It’s rather odd to think how much we plan and how much we expect from different situations in life. If you’re like most people, we like to plan our life step-by-step, and expect things to go exactly how we planned.
But how often does something go wrong, and we are left feeling discouraged and disappointed. For example:
- You may not be married yet—and sometimes you feel like you’re not good enough to ever be liked by someone worthwhile.
- You expected someone to feel the same way that you feel about them.
- You expected to have a different job and to be making more money to support yourself instead of living at home, wondering what you could have changed.
Maybe you’re disappointed because you are not really close with your best friends anymore, and you feel lonely and have no one to confide in. Or you have been exercising each day, and eating healthy food, but you still feel unattractive and not good enough.
These are real issues people face each day.
What Are Your Expectations?
We could come up with lots of situations in our lives where we expected something out of a situation but left only feeling hurt, and discouraged! How great it would be if everything went to plan—but unfortunately it doesn’t. I think some marriages fall apart because of unrealistic expectations. If I marry you, will I be happy, and have all my needs fulfilled?
Probably not if the couple haven’t talked about this issue. A Christian writer said recently, “Expectations are only valid if they are verbally expressed and mutually agreed upon”. How can you have a happy marriage unless you communicate about these issues, rather than be angry, clam up and say nothing?
What do I expect of myself? That’s a hard question, I know, and not easy to answer. We need something to strive for in life, and that’s OK. But sometimes we fall short of the mark and that can be a soul-destroying moment—we end up setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. Others say failure is just a stepping stone for success—it really depends on your attitude. Are you too hard on yourself?
What about your expectations of others—what do I expect of others? Am I honest and realistic about them? Do I extend grace to other people, regardless of whether this act of kindness is reciprocated?
You may have heard of the traveller approaching a town he hadn’t been to before, and came across a wise man who was just leaving the town: “Can you tell me about this city? What’s the quality and character of the citizens here?”Well, stranger, the old man replied, what were the people like in the last town you visited? “Oh they were a cold bunch of people with no kind words for anyone. It wasn’t a happy place. They were very judgemental, mean-spirited, and unwelcoming. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough”. The wise man paused a while: Ah, I believe you will discover the citizens of this town are exactly the same.
A while later, another stranger on his way to this town approached the wise man, with the same questions. The wise man asked the question: What were the people like in the last town you visited? “Oh, they were an amazing group—outgoing, friendly, and welcomed me with open arms. I felt like each one was my brother and sister. I miss them greatly”. The wise man replied, I believe you will discover the citizens of this town are exactly the same.
You will discover people to be as you expect them to be. It largely depends on your own attitude.
Place Your High Expectations in the Right Person
What do I expect from God? Have you thought about this question? This is the most important question of all. Don’t ignore this one because whether or not you believe in him is vital. It makes all the difference to life and your own expectations. The Bible says God is love, and this love extends to you personally. He wants to share your life. Why not make a firm decision to discover more about him this month. The word ‘expect’ is a big word full of hope and anticipation. The Psalmist prayed this prayer in Psalm 5:3 (NIV):
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
This is faith in action—praying to God and waiting for his answers. Proverbs 16:9 (CEV) says, “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go”. I can plan as much as I want but the Lord is the one who is going to make things happen. I can’t expect everyone to be perfect because they are imperfect.
I need to place my trust and my high expectations in the one that can make things happen, Jesus Christ! I need to remember I don’t have the perfect plan—he does!