Ann Voskamp’s (One Thousand Gifts) mother had a favorite saying- “Expectations kill relationships.” Ann extends her mother’s words in Chapter 9: “Expectations kill relationships- especially with God.” In contrast, young children haven’t yet structured their lives with expectations. They are open to the surprising wonder of the moment.
Ann notes that it’s only when our lives have been emptied that we realize how truly full our lives have been. Those who live small, the humble, live every day surprised by joy. The root word of humility is the Latin word humus, the kind of soil that grows good crops. Humility is that good earth that “grows gratitude and yields abundant joy”.
The kingdom of heaven turns our earthly expectations upside down. If we want to ascend higher, we have to descend lower. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:4, to become greatest in the kingdom of heaven, we must become humble like a little child. Ann cites the words of F. B. Meyer on attaining God’s best gifts:
“I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we would reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”