Check Your Expectations

The topic of expectations is big. Expectations can be good, but can also get us into trouble more than we realize. We have expectations about our children. We expect our spouse to do this or that. We expect that life should flow with joy if only we get it right. 

Of course, God would have us expect the best, expect answers to prayers, and expect he'll guide us, but sometimes we expect things he doesn't have anything to do with. I meet many women who expect God has a BIG ministry waiting for them. Yes, he has a ministry for them, but it may not look the way they expect.

One expectation many people have is that they should be happy all the time. But that type of thinking is misdirected.  No one is happy all the time. 

When disappointment comes, when feelings of boredom arrive, and so on, the person with unrealistic expectations too easily falls prey to disillusionment and maybe even depression.

There is no use in denying the full range of human emotions most of us deal with. It is better to feel and acknowledge our feelings than is to not feel. In other words, some negative, worrisome, boring feelings are normal and meant to be temporary. Denying they exist is pointless. It is far healthier to acknowledge your feelings and to get used to the idea that you're normal.

You can get into trouble thinking your life should be better than it is. You can get into trouble thinking you should be happier. 

I often dream of being in another role. Focusing too much on what I wish was happening instead of what is happening is destructive and makes me feel worse. 

Psychologist Lyn Everingham states:

"Being sad doesn't mean you aren't coping with a situation. In fact, embracing sadness for a short period of time can often be a good thing; it helps you think about and come to terms with whatever has upset you, so you can eventually move on and feel positive again."

So turn your thoughts toward God. Don't dwell on what isn't working, what's broken, what you can't afford, the ministry that didn't work out, the job you didn't get, what is out of your control, and so on. Ask God to clarify your expectations. Look for him to re-align you with his perfect plan. Feel your feelings, and emerge a better and stronger person who trusts God. 

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