I saw the Promises Promises image recently and it got me thinking about the word expectations. Sometimes we mix up the definitions of those words and instead end up turning an expectation into a promise that we hold onto.
Expectation means to have a strong belief that something will happen and that is quite different from the word promise which means an assurance that something will happen.
It’s with joyous expectation that we anticipate a healthy pregnancy and birth or look forward to a holiday or birthday celebration. New marriages, changing career paths, moves to a new location—all full of anticipation and excitement over the expectations about to be fulfilled…hopefully.
But if we treat those expectations as if they are guaranteed promises and instead are confronted with a sick child, being passed over for that promotion, not getting the gift we hoped for, etc. then we are faced with a new choice: how to react, how to adapt to what has actually happened.
It becomes imperative that we adjust to the unexpected situation and even learn to find joy. If we do not, we risk becoming filled with bitterness, frozen in disappointment, and possibly unable to ever hope for something again. At the very time when we should be leaning on the Lord, we may find ourselves withdrawing and unable to reach out for help.
You are not alone, dear ones. Every one of us has had an expectation or two (or more) that we foolishly turned into a promise and when the result was not what we anticipated, in shock and despair we had to regroup and figure out how to move on.
That’s why at those times and better yet at all times we need to follow the clear guidance in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not depend on our own understanding. Trusting in God doesn’t necessarily take away the pain or challenge of a situation but it will put our hearts at rest so God’s peace can descend.
Then, even if we never discover the “why” behind what happened, we know we can depend on God to see us through.
What expectations have you turned into promises that may have disappointed? Perhaps it’s time to heed the advice from Proverbs 3:5 and take what you believe to be broken promises before the Lord and allow Him to fill you with His peace as you confess your reliance and trust is in Him.