Little Expections

April 9, 2017

Every relationship involves expectations, whether it’s at “Home,” at “Church,” at “Work,” or even in the neighbourhood.

When you enter marriage, you have expectations of your spouse and your spouse has expectations of you. In your parenting, you have expectations of your children and your children have expectations of you.

It’s true on your job, at your bank, in your neighbourhood, at the fitness center, on the highway, in the classroom.

When you join a church, sit on the church board, chair the mission’s committee, sponsor the youth program, teach a Sunday school class, prepare the church bulletin, usher at Sunday services, share on the worship team, serve in the nursery, expectations are always involved. It works both ways: your expectations of others and their expectations of you.

How we manage those expectations will largely determine the character and quality of those relationships. This, in turn, dictates the direction and quality of our lives.

In his book Little House on The Freeway, Tim Kimmel identified four characteristics of a home with peace. One of the four: “They discipline their expectations.”

Bob Biehl is a much appreciated author and speaker on Christian management. He writes concerning expectations: “All miscommunications are the result of differing assumptions.”

When expectations are poorly managed, four negative emotions emerge, any one of which can be destructive in any relationship.

Two of these emotions, anger and sadness may be the feeling of the person whose expectations are not being fulfilled; you or your spouse, your pastor, your colleague, or any person with whom you have a relationship where their expectations are poorly managed. The other two emotions, anxiety and shame, may be the feelings of the person who is trying to meet the expectations of another individual.

ANGER: When people are prevented from seeing their expectations realized, they often respond with anger. A Christian leader may be angry with you, his congregation or board because you or they are perceived as the obstacle preventing him from seeing a goal fulfilled.

A teenager may be angry with a parent who blocks the way to seeing an expectation realized.

A spouse can become resentful and angry with his or her partner who stands in the way of a dream coming true.

SADNESS: While it is much less intense, it is no less hurtful. When the expectations of your partner, your friend, your colleague, your child are simply lost, ignored or forgotten in the busyness and frenzy of your life, there is sadness and a feeling of being unappreciated. In either case these feelings can erode and corrupt any relationship. They are the soil that produces a harvest of hurt.

ANXIETY: This can become your emotional pitfall. You may feel this way when you are uncertain of what exactly someone’s expectations are. They won’t talk, They say, if you really cared, you would know! But you don’t know. You find yourself saying, “What does he/she really want?” “They give me a job but never tell me what they expect. They just complain.”

SHAME: When it is clear you have failed to meet the expectations of the other person you feel embarrassed, ashamed, unworthy. Children often struggle with this emotion when they come to the conclusion they can never please their parents.

For these reasons alone we must endeavour to cultivate some skills and strategies for becoming better managers of our expectations and the expectations of people who mean a great deal to us.

God bless from

Great advice; “go easy on yourself”


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