Personal expectations can be a source of satisfaction and joy, as well as a source of disappointment and frustration. But why do we get so disappointed when things do not develop as we expect? And how can we live not depending on our expectations?
The personal expectations often function as our own security, predictability, and control system. Therefore, when something does not develop according to what we expect the system switches on an alarm. This throws us into a state of anxiety, confusion, and anger. We lose the control we think we have when people and situations do not correspond to our preconceived ideas and expectations. The truth is that we have control only over ourselves and our inner life (thoughts, feelings, decisions). This is the most important type of control because it determines how we experience reality.
Not depending on our expectations but on God
Freedom has many aspects. God wants us to be free in terms of our expectations. So that our inner peace is not depending on the fulfillment of personal expectations. Sometimes the personal expectations turn into an idol that determines whether we are well or miserable. When things evolve according to the plan (our own plan and ideas we have developed) then we are fine. When not, then we are out of balance, we feel blocked, and our inner world “collapses”.
God’s will is to redirect us to a life that is NOT depending on and directed towards the fulfillment of personal expectations. To a life that is oriented and depending only on Him as the center and fulfillment of all human longings. Of all aspirations and expectations of perfection, completeness, and satisfaction. He calls us to a life where our primary concern is how to please and honor God. And not how to please ourselves by ensuring the fulfillment of our expectations.
Redirecting our security from our expectations to God
We are clinging to our personal expectations, driven by the need to control things and people to ensure the fulfillment of our desires. God has called us to another path – to surrender the control to Him, as well as our personal expectations. This is the path of humility and faith. This way is painful and destructive for the ego and pride. God desires that He becomes our source of security, protection, and provision.
Every time when a personal expectation is not met, we have a choice. We can remain angry, disappointed, frustrated, and embittered. Or we can admit these feelings and see what is behind them, learning to acknowledge, re-adjust and communicate our expectations.
We can humble ourselves, admit that we have no control over the circumstances and give up controlling and manipulating things and people in our favor. Next, we can surrender our disappointment and expectations in God’s hand and leave God the choice of time, place, and way to meet our needs. Another step is the choice to give up predictability and control and instead to trust God and His wisdom, strength, and love.
Happiness is not measured by the number of met expectations but by knowing God’s love.
Personal expectations and God‘s guarantee
Are there expectations, however, whose fulfillment is guaranteed to us? Is there anything that will not disappoint us and on which we can surely build our lives?
The answer is yes, there is. God and His attitude towards us and relationship with us in Christ. His word, character, and everything connected with His purposes, desires, and intentions.
„All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8)
God does not give us a guarantee for fulfilling our personal expectations and desires in life. He gives us just one guarantee and security – Himself and His Love. In Christ, through faith, we have constant access to Him. He is always available and at our disposal. For those who seek and trust Him, He guarantees joy, peace, and satisfaction in all circumstances, regardless of unmet expectations.
Happiness not depending on our expectations
Let’s accept that people and circumstances will inevitably disappoint us. Let us learn to forgive and accept ourselves, others, life, and hand over our expectations and our disappointments to God. His response to our unmet expectations and disappointments is His grace.
It is the power and energy to persevere and even increase our joy and satisfaction whatever happens. This is the ongoing transformation in the image of Christ, and the ability to humble ourselves. It is the power to live a responsible and free life. Let’s accept that our happiness is not measured by the number of met expectations or fulfilled desires, but by knowing God’s love.
How are you dealing with your unmet expectations? To what extent do they determine your joy and satisfaction? You are welcome to share and comment!