Giving Up Expectations

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

February 24, 2013

“Giving Up Expectations”

This week we continue our journey. It is a journey inward – a time to discover the things that are standing in the way of the life God has for each of us.

Last week we talked about control.  During this week I hope you were paying attention to the times you found yourself trying to control your life or the times you found yourself wanting to control someone else.  As you discovered those things about you, God would invite us to GIVE UP CONTROL.


This week we’re going to focus on expectations. From the time we are born there are certain expectations placed upon us.  A healthy child will grow, roll over, sit up, walk, talk

If these stages of development don’t happen parents get concerned.


My son didn’t say words- he would point and sort of grunt but he did not speak. He was my

fourth child so I had a clear expectation of the age at which he should be speaking. I discussed it with his pediatrician and she agreed that my expectations were reasonable and hearing tests were ordered.

After all the tests were completed the pediatrician told me my son had no developmental delays. She suggested the problem was most likely that Ron’s sisters were meeting his needs so he had no reason to talk. She was right and after a painful summer Ron was speaking.

Although I felt foolish, it is important to follow through when a child hasn’t mastered these developmental stages.  The expectation is reasonable: the child might need some help in certain areas and early detection is important.


But there are other expectations- the ones that are not helpful for our development.  Some of those expectations are about God:

1. We want a god we can understand. We want a manageable, predictable god with         easy answers and quick solutions. We want a god we can understand who fits into a nice neat little box and doesn’t get out.


A God who is beyond my understanding makes me uncomfortable. Why didn’t Jesus explain what he was saying in simple terms? Why didn’t he help the people understand?


Because he wanted the people to question and to think! This is why Jesus taught with those confusing stories and parables. These problematic sayings of Jesus remained in their heads for long periods of time and caused them to question and think about what he was saying and grapple with his meaning. Thinking is good. Just memorizing a list of rules or facts does little for us spiritually.

We need to give up the expectation that we are going to understand God, because a God we could completely understand would be a very small god.

We also need to give up the expectation that we are going to understand everything in Scripture. There are passages I don’t understand.


Those are the places of growth for us as we ask God to help, struggle with them, grow.

But some of us also need to give up expectations about ourselves


By nature I have a perfectionistic bent. I always see what I do wrong; it’s hard for me to recognize the right, which, of course, is very frustrating since I can identify the source of these feelings. I could say, “Well this is just how I am.”  But I would be stuck because I can never meet my expectation – I will never be perfect. So I constantly work on giving up that expectation and when something happens – and often it does – I remind myself I am not perfect and I ask God if there is something I can learn.

Some of you may be struggling with that expectation.  Others think you have made too many mistakes to expect anything from God.  If you have these or any other harmful expectations about yourself, hear God’s truth:

God created you

God knows you

God loves you. Just as you are!


Don’t let your expectations of God or yourself stand in the way of receiving that truth.