Have you ever noticed that expectations…both great and small…can be a huge source for unhappiness and discontentment? Discontentment with family, friends, work, home and church to name a few.
After running smack dab into the wall of expectations…I think perhaps there’s a better way.
That’s not to say we should do away with expectations all together. It’s reasonable and even godly to expect our spouse to be faithful and fulfill wedding vows. It’s reasonable for parents to expect a child to be obedient and respectful. It’s reasonable…but goodness knows it doesn’t always happen.
I don’t think having low expectations is good thing. God doesn’t have low expectations of us. He commands our love and requires our obedience and there are consequences when we fail. God’s expectations, unlike ours, are not motivated out of sin or selfishness.
Sometimes we’ll say we have no expectations in an effort to spare ourselves the hurt and disappointment that we feel when other people or circumstances fall short of our expectations.
So what’s a better way? I believe that God is challenging me…to run my expectations through the grid of His will. Is what I’m expecting in line with God’s will for the people and circumstances in my life? When it is, then I can freely and boldly bring my requests to God in prayer.
That’s not to say that God will impose His will upon each person and that everything will turn out the way I want. But it means that I can pray with confidence.
When my expectations don’t line up with God’s will…it’s often because my expectations are motivated out of selfishness, fear or wanting to be in control.
When others fall short…and circumstances don’t measure up to my expectations…it’s imperative that I deal with people graciously. God has been gracious and merciful to me. I’m also motivated to be gracious because I’m well aware of my own sinful nature and past failures.
Perhaps the key is to have “grace expectations”. Expectations that line up with God’s will and grace given generously to those who fall short.