When your expectations aren’t what you expected…

Show of hands: who has ever been disappointed by an expectation you had, that did not go the way you imagined?  If your hand isn’t raised right now, then you are either in a public place, or thought that I wasn’t really serious about raising your hand.  At one point or another, I’m sure everyone has had a moment in their life where they’ve thought to themself, “I didn’t see my life going this way.”  Or maybe something a long the lines of, “I thought I would’ve completed this by now, I thought I would’ve been farther along than that by now”.  Have you ever thought that maybe that expectation you had was actually a fantasy or an unrealistic thought you set yourself up for?

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I’m reading a book currently called “Lady in Waiting” by Jackie Kendall (so good and I highly recommend for all my single ladies out there).  In a chapter titled “Lady of Contentment”, Jackie mentions a quote that says, “Expectations are premeditated resentment.”  *Mic Drop!!! Mind blown!*   The amount that this chapter spoke to me was too real.   We have to be careful with expectations, especially unrealistic ones.  Unrealistic expectations can steal our contentment and joy.  A very popular unrealistic expectation that almost every female has is to be married by 25, definitely no later than 30.  Next, have kids by a certain age, and carefully planned out so Johnny can be close in age to Sally.  Also, can’t forget about that career we envision having and being in love with.  And then of course, travel the world, celebrate the holidays with loved ones, and go on vacations to ‘just get away’ every now and then.  Call me naïve, but I was blown away when I read that this was an unrealistic expectationNow hold on, I get it. Having ALL that stuff said above, well yeah, duh! Obviously having all of that is an unrealistic expectation. But is it really so much to ask to get married by 30? I’ll even push it back a few years and say 35.

I have been reading different women’s testimonies lately, and some didn’t meet their future husbands until their late 30’s and didn’t get married until 40.  Everyone’s story (aka God’s Plan) is different.  Every female isn’t meant to get married by 30 and have 3 kids that are 2 years apart in age.  But guess what?  That’s 100% completely and totally okay.  Society puts this pressure on people (not just women and the age to marry by) to achieve a lot of things in life by a certain age.  And unfortunately, this pressure is never going to go away; it will always remain.  But your expectations and your view of your life doesn’t have to go along with society’s view.  If we aren’t careful, expectations can set us up for disappointment, discontentment, and offense.  Or to put it another way, expectations make an already hard life even harder.  When we are discontent, we are focusing on what is missing from our lives, rather than seeing what is going well with them.

I had brunch with a friend recently, and we were talking about things going on in our lives.

At one point my exact words were, “If I’m honest with you, I didn’t expect to be at where I am right now in life.”

As I said this aloud, it was almost as if I was realizing this for the first time.  Don’t get me wrong, life is good because God is so good, but 5 years ago if you would’ve asked me where I thought I would be, it definitely wouldn’t have been single as a pringle, no kids yet, and not even a boyfriend right now.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t have thought that I would be going to grad school, doing well in my job, and actually content being single.

Life may not always be what you expect, but once again, I’m a firm believer in the expression, “There’s a reason for my season.”  Whatever season of life you’re in right now, soak it in.  Learn, grow, and listen to what God is trying to tell you and teach you.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
-Philippians 4:11-13

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