Great Expectations and Greater Disappointment

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Disappointment. We’ve all been there. People and situations let us down.

In the past, I always thought the disappointment was directly connected to the person or situation that let me down. Their failure is what caused my disappointment.

However, a couple of years ago at a conference Matt Chandler said, ‘Disappointment is the result of unmet expectations.’

This simple statement caused me to completely rethink all of my disappointment. I had the misconception that all of these outside things were causing my disappointment when, in reality, it was my own expectations causing it. The Lord began working in me to re-evaulate my expectations. Are they realistic? Are they in step with his Word?

Every single one of us has unrealistic expectations. We have in mind that someone should act in a specific way or perfectly fulfill a desire. When they don’t, it’s easy to dismiss them. We think a situation is going to go exactly according to plan. When it doesn’t, we think it must be wrong and walk away from it.

We have so many hopes and dreams and expectations and when any of them go awry, we start the blame game. We have a hard time stepping back and seeing that it was actually our expectations that were wrong.

During the last few weeks, this has been on my mind. I have been dealing with a lot of disappointment and it has been easy for me to point the finger elsewhere. I don’t want to admit that maybe the problem lies within me.

But, as he often does, the Lord began working in my heart. He helped me realize how my expectations were not, and are not, as they should be. Instead of looking to his Word and trusting his plan, I had mapped out exactly how I thought my life, and everything in it, would turn out. When things didn’t go according to plan, I was only left feeling disappointed and frustrated. My expectations were too high and held too closely.

Now, I am not saying it is wrong to have certain hopes about someone or something. But, it is important to remember there isn’t anyone or anything that will perfectly fulfill our wants and needs. We have to give grace in those situations. In the same way, we need to know that we aren’t going to perfectly meet others’ expectations. And, hopefully, they will extend grace to us when we don’t.

We will never be able to live completely free of expectations. And the expectations we do have will never quite be what they should. We are fallen creatures in a fallen world, so everything is affected by that. However, we can be mindful of our expectations. We can choose to seek the Lord in all of our wants and desires. When things don’t quite go to plan, we can extend grace and trust there is a purpose for it.

The best news of all is there is Someone who will never let us down. In the midst of so many uncertain things, there is One who remains constant. Cling to him.

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