Expectations are a curious thing to me. I’ve learned a lot about expectations and the source of growth has been rooted in my relationship with my husband. Generally people are self absorbed and self centered. We relate best to ourselves because that is who we know best. Now when we pursue God and his excellence and aim to know him most, this becomes less of an issue. Why? Because we see ourselves and everyone else through the lens of God’s eye, not our personal experience and opinion. To tie my point together, our self-driven sin nature, the part of us Paul said did the thing he didn’t want to do (Rom. 7:20), can lead our lives in the area of expectation without us even realizing it!
One of the things I’m continuing to be enlightened on is the fact that we are all very different! Very different is perfect because that is God’s design. We are so different in fact that each of us has a commission and purpose to fulfill that only we are uniquely equipped to complete! I think that is amazing and wonderful. We are different in our inner workings and how we are motivated. For me, I grew up with parents who placed a high level of expectation on me to do well in school. This motivated me. Other people, I’ve found, creates disappointment and too much pressure. The way I was raised pushed me to always want to be the best and to have the best for myself. I expected a lot from myself, and in many ways this was a good thing. There were also many challenges associated before I knew who I was in Christ. Living with a high level of expectation on yourself and not knowing the you can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13) can lead to a lot of disappointment.
Since the beginning of this year I have decided to say no to disappointment and it has been life altering! Because of this declaration my heart and mind have been open to growth in expectations. I’ve seen that however we place expectations on ourselves is how we place them on everyone else, and how unfair is that?! For me, others expecting me to perform drives me to fulfill their expectations and exceed them. For my husband, loving and supporting any endeavor he has and continually encouraging him drives him to want to do more and be more.
Now, my opening statement wasn’t referring to our differences in expectations of each other, but in how placing high expectations on God is the only dynamic that fits our relationship with him. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated in the King James expectation meant to hope for, and in the New Testament it is to look for. So if you’re reading anything other than King James, when it’s saying to hope for in the Old Testament, or look for in the New, it’s often referring to your expectation.
God wants us to expect him to be faithful to his word and fulfill his promises in our lives. It’s not just a hope or belief, it’s an attitude of actively looking for his intervention in our daily lives that he desires. For when you expect him to move, you are looking for the evidence of his motion. If you aren’t looking for it you will more likely miss what he’s doing. Our expectation doesn’t determine whether or not God will fulfill his Word in our life. Our expectation determines whether or not we see what he’s doing and receive!