Expectations. This is a word that causes mixed feelings all around. We have all had them and we have all experienced them in our relationships.
Expectations can come from all sorts of places.
I remember growing up I watched a lot of fairy tales. I loved the story of two people falling in love and living Happily ever after. I dreamed of my Prince Charming. Unfortunately in my dreams he was perfect. You can see how this picture could give me some false expectations in marriage.
I grew up watching the commercials with all the skinny and perfectly beautiful women that everyone talks about and admires. They were in magazines and in life around me. I began to believe that was the expectation of was what I should look like, and I knew I could never measure up. This left me struggling to believe God and what He says about me.
Friendship and socialization were always hard for me with my hearing loss. When I entered conversations with gossip, and I joined in, I fit in. When I did what people asked me to, and I was what they wanted me to be, I was accepted. My expectation became I need to do these things to be liked or to have friends.
Jesus understood expectations. One week they were cheering Him on, and celebrating Him. Then the next thing you know, they want to kill Him.
They were expecting a King and a Messiah, but on their terms and what they envisioned Him to be. They were expecting Jesus to be someone different. They refused to accept him for who He really was.
In His ministry, Jesus didn’t heal every person He came in contact with, and some He took too long to heal according to man’s standard, but God had His own timing and purpose. Jesus rested, and took time with His Father when people thought He should keep going and doing.
My heart desires to live this way. To live each day following the Holy Spirit’s leading in doing what God has called me to do and nothing more or less.
Many times expectations are based on a lie. Sometimes we create the expectation because we are living out of the lie we have believed, instead of God’s truth and direction.
Other times expectations are there because of how we were raised, what we have been taught, people pleasing tendencies,or they have been built out of our own disappointments or an unhealthy mindset.
I love looking at Jesus’ example. He stayed focused on doing His Father’s Will and He was not willing to compromise His time with His Father. His Father’s voice was the one He listened to above all the others. He kept truth close to Him and threw off the lies when they came at Him.
When I look at this example, I can see where my struggle has been in this area. There are many times I have taken my eyes off Jesus and on my circumstances or people around me. I have compromised my time with my Heavenly Father because someone has “needed” me.
There are days when the voices in my head and around me, drown out God’s voice, and I am learning how to put on my belt of truth in a life-changing way. I have believed the lies of the enemy, and I have taken them on as truth instead of throwing them off.
When I keep my focus on living out God’s will for me, seeking Him in prayer daily, and asking Him to lead me by His Holy Spirit, it cause His voice to be the clearest. When I am in God’s Word and in prayer with Him, it is easier to throw off the lies because the truth is in and near me.
When my focus is on Him, my people pleasing tendencies fall off and my need to be accepted is filled by who He says I am in Him.
I believe that when people see us living that way, it changes their expectations too. If others know we are focused on living out God’s will in our life, that we are seeking God, and that our “no” is a result of following the leading of the Holy Spirit, then it is no longer personal.
When people tell us “no,” do we feel hurt and offended, or do we consider what we know about people? Do we consider the way they live and where God has them in life?
I have to ask myself this question as well.
I believe if we all live in this way, in the example that Jesus set for us, we would see unhealthy and relationship destroying expectations broken.
I want to challenge all of us to ask God to examine our hearts today. Let’s ask ourselves, Are my eyes on Jesus today?
Is the desire of my heart to live out God’s will for me today?
Whose voice am I listening to right now?
Am I throwing off the lies tossed my way, or am I receiving them as truth?
Am I holding offense in my heart because someone said,
Let’s take the steps in our own hearts that will begin to break off the unhealthy expectations in our lives, and may we desire God’s best for ourselves, our families, church family, and friends.