I'm waiting on pins and needles. Any day now, the mail carrier will arrive bearing a large brown package. Inside, wrapped in bubble paper and shrink wrap, are the intricate designs of a custom board game: playing cards, pawns, tokens, and illustrated dice. Each piece, and the rules that bind them in play, I have labored for three years to create.

As I wait for this advance copy to arrive, I've struggled to keep my expectations in check, but the fight is futile. Everything simply must be perfect. The print job, the visual design, the game mechanics -- I am overwhelmingly invested in everything looking and playing exactly right. I check a hundred details in triplicate. Did I correctly align the card faces with the card backs? Did I remember to adjust the width of the border by a sixteenth of an inch? Did I catch every typo in the rule booklet?

Invariably, something will be wrong. It's happened before with previous drafts, and even my obsessive attention to detail cannot stop it. Here's a change I made to the game that totally threw it off balance. Here's a tweak that added complication without adding complexity. Here are seven pieces... but where's the eighth?

I'd like to say these errors cost nothing more than a few dollars shipping and a delay, but with board game design the stakes feel higher. I have friends coming over to test the game with me. When something doesn't work right -- a rule is unfair or an instruction unclear -- it really kills the experience. I want their first impressions to be, well, impressed. I want them to fully enjoy the experience of the game, and not have it tainted by those niggling errors.

Having expectations is a kind of weakness in me: a vulnerability. Expectations make my heart permeable to disappointment. I used to think that expectations were only for avoiding or releasing, but recently God has helped me see them in a different light.

I remember the days leading up to my wedding. The most common advice I heard, which was more often directed toward my wife-to-be, was "release your expectations about the event." It was a Do-It-Yourself wedding. We'd spent six intense months planning an outdoor ceremony and reception for over two hundred people. There were so many details, so many family members in delegated roles. So much could go awry. Releasing our expectations allowed us to focus on the more important aspects of getting married -- our love for each other, our families and communities -- and it helped us to enjoy beauty of the event without battling our inner criticisms.

This is the right kind of expectation-releasing. I ought not to set my hopes on things of lesser significance and lose sight of the more meaningful goal.

But what if I expect much of God? What if I expect much of myself in my vocation as a Christian, or of my three year investment in a creative endeavor like board game design? I do not see the Spirit directing me to release these expectations, which reflect my treasured hopes and desires. In fact, I see the Spirit inviting me to advocate my expectations in prayer. I see God taking my hopes and desires into His heart.

"Ask whatever you will, and it will be given to you." I marvel at how God wants to share in my life, to experience it with me. As I wait for the package to arrive, I notice God waiting with me. He's sharing in the joy of my anticipation. When my friends sit down to try it out, and after I observe the outcome of my labor, He will sit with me in the emotional unwind. This God-given capacity for "expecting" has brought me closer to Him.

Lord, make my heart permeable to your love for me, expectations and all.