June 8, 2022

Learn to Understand Expectations

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Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Whether you realize it or not, you’re living your life based on some pretty specific expectations.  In fact, not realizing that can get you into trouble.

Researcher Brené Brown says that she finds that our expectations fall into two categories: “1. Expectations that are unexamined and unexpressed. 2.  Examined and expressed expectations.”[1]

It’s those expectations that we hadn’t even realized that we have and that we haven’t told anyone about—including the people who we were expecting to act a certain way, are the most dangerous.  Have you ever you heard this before? “If he or she really loved me, they’d know what I want!” No matter how much love there is in a relationship, without examining and communicating the expectations of the heart, no one wins.

A friend of mine recently asked her husband to buy her a gift of a piece of jewelry when he was on a business trip.  I wondered, aloud, when he was going to have time to shop or where he would find something.  “He can buy it at the airport,” she responded.  “You’re not going to like anything from the airport,” I thought to myself. The man came home empty-handed, and an unrealistic expectation led to further disappointment in the marriage.

The bottom line is that no human is going to meet our deepest needs that only God will satisfy. What are you expecting from your relationships? God stands ready to help us understand and manage expectations in our relationships in healthy ways.  Scripture promises that He will give wisdom “to anyone who asks, generously and without reproach.” (James 1:5)

[1] Brown, Brene.  Atlas of the Heart. Audiobooks, 2022, https://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/atlas-of-the-heart-mapping-meaningful-connection-and-the-language-of-human-experience/526729