How To Handle Unfulfilled Expectations

This is a guest post by Alan Sivakumaran who is “a sinner saved by the grace and love of Jesus. Son, Brother, Friend, Counselor, Runner, DFW Sports Fan, Karaoke Legend in China, and an Adventure-seeker.” You can contact him on Twitter and on Facebook. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

How To Handle Unfulfilled Expectations

I have recently been re-watching one of my favorite TV shows called Scrubs. I love the characters, writing, comedy, creativity, and sentimental moments of the show. I like the show because I relate to the main character of the show Dr. John Dorian. JD is someone who cares deeply for his friends, family, and patients. He tends to daydream a lot. He also desires to make meaning out of everything in his life. He will always close the show with a monologue of something that he takes away from the episode. The last episode of the show is JD leaving his job. This is a big moment in his life because he spent the last eight years working at this hospital Sacred Heart. He has high expectations and hopes for his last day at Sacred Heart. He wants to feel appreciated, valued, and respected by his friends and colleagues. He shared his most insightful thoughts while he was walking out of the hospital for the last time.

“Things go rarely exactly the way you want them to, so sometimes you make due with whatever you can get. Endings are never easy; I always build them up so much in my head they can’t possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed. I’m not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end here. I guess its because we all want to believe that what we do is very important, that people hang onto our every word, that they care what we think.”

I believe it is normal for people to yearn for praise and acceptance from their friends, family, and colleagues. We want to believe that our existence on this planet means something. It is a wonderful thing when your friends, family, and colleagues have great things to say about you. It means that you made a positive impact on their life. When we have high expectations for people and they don’t meet our expectations. Then we are bound to feel disappointment.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are doing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

God calls us to encourage and uplift one another. It is a good thing to praise our friends and family for their talents, gifts, and passions. Believers share a hope in Christ, so this bond is designed to make us stronger. It is important that we care and love one another well. Unfortunately our friends and family are going to disappoint us despite their best efforts. They are not perfect and there is no way for them to know all our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations.

We put ourselves in a losing situation, when we hope that people can meet all of our expectations. There is a God who can meet and surpass our expectations. We know that God can do this because God is Omniscient. Omniscience means the state of total knowledge. David describes how well God knows him.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all” (Psalm 139:1-4).

God knows everything, which includes every detail of our lives. We can be confident that He knows us better than we know ourselves. God has the ability to meet our expectations.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Even though God knows our thoughts, needs, wants, and expectations. It does not necessarily mean that He will satisfy these expectations immediately. The key to this verse is that God will supply according to His glory. Sometimes we do not know truly know our needs and wants. Our expectations can be selfish or flawed, so God will meet our expectations based on our needs and wants. There are times where we think that God does not meet these expectations. Sometimes we may need to change our from a personal to an eternal perspective.

JD realized that his expectations were unattainable. The day did not go exactly the way that he planned. JD always finds a way to find meaning through any situation. He was able to understand the bigger picture without anyone meeting his expectations. “The truth is that you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that it’s all about the people that you let into your life. And as my mind drifted to faces I’ve seen here before, I was taken to memories of family, of coworkers, of lost loves, even of those who’ve left us. And as I rounded that corner, they all came at me in a wave of shared experience.”

“Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also the interest of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 2:3-5).

A lot of times we need to change our expectations. Sometimes our expectations can be selfish, unrealistic, or damaging. We tend to want people to praise or encourage us because we want them to fill or satisfy our ego. When we have this mindset, then we are only focusing on ourselves. I love this verse because it takes the attention away from us and puts the focus on others. Paul is encouraging us to think of others as more valuable because Jesus has this attitude. When we think like Jesus, then our expectations can change.

I shared in a previous post that I struggle with co-dependency. I tend to have high expectations for my friends, family, and church. Honestly my friends and family do a great job of loving and supporting me. I am never able to fully appreciate that support. The thing that I take most for granted is God’s love for me.

The truth is that we are loved and valued by God. We are sinful people that continually fall short of his glory. God still valued us so much that He sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. I find it astonishing that God thought that much of me that He sent Jesus to die for me.

When I reflect upon Jesus and the cross, then I think about how He has met my wants, needs, and expectations beyond measure. God’s love for us will always be more sufficient than our highest expectations.

Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.

I'm a sinner saved by the grace and love of Jesus. Son, Brother, Friend, Counselor, Runner, DFW Sports Fan, Karaoke Legend in China, and an Adventure-seeker. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

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