“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”
- Ephesians 3:20
Expectations are assumptions that we make about life. Things that we predict or anticipate will happen in the future. However, sometimes we fall short and our expectations don't match up with reality. So instead of relishing in fulfilled desires and hopes, we end up with unmet expectations.
I’ve definitely been disappointed due to unmet expectations before, primarily because my expectations didn't line up with God’s plans/timing. Although expectations are not negative, bad, or evil; they can become idols, distractions, and limitations if we’re not careful. I walked into 2019 with specific expectations. I put God into a box and I wanted Him to do certain things in a certain amount of time. Although some of my expectations ended up not happening because they weren't apart of His plan; the events that occurred in 2019 were apart of His plans. And although it was hard to accept and trust Him while I witnessed my expectations burn to the ground, I trusted that His ways were higher. Not to say that 2019 was a complete bust, but it taught me to have healthy expectations, surrender all my desires to God, and live with a high level of expectation.
I'm a planner, so I tend to plan out every fragment of my life if I'm not careful. I've learned (and I’m still learning) to take my plans, goals, desires, and hand them over to God. I learned the hard way that clinging to my plans doesn't give God much room to work, it actually stifles His perfect plans. Having healthy expectations requires sitting at the feet of God and communing with Him. Taking the time to hear what God desires for your life will save you lots of time. We must also make sure that we are aligning with His plans by keeping our hearts open to what He has to say, living with conviction, not getting too attached to what we want out of life, and being flexible. I have also gotten into a habit of asking God what He thinks, instead of assuming that He agrees with me. Because there is always a chance that the plans that I have are completely out of line with the reality that God has prepared for me. Sometimes God doesn't respond right away, but He can also speak through friends or leaders, dreams, and great signs. I also journal daily about what I feel like God is speaking to me so that I can refer back to it later on.
God is limitless, however, it is possible to put Him in a box with our expectations. One day I was met with unexpected trials, I became so overwhelmed and decided to surrender all of my fears and anxieties to God. I told Him to “Have His way”. Then I heard Him speak to me so clearly and say “NOW I CAN WORK!”. I sensed that God was beyond excited to get His hands on the very situation that I had been trying to handle myself. I was trying to hide my flawed situation and act like everything was just fine, but I was suffering, and I needed Him to step in and take FULL control. I had to let go of my expectations and allow Him to do what He knew was best. Through that season of experiencing unmet expectations, I had to get back to a place of total surrender. You see, I had gotten out of position and tried to be the leader of my life, but that's not how God intended it to be. He intended for me (and you) to let go and trust Him. And quite honestly after seeing things go the exact opposite from how I wanted them to. I no longer desired to be in control and I stopped being so particular about how God worked. Instead, I took a step back, sat down, and relaxed, because the stress and pressure that came with trying to be in control was over, and I could finally be like a child. Carefree and trusting that my father would provide and take care of me. By trying to be in charge, I robbed God of the opportunity to be the head of my life, forgetting that He was sovereign and He was meant to sit on the throne and rule every area of my life.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
- Romans 8:28
Joseph's life didn't go the way that He expected it to either. He was a young man with dreams of ruling and being in charge. However, his journey to the top was quite lonely and not to mention traumatic. His own brothers betrayed him, his bosses wife falsely accused him, and he was thrown into prison. Now I'm pretty sure that none of those events lined up with Joseph’s expectations, but they were apart of his reality. However, I also believe that those events were apart of God's plan, and God knew that those things would happen to Joseph. Joseph just had to trust God and let go of his expectations. Everything that God showed Joseph in his dreams about ruling came to pass, just not in the way that he expected it to. Imagine if Joseph had given up on God simply because his expectations were not being met! But even while he was in prison, Joseph ministered about God and interpreted dreams, He consistently served God, even in his times of travail. God used every bad thing that had happened in Joseph's life and turned it around for good. So maybe God did not meet all of Joseph’s expectations, but if you ask me God definitely exceeded them. At the end of the day, God was glorified and Joseph walked into his destiny.
One day as I was driving to work I began to pour my heart out to God. I was terribly upset and discouraged about my future based on some unmet expectations. And God spoke to me so clearly and said “I WILL BE FAITHFUL!” at that moment God assured me that although life wasn't going the way that I wanted it to, He would make things worthwhile. Another day I woke up and the first thing on my mind was worry and doubt, I wasn't sure what the future held and it made me anxious. But again the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said. “FAITHFUL IS THE LORD”. Although I may not see every plan that God has for my life right now, I can trust that He is successful at what He does. As long as God is glorified every unmet expectation is O.K because God knows exactly what He's doing. Our expectations don't hold a candle to His plans! I also believe that after every unmet expectation is a great unexpected blessing from the Lord, in due season of course!
I now live with a high level of expectation because I have seen God move in my life, especially in the past year. The moment that I stopped obligating God to do what I thought He needed to do, and I gave Him ALL control. I saw Him do significant things in me and through me. He didn't do all of the things that I expected Him to, but He did mighty things and I’m forever grateful. Each and every day I wake up expectant that God will surpass my expectations, I also know that He is working things out even when I can't see it. Although things don't always go the way that I expect them to, I still have loads of faith because God is who He says He is in His word.
So be encouraged! If you've dealt with the death of certain dreams and desires, know that God is orchestrating amazing and unpredictable things for your life. Walk with a high level of expectation, because God is on the move. God is faithful and even when things don't go the way that you expect them to, you can trust that God will blow your mind and come through for you in ways that you can't even imagine. God will use your disappointments to show you just how great He is. He will surprise, and reward you in the areas that once gave you grief and left you broken. The very same things that once caused you tears will make you jump with joy; because God will exceed all of your expectations. Let go of every unmet expectation and allow God to meet you where you are and lead you to your destiny.