Embracing the unexpected is a difficult assignment for most of us.
Have you ever had a scenario in your head (an expectation), and when the scene played out you realized it didn’t turn out as you envisioned at all?
You found it difficult to embrace the unexpected.
Our Expectations and Embracing the Unexpected
Whether it’s a home project, party, conversation, or even a movie, we can set our expectations and play a movie trailer in our minds on what is going to happen.
Sometimes things turn out better than expected, but many times we feel the sting of disappointment.
Instead of relishing the fun memories and embracing the unexpected, we feel sadness and a sense of let-down that is real and can dominate our thoughts.
Expectations can Remove the Fun
I am a planner and organizer by nature and love hosting events at our home. God has blessed me with the gift of hospitality.
From Gary Chapman’s book, I learned my love language is “acts of service” which is expressed by doing things we know others will love.
Prior to hosting a gathering, I have my little list of “to-do’s” all mapped out, and when our guests arrive, I’m in “busy mode” feeling fulfilled!
After everyone has left, my “task-master self” arrives and does its own inventory and debriefing on what worked and what didn’t. This is where the fun is lost!
Recently, it occurred to me that this process is messed up and caused me to have unrealistic expectations! What I selfishly thought was motivation to be better and serve others actually put the focus on my efforts and what went wrong instead of what went right!
I zoned in on what I had missed and my disappointment rather than embracing the fact that I got to utilize my God-Given gifts in my God-Given home with my God-Given blessings of friends and family.
Imagine my shock when I realized I was placing unrealistic expectations on my relationships too.
I found myself, at times, thinking someone should act a certain way or feel a certain way.
An expectation such as, “How could someone not want to give or serve, like me” or “why is she not as passionate about doing this as I am” or “why can’t someone step up and fill in where needed?”
Unrealistic expectations on others’ behavior are not healthy, peaceful, or how God created us to think and live, and they can cause us to harm or lose a friendship.
If we go through life with unrealistic expectations of people,
we will always be disappointed and miss out on opportunities to see the good work God is doing through others.
It is crazy that this realization has just come to me; regret, but that’s another blog post!
Embracing the Unexpected Helps Us See God
When we embrace the unexpected, we will “find the fun”; these words were given to me by my friend Elena that I am trying to hold on to and live by.
The sting of disappointment will disappear as we learn to capture our thoughts and see things, events, and people how God sees them– as His beloved.
Deep, consuming negative thoughts are a waste of time and rob us of energy. There is freedom with this mindset.
I am finding that I enjoy myself more, and I enjoy people more – really getting to know them better and appreciating their uniqueness rather than dissecting their shortcomings. I am finding fun!
My hope for you is that instead of concentrating on disappointment and getting discouraged, focus on God, who He says you are, the gifts He has given you, and meditate on His promises.
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.”
“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly”
“The mind of a Man plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps:”
What about you? Can you relate to my struggle with unrealistic expectations of others that takes the fun and joy out of relationships? Have you learned ways to Embrace the Unexpected? Would love to hear from you!