I have heard it said, expectations are a breeding ground for disappointment. I have to agree, especially when that expectation is something you’ve created in your own mind with no input from the people you ‘expect’ this thing from.
Many years ago we pioneered a small church in our home town. I had spent most of the summer of 2006 on the road with our oldest son ministering at the track and webcasting drag racing. I was sensing the Lord’s leading to move in the direction of birthing a church. This was something I always felt I was suppose to do. Why, because that’s what’s ‘expected’ of ministers, your ultimate goal is to become the pastor of a local assembly of believers.
There is not enough time to get into all of the details, suffice it to say it did not work. The Lord did put us together with a local church who’s pastor had stepped down. We met and decided to see if the Lord was in this effort. After 4 months, we closed the doors. My disappointment was poignant. What had I done wrong? Did I miss the will of God? Could I have preached better, led better? Nothing, no, no and no were the answers to my questions.
I was confused and bewildered. If I did not miss God, then why did this not work? The Lord spoke a simple word to me in that still small voice, “Do not apply man’s definition of success to My ways.” Our purpose had been to transition the members to other churches and show me that being a church pastor may not be the path He wanted for me, at least not at that time. My expectations had been met with disappointment. However, the will of God had been accomplished.
Examine your path today. Do you have unmet expectations? If so, are they because of something you created in your own mind? The answer just may surprise you.
by Os Hillman
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20
Have you ever had expectations that did not get fulfilled? Perhaps a coworker let you down. Perhaps you were trusting God for something in your life that never materialized. Perhaps you became devastated by an unmet expectation that you felt you were entitled to. Expectations can be a difficult trap for each of us if we are not fully committed to God’s purposes in our lives.
Paul wrote this verse from prison to the people of Philippi. He had an expectation that his life would bring glory to God, whether through his continued ministry or his death. His joy in living was not based on his expectations getting fulfilled, but on remaining true to the purpose for which God made him.
When we react to circumstances with bitterness and resentment as a result of unmet expectations, we are saying that we know better than God, and that God has made a mistake in not meeting our expectations. The process of resolving unmet expectations may require full disclosure to the individual who was the source of the unmet expectation, and of how the unmet expectation made you feel. This is not to make the person feel obligated to meet the expectation, but simply to share your feelings about it. If God was the source, then it is important to share this with the Lord. However, once we have done this we must let go of the situation and allow God to work in our hearts the grace that is needed to walk in freedom from the pain of the unmet expectation. If we do not do this, we will allow the seed of bitterness and resentment to enter in. This seed of bitterness will create leanness in our soul and eventually will spread to others.
Ask yourself today if you have any unmet expectations. How have you responded to them? Have you processed this with the Lord and others who may be involved? These are the steps to freedom from unmet expectations.