Managing Expectations

7:27 AMHeather

Expectations. Such a loaded word. The definition of expectations is: the act or state of expecting : anticipation expectation of what would happen. I don't know about you, but I seem to be full of expectations. I expect a lot of myself. I have always been my own harshest critic. I have expectations of others. Some of them, I am well aware of, and lo and behold, I have learned to consciously express them. Some of them I don't feel I can express, but I HOPE they will be met. Some of them I am not even aware of until they are unmet. And on the subject of expectations, the unmet ones are the worst.

As I have noted, I am a slow learner. For the sake of honoring those involved, I won't mention details, but suffice it to say that my early 20's were years spent learning the hard lesson that even those who are supposed to love you the most will often disappoint you. During those times, I discovered an amazing truth in Sunday School one morning. A fellow Baylor student--whom I did not know--was killed in a car wreck. Several weeks later, his parents came to visit our college group, and I can remember vividly their testimony. They said that they had discovered that when they hit rock bottom, it was Solid Rock. Wowzers. That truth fleshed out in my own life during that season. I found that when I felt all alone, when others did not understand me, when my load was too much for others to bear---God was enough. I learned to cling to Him, like a vine clings to the branch--hence, the name of my blog.

Yet, just like my children, I have to be reminded again and again and again of certain lessons. I have the most amazing husband in the world. Truly--I could not ask for more. Chris is a servant leader. One of his most often spoken phrases is, "can I do anything for you?" I am one blessed girlie. But, even my loyal and dependable husband cannot meet my every need. I have three awesome kids, but they, too, fall short on my expectations at times. Like, say theoretically, when I have to ask them multiple times to hang their hoodies and back packs on their hooks. Ya know--hypothetical situation. And, honestly, I am surrounded by incredible friends and a church family that constantly amazes me.

But, I think one lesson learned in these last few weeks is that I have to manage my expectations. Because no PERSON is going to heal me, answer me, comfort me, save me, deliver me from all that ails me. As I am just completing Kelly Minter's No Other Gods Bible study, I was convicted this week with the harsh reality that I continually set people as idols in my life. What that has looked like lately is a sadness and longing for someone who can fix it all. CRAZY. I know! No person can do that. It's just not possible. That is beyond a full time job--who could possibly come to my rescue 24/7? Oh, wait! But, of course. The God of the Universe is mighty to save, takes great delight in me, and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). And, I am appalled at myself that I have contributed to my own frustration because I unknowingly have placed my hope in people (and doctors) to fill a God sized task. I heard this verse on the radio today: "hope deferred makes the heart sick," Proverbs 13:12. But of course--the blues that have come with this little season of life is rooted in a misplaced hope.

INTENTIONAL challenge: I believe many the marriage might be changed or even saved if the parties did not expect their partner to "complete them." (sorry, Jerry Maguire fans--it's just not feasible). I believe many the relationship might be repaired and strengthened if the hope and expectation was in Christ rather than people. I believe many the hurting heart--including my own--would be healed and encouraged if I the focus was on how GOD ALONE can meet every expectation. This is how we can manage expectations of everyone else and let them off the hook a bit (including ourselves). The Psalmist says it so well in Psalm 146: 3-6: Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. Bloggy friends--can we make a commitment to each other? When we get a bit heart sick from misplaced hope, can we remind each other of the only One capable of meeting expectations?

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