Unmet Expectations

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I’ve been in a funk lately. I’ve been irritable and restless the last few days. Since I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed it took a while to figure out the source of my discontent: unmet expectations.

Life is so constructed that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation. – Charlotte Bronte

We are not troubled by things, but by the opinion which we have of things. – Epictetus

Expectations creep up on me subtly, which is weird since they all originate in my own mind. I thought things were fine; then they weren’t. That’s the thing about the actual fulfillment of expectations: results rarely meet what is idealized in the expectation. And expectations are always about the future, not the present. I have no business living the future because I don’t know what it will be.

I was reminded this morning that I am to live in today, to be present in the moment. The presence of expectations is a clue that I’ve chosen to live in the future, to my detriment. The difference between living life as expectations versus living on life’s terms is a challenge to describe.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Oh… right. Expectations also distort my view of present reality. Living in the future with expectations robs me of joy in the present.

It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to today that the weight is more than a man can bear. – George MacDonald

Jesus reminds us to live in the day. If we think in the future, we almost always imagine it without His presence; what some people call “worst case”. It would be worst case if the future did not have His presence. Yet His promise has held true for all the time past.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  – Deuteronomy 31:6

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The antidote to the irritability and the restlessness, as usual, is gratitude. Gratitude for what I have today, this moment. Which is way better than my expectations.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. –  Psalm 118:1

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. –  Ephesians 5:20

 

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