How Expectations Can Get You Your Heart’s Desire…Or NOT!
When my children were very young, contentment was NOT something I felt. After all, I was too busy to be content. I was living life always looking forward to my next potential moment of peace: nap time, bedtime, the weekend, my husband coming home to watch the kids so I could take a shower…
…those rare moments when I could focus on what *I* wanted to do and finally have a little peace.
Well, you might not be surprised to know that I had it all wrong. With that attitude, I never felt content about things. I was always looking forward to a future moment, hoping that I could revel in peace and contentment then. Definitely not where I was in the present.
Needless to say, I was never content. But I eventually realized discontentment is due to something I had constructed in my mind.
You see, discontentment is a direct result of unmet expectations.
What happens is that we tend to imagine what our lives should look like. We expect others to behave the way we determine they should. So we assume our children will always behave. That means there should be no meltdowns in the grocery store checkout line. They should get along with each other at all times. Our spouse should lovingly anticipate how we are feeling and respond accordingly without us having to ask.
We expect that our finances will work out smoothly. We anticipate that there will be no health issues. We even head over to Instagram or watch gorgeous Pinterest posts and then plan on gathering all. the. things.
And when (not if) these expectations are not met, we become frustrated. We wish for things to be different. We become discontent!
Everyone has the potential
I finally learned that in order to be content, I cannot place my expectations on others. Everyone…and I mean everyone…has the potential to eventually let us down, not doing what we expect them to do or say what we want them to say. This includes my children, my husband, my friends and family, and it even includes ME! I often let myself down by how I behave or things I say or don’t say. So if I put my expectations on people, I will be disappointed. And the same goes for my circumstances. If I place my expectations on my situation, my season of life, or the occupation I have, I will at some point get disappointed and become discontent.
By placing my expectations on the Lord, things will be different. He will never disappoint. He is always true to his word.
Proverbs 19:23 says “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests content; he will not be visited by harm.”
By placing our fear, trust, and hope in the Lord, we will not be surprised by what we experience. We won’t be upset when our children require training. We can love our spouse with the love that Christ modeled for us – a selfless, unconditional love.
That is where we find true fulfillment and contentment. True contentment doesn’t come from things or people or circumstances. It comes from understanding that Jesus’ purpose and provision for us is enough. It is sufficient no matter what we experience. But this requires us to be intentional. We need to deliberately place our hope in Christ and trust in his promises.
They will never disappoint!