Expectations & Frustrations!
September 8th, 2014
This past Sunday I preached on the subject of Expectations & Frustrations. I was dealing with this question: What does an Eternal God Expect from us? What does a perfect, infallible, holy God Expect from imperfect, fallible, sinful men?
Someone anonymously said, “Frustration is the conflict between expectation and reality.” Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what someone expects!
Dr. John Lund has said, “All Frustration Comes From Expectations.” Think about it - whenever I am feeling frustrated, it is because there was an expectation somewhere in my mind that was never met. If I have no expectations of a person or situation, I cannot be disappointed. Relationships are a great example. We continually set up expectations for how the people we love should behave - what they should say, do, and should not do. We are often disappointed because they do not live up to our ideals. But how can they live up to our ideals when we have never communicated to them what we expect? This is the trouble with expectations. We often do not have a clear view of what we expect, and even when we do, we rarely communicate it. We then blame others for our frustration, crying, “You should have known!”
We all live in a Gap - the Gap between what we Expect and what we Experience. This Expectation Gap is where our dreams die and passions fade. So often, folks lose their vision, and this loss of vision is many times the birthplace of our frustration, our disappointment, and even our discouragement and depression!
Let me dig just a little deeper - frustration is born in the space between our expectations and our actual experiences. How often have we thought or maybe even said, "This isn't what I thought marriage would be like.” Maybe we thought the job was going to be different. Have you ever thought or said, "I never imagined that Christians would act that way.” We have all been there! We are overcome with frustration and left with nothing but unmet expectations. How are we supposed to respond when our expectations turn to frustration?
1. Do We Suck It Up And Get On With Life?
2. Do We Simply Lower Our Expectations?
3. Or, Could Our Expectations Of Others And Of Our Circumstances Be Connected To A Misunderstanding Of God’s Expectations?
What happens when God is at the center of our unmet expectations? Did you pray and find He did not come through? When it seems that the God who loves you did not provide for you in the way you had hoped - what are you supposed to do? Often when this is our reality, we hear this warmed over answer: “You failed to live up to God’s expectations, and for that reason, He did not meet your expectations! It was, of course, because of your failure that God did not answer your prayer!” While this may be the opinion of the brethren, I for one am trying to figure out when He ever answered our prayers based upon our merits.
Most of our frustrations begin when our own personal experiences are not meeting our own expectations, or not meeting what we perceive to be God’s expectations! What do we do when we are the ones not living up to the expectations of God and others? How do we avoid the weight of disappointment when we do not measure up? And what should our response be to our own negative opinions in our lives? What do we do when the expectations of others get between us and who we are in Christ?
Listen to the Apostle Paul’s greatest fear spelled out to the Corinthian believers in II Corinthians 11:3. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Satan always moves men away from simplicity and toward complexity! Whenever things get complicated, get Back To The Basics. Focus On The Fundamentals!
Many of the disheartened, defeated, discouraged saints of God need a simplification of their expectations to conquer their frustrations! We simply need to get Back To The Basics! We need to Focus On The Fundamentals of what it means to be a child of God. I do not need to live up to anyone else’s expectations. First and foremost, I need to figure out what God expects and make that my focus.
(O. T. EXPECTATIONS) Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (THE FOCUS IS ON OUR DUTY)
(N. T. EXPECTATIONS) Colossians 1:10 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (THE FOCUS IS ON OUR DEVOTION)