I am a person who has high expectations for people and experiences. I feel that people may not see the potential in themselves that I see. I feel the need to constantly be doing something to get the most out of my time. But, I often long for something more.
Many times, I’m left disappointed from failed expectations. I’ve pondered what someone could, or should, do differently. I’ve wondered why after I’ve achieved my experiences I still feel a void.
To name a few:
I’ve had expectations for my husband. That he would do things for me or our home without my prompting. When those expectations are not fulfilled, I’m left feeling angry.
I’ve had expectations for my friends. That they would be there for me more often- providing social gratification. When those expectations aren’t met, I’m left feeling lonely and unwanted.
I have expectations for my child. That he will stay on a path of purity, choosing right over wrong. If that expectation doesn’t get met, I will feel like I’ve failed or that I could’ve done something more.
I’ve had expectations for my job. That my income would supplement our family to buy the things we need or want. When those expectations were exceeded by more spending on needs than earning, I was left with bitterness and resentment.
I’ve had expectations for food. That the sweet and savory taste of unhealthy eats would provide me a fulfilling satisfaction. When those expectations fall short, I’m left feeling regret and shame.
You see, dear friend, expectations for things of this world will always fail us. Maybe not right away. But it eventually catches up. It will lead to disappointment and hurts that are not of God.
The truth found in scripture reveals, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26). If only I would put my high expectations in God, the giver of life and of all good things.- “how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
There are a few variations of meaning for ‘expectation’. The Hebrew transliteration is tiqvah- meaning hope, or a thing longed for. The Greek transliteration is apokaradokia- meaning persistent, or intense anticipation. Applying this literally means to watch with head erect, to direct attention to anything, to wait for in suspense.
I must turn my expectant thoughts on God. I must hope and long for Him to meet my needs. I must persistently and intensely anticipate the good that will come when I focus on Him.
God is Sovereign and His promises are unconditional. Instead of focusing my expectations on people and experiences, I will focus on God and His truths:
- When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations… For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!- Isaiah 64:3-4 (NLT)
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus… which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth... It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth…- Colossians 1:4-6 (NLT)
- All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.- 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)
My friend, you may have expectations very similar to mine. Maybe yours are to a lesser or a greater degree. Maybe yours is in a phone call, a good report, a new home, or even as simple as expecting to have a good day.
It’s not bad to have expectations. Just remember the source. Things of this earth will fail us. Instead put your expectations in God, the only source to provide anything we could hope for, and more!
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”- Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)