When I graduated from college, someone asked me what was the greatest thing I learned? In truth, the greatest thing I learned was how little I knew about all there was to know.
Faith works like that, too. The more I learn about God, the more I feel there’s so much more to learn and know about Him.
If you live in a country like the USA, as I do, the average person has a home, a car, clothes, and time to travel and to entertain. If the average American wants something special for breakfast, he can go to a restaurant or a food store and buy it. To people who live in poor countries, they might not have any of these things ~ they may not even know what or when they are going to eat from one day to the next.
How blessed we are. Do you ever wonder, like I do, why I live here in comfortable conditions, when others live in poverty?
We know God through His Word, the Bible and His Reasoning. Our Life Plans for us aren’t written in contract form. He does give us many mandates, commandments, parables, and teachings from His Son, Jesus, to give us a pattern and way of living. It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about having the biggest house or the best furniture or making the most money. He does tell us how to have traditional relationships in marriage and love; he tells us how to raise our children, and what makes us happy in life and what is good and what is not good for us. He is our Father.
He sent His Son, Jesus, so we would know what The Father is like so we can communicate with Him.
I ask why has God blessed me so? I’ve had my share of trials and tribulations, but my faith in God has always sustained me. He has given me an abundant life – why does He do that? He loves everybody and we’re all equal in his eyes….why are some in unfortunate situations and others always griping they want more? And why do some who have plenty want more and more?
What about you? Do you live an abundant llife? Do you always want that new car, latest technology, or fashion design? Do you feel blessed? Or are you OK with what you want and have but need something else to make you happy and fulfilled?
Perhaps a quiet time with Our Lord seeking his Will and Plans for you would put your life in a different perspective. The more you get out of your time with Him , the more you will seek it and understand it.
As we look around and see results of the recession in some lives of family and friends, we can see how expectations for a good life can meet with disappointments. We can learn from what caused the recession.
“It’s a boom-bust world” says Kenneth Rogoff . When asked what caused the worst recession to grip the globe in decades, Professor Rogoff, a Harvard University economics and public policy professor, said history shows the pattern. Recessions follow booms.
Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments. We can say these circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.
What if we add all those big ones to all those little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I use to.
I have felt like that when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the schools to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” I worked hard for in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.
When you place your expectations on people, you will usually be disappointed. A good friend whom you thought would never betray you, may have told another of a secret you told him. Or your child may turn off into another path you had not envisioned for them. Or an illness in the family changed the dynamics of plans you had made. You may be having a divorce which separates the family into a lifestyle you never thought or expected would happen to you. Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people change; the unexpected happens. To us all.
I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can fill that place in my heart that needs that fulfillment. But I use to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they don’t or cannot, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.
So how do we learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for our joy or happiness? Can we unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?
Yes, I believe we can. God made all of us in His image – not everyone else’s image. We are all separate beings. He did not make a commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others ;not expecting them to do good for us.
My answer to “Have no Expectations – Have no Disappointments”, is to experience gratitude and thanksgiving. By daily acknowledging gratitude for all the gifts and blessings I have in my life, I make them more important than the things I expect or want from others.
I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son. It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected our relationship and the whole family was affected.
I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did. What? Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?
I did return and he explained that my son was perfectly happy with himself and in his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. I told him there was nothing he did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’
Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.
Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.
Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement
I made a habit of gratitude instead of expectation. Don’t grumble or murmur if your mate forgets to put the mail out. Yes, you expect him to do that every morning, but he was in a hurry today. Instead, call him and ask him how his day is going and don’t mention the mail. It will get where it’s going. Expectation can become a habit and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.