Unmet expectations

Today’s devotion is about our unmet expectations.  And here’s an issue that takes us into the deeper crevices of our hearts.  And there in those deep spaces we find the real expectations about our relationships.
Caveat:  Not all expectations in themselves are bad. 

In your small group:  what are some good expectations you can have in relationships?

But this devotion is about the selfish expectations that we place on others.  And it starts at the bottom of our hearts and then travels upwards through the heart and then to the mouth and right into the ears of others.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

And so, the source is identified.  It’s from the bottom of our hearts.  And there at rock bottom, our sinful expectations grow.  And the truth is that sin finds its way down there and mixes with our unmet expectations.  And this mixture can be shaken and stirred by bad experiences and come out in a volatile way.

But, let’s go back down there and see how it all mixes together.  The Bible describes is as a  “battle”.  It’s a military analogy of enemies at war.  And so, your heart becomes a battleground of conflicting emotions and expectations that battle it out before it rises to the surface.

And with that much infighting inside us, there are going to be at least two casualties, the other person and you (!).  The other person gets hurt by the way you handle the relationship through your volatile mix of sinful expectations, and you are also hurt by the inner torment and whatever transpires from the broken relationship.  And in the end, no one wins this battle.  Both sides lose.

In your small group:  share experiences and insights about how this happens to you. 

In fact, such inner conflict means that your expectations will never be met.  Think about it.  If your expectations are a sinful mix of conflicting agendas at war with each other, there is no way that you will fully satisfied in the end.  And so, you fight, but you never really win.  And in the end, you will always feel like you lost!

By the way, this is why couples who have a lot of unmet expectations cannot seem to agree on anything.  Everything turns into a tense disagreement.  The simple facts of an event become ammunition for argument.  Is the sky blue?  Well, they will argue about it!  And so, the facts on the table are not what matters.  It’s the unmet expectations that is fueling the tense exchange.

Take a moment today and look deep inside your heart.  Take your surveillance camera and survey the internal war.  And see if there is sin mixed in there.  And consider how such a sinful mix might be hurting your relationships.  And meditate on how unhappy you are because such sinful expectations are not met but leading only to more fighting.  It’s time for soldiers to stop fighting.

In your small group:  earlier you discussed the good expectations.  Now, make a list of bad expectations and how it hurts the relationship.

Asks God today for wisdom and insight that you might understand your expectations and ask Him for strength to purge those expectations and make them clean.

Until next time, may God help you with your inner battles and unmet expectations so that you can reach the greater purposes for your life.

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