Monday, January 10, 2011

Dealing With Unmet Expectations

Who are you holding responsible right now to meet your expectations?

Your husband?

Your kids?

Your friends?

Your boss?

Your parents?

Imagine for a moment the freedom you would feel in those relationships if the pressure for them to meet your needs was released.

Feels good, doesn't it?

That's the way it should be you know. I know it's not. It's true in my life too, but if we are indeed looking to follow God's Word than this is an area that needs correction. It's urgent too, because our relationships, our marriages especially are taking daily power blows because of this crushing burden that we wrongly place on others.

Psalm 62:5 in the New Living Translation says…

“Let all that I am wait quietly

before God, for my hope is in Him.”

Webster’s defines the word hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence, to trust.

The King James Version of Psalm 62:5 says…

“My soul, wait thou only upon God;

for my expectation [is] from him.”

Hope and expectation are used interchangeably in the two versions, they mean the same thing. To put your hope in God means that you place your expectations in Him too.

As Christians we must never forget that it is and forever will be God who fulfills all of our hopes and expectations. The people in our lives are only the vessel by which He chooses to use to perform the act of fulfilling all that we need and desire.

Dangerous things can happen when we rely on people to meet our needs. We will more than likely find ourselves drowning in a sea of disappointment. Over time that disappointment will spill over into our hearts and a bitter root will spring to life and resentment rolls right in after it.

Bitter roots are destructive to any relationship, but particularly a marriage, often times bringing it to a slow and painful death from the inside out.

By placing our hope and expectations in the people we love we literally risk the health and life of our relationships. It’s careless and often costly.

If we rightly place our hopes and expectations in the hands of our creator there is no one left to blame when they are left unmet. By doing this we hold no person responsible for fulfilling our needs, we bypass anger, bitterness, resentment and our relationships are protected. That is good news! This is a great battle plan against the flesh and the devil.

The only way we can truly place our hopes and expectations in Gods hands is by taking all of our requests to Him (Phil.4:6).

He’s not only waiting, but wanting to hear our every concern, our every desire our deepest needs. We can trust Him with our hopes and we can expect His very best plans for us.

So, how should we receive our unmet expectations?

As an answer from God. It may come as a resounding “No”, but it may also simply mean “Wait.”

And because we know His ways are not our ways and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) we can accept His answer and feel “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) The assurance of answered prayer brings about precious longed-for peace.

Father, you are the awesome fulfiller of all that we need and desire. It is so easy to get off track by expecting others in this world to meet our needs. Forgive me for allowing any bitterness to take root in my own heart, for risking the very relationships that you have handed to me as a gift. Help me to wait quietly and only upon you, my hope is in you and only you. Faithful God continue to allow me to veer off path so that you can keep rescuing me and revealing to me your precious and Holy Truth.

Dusted off, completely revised, revamped and reposted in response to Marriage Mondays at...


  1. Great post! I know there have been times in the past when I expected others to fulfil me. My husband, children, friends, even ministry. But only God can truly and completely fulfil us. Thank you for this.

  2. I am guilty of placing unfair expectations on my husband, children, friends,etc. But only God can truly fulfill my longings. My hope should be in Him alone. Thanks for this great reminder.

  3. Heidi, can you please email me. Thanks! :)

  4. Oh, I LOVE this message! Wish I would have thought along these lines years ago - probably would have saved many a family squabble! Thank you so much for sharing the ways in which God is working in your life!

  5. Linked from Marriage Mondays.

    Very well done, Heidi. Esp thought this paragraph was ewll stated: "Bitter roots are destructive to any relationship, but particularly a marriage, often times bringing it to a slow and painful death from the inside out." True, sad, and often (maybe even always) avoidable.


  6. Heidi, Very well said. Expectations always get me in trouble. It sets me up for dissappointment and resentment. But like you said, we aren't meant to live that way. Our hope is in the Lord!

  7. So true...only He can fulfill EVERY need that we have..

  8. Wonderful post Heidi!

    Like everyone else, I've absolutely placed undue expectations on others and you're completely correct in that it can lead to significant stress in the relationships.

    May we all look to Him to fulfill us!

    Have a Blessed Day!

  9. Great Post. and Oh so Very True!!
    I am fortunate enough to have known that since before I got married- which does mean I always remember it!! but I luckily didn't usually have far to go to get back to that thinking

    (visiting from Magic Monday hop)

  10. Putting all our expectations on others does get a girl into trouble. That leads us into poor decision making because we are driven by emotion. God will never let us down. Everybody else will at some point-- because we are human! Great post!

  11. We just talked about this in our bible study this we expect certain things from other people, sometimes without even realizing it. And how sometimes (alot of timess...) we unfairly put pressure on our husband to meet needs that he was not created to meet....only God can truly fulfill us. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by today! :)

  12. I wrote in my journal tonight some questions that I needed answered in prayer time. I think this blog was one of those answers for me. As I'm sitting here reading, I feel like God wanted me to be sitting her at 3 am reading this. If that is the case, that's fine by me! Thank you so much for being here, not only for me, but for all of us!

  13. This has been a blessing to me as I had been struggling looking for fulfill from people. It felt like this was talking directly to me. I thank God for leading me to it and also the author for writing it. God bless

  14. I clicked over from Natalie's -- I'm in the process of letting go of expectations in a certain relationship and this reminded me of how deeply I can trust Him to meet my needs.

  15. Ah, I love Isaiah 55 - it's been on my mind for a few days now and I just wrote about it on Monday.

    Isn't it so human of us to look for something physical, something tangible, to fill in a hole that only God can fill? And yet even as I state this and show my awareness that this is so, I am guilty of doing it time and time again and constantly must check myself.

    You can't take the human out of a, well, human...:)

    Great post - thank you for your words today, Heidi!

  16. Right on target Heidi. It's easy to want someone else to be our Savior ... other than our Savior, but He's the only One who is sufficient enough to be all we need. It's especially easy to do this is a marriage. Great reminder for Marriage Mondays this week.