and disappointment. It helps you think new thoughts and get curious about what God might be doing in their lives. It helps you set your mind on things above instead of dwelling on what's going wrong based on what your handbook tells you should be happening. So your handbook is something that you can lay down and when you find that, you pick it up again lay it down, that's grace, right, that's God's mercy and grace.

In our lives we pick up the stuff He says we don't have to carry, and then we just go back and lay it down again when we realize we picked it back up. There's no shame or condemnation for us in Christ because He knew you're gonna pick it back up, but He is still with you and you can keep laying it down again and again. You're likely never going to live life on earth without a handbook to some degree but you have permission to be in progress and you can begin to learn how to manage yourself and write your own story powerfully and allow yourself to navigate life the best way that you can, even though everyone around you has a chapter of their expectations of you in their handbook. 

Just do the best you can, give yourself grace and be understanding about it, set an example, and love the one in front of you while they are grasping tightly to the volumes of war and peace in their arms.

I pray that this blesses you in a way that can help you through this season with a new perspective, filled with more grace and truth, both for yourself and for others, because they matter. It's just time to lead yourself well and become the hero of your own story and when others see that happening, that's going to help them guide them into truth and joy as well. You can pray for them, that God will be right on time in their story, just as He is in yours. All right, bless you, and have a great week. 

***VIParts of this episode to refer to:

Jeremiah 29:11 '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.'

What to put in your Journal of Expectancy:

~Promises God has given you, both from the Bible and personal experiences. 

~Gratitude and thankfulness for everything. Combine this with communion.

~Stories of God showing up for you.

~Stories of how others have shown up for you.

~Hopes, dreams, and desires in your heart that you’d love to see come to pass.

~Anything that shifts your heart into a place of expectancy that God is for you, that Jeremiah 29:11 is true, and that your handbook doesn’t have to rule or ruin your life.


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