Incremental Breakthroughs and Managing Our Expectations

In my previous post, Celebrate Each Breakthrough, we talk about being intentional to celebrate each breakthrough – whether great or small – because in doing so we cultivate a space for more breakthrough to happen. As we focus with gratitude on the victories, we make room for God to bring more. 

Our frustrations with the minor victories often come from an unmet expectation that a bigger breakthrough is coming. In my post The Impact of Expectations (How-to Manage Your Expectations), we talk about how much of our frustrations come from expectations that haven’t been met. But – more importantly – the fact that often it’s our expectations that are off base to begin with, and so the root of our frustration falls squarely on our shoulders. 

The same holds true with expected breakthroughs. We must be careful to manage our expectations rightly so we can set ourselves up for success. As we begin, let’s look at a scripture that can help us manage our expectations in this area. 

Deuteronomy 7:21-22 (AMP) [emphasis mine] You shall not dread them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for [if you did] the wild animals would become too numerous for you.

In these verses, God is very clearly setting the Israelites expectations. He’s preparing them for the fact that multiple smaller breakthroughs will culminate in the ultimate, big breakthrough. The takeaway we get from this is that God has reasons for why He may choose to do smaller breakthroughs rather than one big breakthrough. Therefore, we would be wise to be expectant for the greater breakthrough, but stay open to God doing it incrementally. 

If we are able to hold the “how” our breakthrough comes with an open hand, we will find that we experience a lot less frustration and let down. Our faith is simply in the fact that God is a God of breakthrough. He will bring it, but we trust Him to choose how is the best way for Him to bring it. 

This brings to mind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3:17-18 where they say God is able to deliver them, but even if He doesn’t, still their faith won’t waiver. In essence, standing in faith while holding the specifics loosely as they trust God to do what He sees as right. 

And so as we hold the specifics of our breakthrough loosely, and we celebrate each victory big or small, our gratitude for these breakthroughs makes room for God to bring more (I talk about this principle more in my post Wholeness: the Key is Gratitude (Luke 17:11-19)). So let’s choose to be intentional in our thanks, and open in our expectations, as we stand fast in our faith: our God is a God of breakthrough!

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