Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Problem With Expectations

Expectations can be a source of hope or anticipation in our lives. Giving us things to look forward to like a vacation or a friendship.  However, unmet expectations can lead us into a place of disappointment or failure which can drastically change how we think and feel about ourselves.

Problems arise when expectations are unmet. It causes feelings of...
Loss of approval

Which in turn causes us to... 
Trust less
Risk less
Feel we are less
Become resentful
Become angry
Take matters into our own hands 

So how do unmet expectations bring us to this point? Lets take a look at 4 areas in our lives that we have expectations
1. Expectations in what we do
2. Expectations in our relationships
3. Expectations of ourselves
4. Expectations of God

Expectations in what we do...
You look outside and the snow is piled high. The weather forecast is calling for another bitterly cold and cloudy day and you think to yourself what a wonderful respite a trip to sunny Florida could be for you. So you get some time off work, you make your reservations and you begin to imagine yourself on a hot, sandy beach reading a book while you listen to the waves crash upon the shore.  However, when the time for your trip comes your flights are delayed, the airline lost your bag and it rained the whole time.  Because your expectations are unmet, it leaves you feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed. 

Expectations in our relationships...
But the same thing happens in our relationships doesn’t it? We expect things of our friends, of our spouse, of our children and of our extended family and when those expectations are unmet we have to deal with the flood of emotions it brings. Often expectations are not expressed so our loved ones let us down without even knowing it.  Regardless, this changes the dynamic in the relationship and if not dealt with can cause lasting damage. Communication is key to minimizing unmet expectations. 

Expectations of ourselves
But what about the expectations we have on ourselves? I don't know about you but I tend to place pretty high expectations on myself--higher than I place on others. Therefore when I/we can’t meet our own expectations I/we feel like failures, unlovable, displeasing which in turn changes how we view ourselves. We must be careful about how we are coming up with our expectations.  What are they based on? If they are not from God, then they are not worth pursuing.

Expectations of God...
But what about our relationship with God? What happens when we feel like God isn’t meeting our expectations of Him? Beloved I would ask you to explore why you feel that way? God doesn’t promise to answer all of our prayers. He doesn’t promise to fix everything. He doesn’t promise to make it go our way. In those prayers we are telling God what we would like Him to do which makes us god-like. Friends we serve an audience of One. One who is good, faithful, sovereign, powerful, omnipotent, timeless and we must remember that “Gods ways are higher than our ways”. One thing we can expect and put our hope in, is God.  Everything else will fail us.  Our great expectation of eternal life and the hope of heaven will be fulfilled as promised.

Beloved "trust in the Lord with all of your heart lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6

Check out this link to Bill McCrae's article for more information about how to manage your expectations and build strong relationships with others

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