Expectations of others could be defined as planned disappointments.
This statement arrested me one morning as the Lord brought a heart issue to my attention.
Expectation is not bad. God says in His word that He will give us an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Expectation can be good. However, when we place a demand on others to meet our expectations, it can, and often does, lead to disappointment. This, I have learned from personal experience.
I was spending time with God in prayer. I was praying about ministry things. I wasn’t praying about this person. I wasn’t praying about my disappointment.
During my prayer time, God began to change the subject on me. Have you ever been in the middle of telling someone a story and they interrupted you and began to talk about something else? That’s how I felt that day. I wanted to pray about ministry things and God wanted to address something in me.
I had found myself in a situation where I had placed my expectations on another person. When they failed to do what I expected, I was disappointed. I was disappointed in them and the situation. It caused me a great deal of grief. Immediately I had no peace. It affected me so strongly, I knew something was wrong in my heart.
As I said, I was trying to pray about our needs, but God wanted to deal with my heart issues. He instructed me, in no uncertain terms, to release that person from all my expectations.
I know correction when I hear it. I welcome it. The Bible says, those He loves, He corrects. I am thankful to be one of those. Therefore, I quickly began to pray and release that person from all my expectations.
The more I prayed into this, the greater the anointing became. I knew that I was the one in the wrong, not them. I had misplaced my expectations on them. In doing so, as the Lord showed me, I had put them in bondage. I released them that day.
Over the next few days, each time the situation would come to mind, I would pray. “God, I have released them from all my expectations and I thank you that you keep them free!”
It is a truth that whatever we focus on will grow. I was spending too much time focusing on my expectations of this other person. As I did, my disappointment in them grew.
Now that I am on the other side of this, I see the ridiculousness of it.
I was pondering on all this one day. I came across a quote by Dennis Prager. It said; Gratitude is the key to happiness and anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have.
This is what I saw in myself that day. When this person disappointed me, I was ungrateful. I was ungrateful simply because they didn’t do what I expected. Even though they had no idea what I expected. I thank God He showed me the error of my ways.
But hold on…just days later the most amazing thing happened.
After I prayed and released them, refusing to continue to put my expectations on them, something changed in them. It took me a few days to recognize the change. However, it became quite clear.
A few days passed before I saw this person. I had released them in prayer and moved on. When I saw them again, there was an obvious change. There was something notably different about them. There was a softness, a kindness that was not there before. A gentleness about them.
A few days later I saw them again. There was a peace about them that wasn’t present in the past. They even did some things that far surpassed anything I could have asked or imagined. I was amazed!
I began to seek God about this change.
What God showed me was powerful and life changing! He showed me that while I was putting my expectations on them, I had put them in bondage to those very expectations. They couldn’t meet my expectations. They were frustrated. I was frustrated. Most importantly, they were in bondage. They were not free.
When I prayed and released them, and ask God to set them free, they were free to be who GOD created them to be. Not what I expected, but what God created them to be. That freedom had brought them great peace. That very peace was causing them to excel in who they are and who they were created to be.
What a lesson it was for me! I am so grateful to God for showing me this.
Matthew 7:12 declares, “all things whatsoever you want men to do to you, do even so to them.”
In other words, treat people the way you want them to treat you.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want others to put their expectations on me. Especially now that I realize the bondage it brings. I want to be free to be all that God destined me to be.
After much prayer, I have found that I have misplaced expectations on people around me. I have released those people. I refuse to put my expectations on them. In doing that, I have set them free. I have set me free!
Perhaps you have someone in your life who has disappointed you. Could it be a planned disappointment? Could it be that you have placed your expectations on them without seeking God for direction? If so, release them from your expectations and begin to pray that they will meet GOD’s expectations. It will bring them freedom and peace. It will bring you peace as well.
We are all human. None of us are perfect. I do believe most people do the best they can at that moment. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s believe the best in them. Most of all, let’s give them the freedom to find their own way in God.
Today, if there are any that you have held in bondage with your expectations, release them. Allow God be God in their life. He is a God that can be trusted…even with those we love the most.
“We find it easy to love God with all our heart; we should love our neighbors and family the same way.”