I love to cook, and I happen to be vegan. Just as with any food there are awesome vegan dishes and barely edible ones.
I was talking to a new friend who learned I was vegan and said, “Oh, I had a vegan cookie once and it was awful.” I had to chuckle, because, yes, I have had bad vegan cookies too. It happens. I love to experiment in the kitchen, with a large variety of results. A couple days ago I made a flourless cake using sweet potato, coconut, and ground nuts, I was surprised how well it turned out! It was good! I could have easily missed out had I not been so bold with putting ingredients together in a new way.
When we set “good” to equal something very specific, our expectations can limit us from experiencing other good things.
When my husband and I first got together, he was convinced he didn’t like lentils because he hated the lentil soup his mom would make. Lo and behold, he loves the spicy lentil dishes I am drawn to preparing, and he shortly realized that it was not the lentils themselves he didn’t like, but the particular lentil dish.
Sometimes we have to adjust our expectations, learn to be flexible, and exercise our creativity because life always comes with unexpected twists. If I let my expectations for my life limit or define my joy, I could miss out on what God has planned for me in a season of unanticipated experiences. The feeling of missing out on a particular form of “goodness” would come due to the mistake of looking for something else–from expecting goodness, or healing, or friendships, or opportunities, to come in a particular way.
For example, I have experienced healing miracles where God has done an instant miraculous work, and others where He has given me a physical strategy (like changing my diet) in order to lead to healing. I have also been walking through a season of chronic autoimmune issues, knowing full well that He is the healer, but finally feeling the flexibility and security of finding goodness in His person rather than needing or expecting it in my immediate circumstances. It took me awhile to recognize that my expectations for healing were hindering me from fully enjoying the presence of God, which is in itself more valuable than any physical experience–even of healing. I have been finding freedom by focusing first on God’s goodness–finding joy in worshipping Him, rather than in my experiences (in myself).
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mat. 6:33).
God is good. But God is also the ultimate Creator. His ways are not always our ways. He puts things together in an unusually creative fashion. But in His wisdom He knows what He is doing. We can trust that eventually everything is working together to become something GOOD.