Tuesday, March 25, 2014


When I think of anticipation, it immediately brings to mind an image of my daughter in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The lights, decorations, packages, and music are almost too much for her. As we get nearer and nearer to the actual holiday her anticipation builds so much that she is usually begging, "Can't we open just one package?"

The first happiness trigger discussed in Valorie Burton's book is anticipation.

As I read that first chapter I felt like someone had been gazing into my inner being. Valorie discussed how important it is to have events that you look forward to. Well, I haven't had a lot of anticipation lately. I have been too busy just mulling through my daily routines: get up, shower, fix my lunch, take a few minutes to read the morning devotional, then head off to school. Instead of anticipation, I find myself dreading a lot of things: meetings, paperwork, work duties, house cleaning, even cooking supper at night. I spend a great deal of my time just checking things off from my mental to-do list.

It wasn't always like this. I can remember in early marriage I would wait in the living room, anticipating my husband's arrival at home so he could tell me about his day and I could share my own happenings with him. I remember the smile on my face as my young children came bounding into the room, waving a paper that had been returned that day in school. I anticipated their joyful stories, their proud faces, and even the time spent sitting beside them, head to head, assisting with their homework.

Somewhere along the way, I became too settled.... too familiar with the same old day to day routines. The joy that anticipation should have brought was replaced with a need to just get through things, finishing them up, and putting them behind me.

I think back to Joshua, in the Bible. Before he and the Israelites crossed the river Jordan he told them in Joshua 3:5:

 “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

I think of the anticipation for that event- what joy the people must have felt! Surely there were murmurings of "Whatever will happen?" and "I can't wait to see what God will do." Their joy must have been even greater as the ark was carried into the waters the next day and the waters simply stopped flowing, allowing the priests to carry the ark through on dry ground.

I think again of Joshua, when later they marched around the city of Jericho for six days and then, on the seventh day the walls crumbled. Joshua had spoken with the Lord and had been told that....

 On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

I can only imagine what Joshua felt as he headed out that seventh day. He had faith in the Lord; he knew the victory was coming. Surely anticipation was pumping through his veins, along with his blood.

What can I do then, to reclaim that joy of anticipation for myself?

According to Valorie's book I need to start with the simple things, those little things that I can look forward to at the end of the day or the week. I can remember when a nice long bubble bath was my anticipated end of the work week, perhaps I need to allow myself that time and pleasure again. 

She also mentioned counting down to those milestone anticipated events. For me, that surely means the end of the school year, as well as my retirement in a few years. I think I have been doing those things, but I have not allowed myself to focus on the bright spots related to those. I have been counting down to the end-of-year testing rather than my last day of work for the year and I have been focused on the fact that there will be no more paperwork when I eventually retire. Instead, I think I need to begin focusing on what fun things I will have time to do. 

I think of that coffee commercial showing retired people enjoying a cup of coffee on their first day of actual retirement-- Perhaps I need to picture myself doing something like that. I need to allow that anticipation to build within me, bringing me happiness as I wait for the day.

Lastly I think I need to begin to build some anticipation for what God has planned for me. Yes, God still has plans for a 50 year old woman who is nearing retirement! I need to be in prayer that he would show me those plans and I need to allow the anticipation and joy to build and grow within me as I wait. 

Are you like me? Have you allowed yourself to fall into a rut of the regular, old, run-of-the-mill? Do you need to build anticipation so that you, too, can rediscover the happiness that it brings? If so, I would love to hear from you. (I forgot to mention that Valorie also mentioned that we NEED to talk about the things that we anticipate. That helps us to not only share our joy, but focus upon it. Won't you share your joy with me?)What little pleasures bring you joy? How do you plan to focus on that joy? Leave a comment and share. 

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