Purely Personal Pieces, Random Verse of the Day, Reflections

Managing Expectations

Our second staff meeting of the year for LifeBox Fort happened last Wednesday. But before we moved on to talk about all work, our Campus Director, Brian, shared something to the team. I thought other people might find it useful as well so I decided to put it up here and stuff it a bit with a few additional thoughts.

Definitions first

Dictionary.com has this to say.
Dictionary.com has this to say.

This should tell us a couple of things already. One, that an expectation is a “state” anyone can find him or herself in, intentional or not. Two, that it is also a “mental attitude,” which leaves us with a choice to succumb to it or not. Three, that the fulfillment of expectations happen in a relative future. And four, that there is a probability that expectations would not be realized.

The great William Shakespeare has his version too…

Hello, pessimism!
Hello, pessimism!

I do not know what Shakespeare went through to have arrived at this conclusion. But I’d say this is what happens when we start off on the other side of the spectrum where we see life as a smorgasbord of possibilities and we start setting up sky-high expectations until we are met with one disappointment and/or rejection after another. Before we know it, we find ourselves on the other side where we begin to stop ourselves from hoping for and believing that greater things are yet to come.

And then some kid on the internet…

'Nuff said.
‘Nuff said.

While our frustrations can be caused by other people, it is true that we can get disappointed with ourselves as well.

This is especially true for people who live by to-do lists (e.g., me).

And then we go back to that spectrum again – we either create to-do lists and beat ourselves up until each and every item is ticked or we give up on creating lists, see how the day would go, and make decisions along the way.

What now?

What happens when you expect people to respond in a certain way and they don't.
What happens when you expect people to respond in a certain way and they don’t.

At the meeting, Brian quoted Proverbs 13:12:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

He went on to explain that it is normal for us to be disappointed when the things we are hoping for or expect from other people or from our selves are not realized and that the inverse of which will bring us joy. Negative experiences that spring from unmet expectations, however, shouldn’t stop us from hoping and believing and having an expectant heart. But we need to learn to manage our expectations and to do just that, we need to make sure that our expectations are:

1. Negotiable

We make projections and plans and we write our dreams on paper, but we also need to make sure that we leave room for His orchestrations, appointments, and provision.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
– Proverbs 19:21, ESV

2. Realistic

expectations vs reality
Keep your expectations within the bounds of reality. 

3. Expressed, not assumed

I think this is helpful especially when we are working or relating with other people. I think the key to decreasing, if not entirely diminishing, the amount of disappointment or frustration caused by other people is communication. In our relationships, it is important to remember that it is unfair to expect something from someone who doesn’t have any idea what exactly is expected from him/her. When we work in and with a team, it is crucial for us to set expectations by clearly stating it so everyone would know what is expected of them and what others can expect from them.

We are more than halfway through the first month of 2014 and I believe this year has so much in store for each one. My prayer is that God will grant each of us wisdom and grace to get through each day with so much anticipation of what is to come without dismissing the fact that we are to live each day managing our expectations towards life, towards others, and with ourselves.




2 thoughts on “Managing Expectations”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s