“I just can’t meet their expectations of me,” a friend confided as I listened to relationship concerns. There was that word again. What a feeling of heaviness these perceived expectations were causing!

Beliefs that certain specific things
need to happen in the near future for us to achieve satisfaction

Beliefs that other people’s behaviors,
based on our previous experience with them,
will actually contribute to that satisfaction

Belief that what we expect to happen,
should, in fact, happen in a certain way

Beliefs that our expectations are always realistic
and the only ones that matter

When I was young I understood the word ‘expectations’ to be the same as ‘living in expectancy.’ You know, looking forward to Christmas, passing the exam I studied for, going on a trip, getting a great job, falling in love, getting married, having babies, and so on and so on. Over the years I’ve learned to distinguish more clearly between the two words.

Today the word ‘expectations’ more often than not implies that someone else is dictating the terms and prescribing certain conditions on us to have their needs for satisfaction met. Having great expectations – hopes, wishes, - seems to be normal for us. But it appears we have immense difficulty dealing with the emotional turmoil when those expectations are not met. Our response to that inner conflict may be more than disappointment. It may cause us to act out in ways that are harmful to us, our relationships and even to society. Somehow we just don’t realize that not having our expectations met, may actually have been divine intervention for our own good!

How much better to let go of expectations of others or even of ourselves and live a life of expectancy! Be hopeful, anticipate the good, think likely or possible, and patiently wait for the outcome. Expectancy fuels our glimmer of hope and carries us through the storms and darkest moments. There is the potential of a change of circumstances. In fact, we may be able to affect the change with our own right response, helping to create a more positive outcome or result.

Living with expectancy has no deadline and no disappointment. It’s a life lived with an optimistic longing that future things/events/relationships may be much better than what we ever imagined or expected. There is also trust that God will work everything out for our good, no matter what happens or how long it takes. We only see in part but God sees the whole picture! When we want to force His hand to meet our expectations, we bring to light our lack of trust in His leading. It also reveals our power-hungry need to control people, circumstances, and events. We are blinded to our pride that thinks we know what is best in a given circumstance. We deceive ourselves!

Let’s learn to abide ~ live in expectancy ~ in Him, draw life from Him to consequently bear abundant fruit. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then we do not live with imposing expectations, but rather wonderful expectancy. Love, humility and unity will define us and you will never be a disappointment to me! I see God at work in you and in me! Life will be full of surprises and a sense of contentment. Remember – something good is going to happen…. patiently, faithfully wait for it!

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