What are you expecting? In life, your relationship with God, your relationship with your spouse, family, kids, or your career?
The gap between expectation and experience is often the fuel for all kinds of negative emotions. Stuff like frustration, anger, disappointment or discouragement. Your emotional response to this gap or distance usually depends on how significant the gap is between your expectations and your reality.
For instance, people go into marriage with all kinds of expectations. She's thinking one thing: "We'll get to hang out. Talk. Share. Do DIY projects together. I'll be Joanna and he'll be Chip. We'll have time to cuddle." He's thinking: "I'll have everything I need. A person to cook all my meals and sex on demand that's okay with God."
Marriage experts say its more common than uncommon for people to enter marriage with all kinds of unrealistic expectations.
Sometimes we can smile and even laugh at our differences when it comes to expectations. At other times, the gap is more painful. For example, a person goes into marriage expecting partnership and friendship, but they end up with distance – a roommate at best, or, an enemy at worst — then things escalate into a painful divorce. That gap is heartbreaking and even life-charging.
The same thing happens in business, with careers, in the area of personal health and fitness, and the list goes on. The truth is, this world is filled with people whose life hasn’t turned out the way they imagined it!
It’s frustrating to have a dream planted deep within you that never sees the light of day.
It’s heartbreaking to know that you have potential that has never had a chance to step onto the playing field. It’s devastating to have ideas that never get any traction, dreams that never become reality!
Expectations matter but unrealistic expectations can be DEVASTATING.
There’s a huge difference between living with an attitude of expectancy and faith and living in a world of unrealistic expectations.
Any time you place your expectations — underline the word "your" expectations — on God, a leader, your spouse, your kids, your parents, church, boss, co-workers or family, you’re going to end up disappointed. Why? Because they are "your" expectations, and our expectations are often completely unrealistic!
Sometimes we even put expectations on God and call it "faith." Then, when God doesn't "perform" the way we expected Him to, we get frustrated, disappointed and hurt.
What we do next is critical. Our response during these gaps will either deepen our relationship with God and increase our self-awareness or become fuel that ignites a fire of frustration and disappointment, feeds our unbelief, erodes our faith and creates even more distance between us and God.
Unrealistic expectations sabotage all kinds of marriages, businesses and relationships. Expectancy, on the other hand, is a posture or attitude that chooses to trust God and trust God's heart, regardless of my experience.
Expectancy is aN attitude that chooses to trust God and trust God's heart, regardless of my experienceS.
Regardless of the gap that might exist between your expectations and your experience, don’t stop living with an expectant attitude. Sometimes an apparent gap or delay may be the very thing that God uses to grow our character so that we can become the kind of person we need to become to handle the level of experience and blessing God longs to give!