I can honestly say that I have learnt a little about expectations.
That without a quantification it can be interpreted as anticipation or related to alarm/misgiving (according to the Merriam Webster thesaurus). All that this spells out is that if you have an expectation, prepare for a time of mental unease.
I felt that, as I concluded my bachelor’s degree, my academic journey was one that had drilled the lesson in; you start off with expectations (realistic and attainable), you draw a plan to achieve it, you work towards it (because on this journey no one will tell you success comes easy), you give your all and you await the reckoning! Whether your expectations will withstand the weight of reality.
In this time of waiting, you think and consider. Go through every step you took with careful insight and outlook. And the furthest thing from your mind is disappointment. As it well should be, because if we all attacked our endeavours held back by our fear of disappointment we would never exhaust our unseen abilities, let alone impress ourselves.
AI find myself in this loop all the time, especially when I enter a contest or competition. Before I’ve sent my entry or done my part, I spend a lot of time daydreaming about what I would do with my winnings (as though they are mine). After all this thought never hurt anybody! Right?
Sometimes, the result is nothing you expected. Most times it’s nothing you expected. But take heart because this can swing both ways. When it is better than expected, your feet are lighter and your heart is freer. There is purpose to the hard times you endured because they produced tenfold what you thought they would. When it is less than expected, even the heavens must weep… Or so you’d think, maybe want.
In researching disappointment (because I’ve needed some more explanation than just heartache), I’ve found two suggestions for handling it. Either lower your expectations or brace yourself through them and learn something, very cheesy. Best as pins for your Pinterest account. Which one is easier, which one is more rewarding? Which could be considered the coward’s way out?
I’m certain that if you have experienced devasting disappointment and had the courage to share it, you’ve heard it said, “Lower your expectations and you won’t get disappointed“. Very logical too! But how practical is it? If you are not the very first to try out a given task, you have expectations, based on other people’s experiences. But in the telling and retelling they come to pass off as your own no matter how hard you tried to keep away from them. You secretly think that if they did it, you can do it too. It might be hard but it is achievable.
For the past couple of months, I’ve relived my disappointments in my mind and wondered why my expectations set me up for failure. Failure in the sense of this mental anguish I have dragged myself through, time and again.
And the more I look back the more discouraged I get, I can’t help but wonder is this just me?
Because try as I might, once I am in the mood (ha! It appears there can be a mood for it) for self-berating, no successful story crops up. I can barely remember how well am surviving life, given all the odds. And the odds are never in your favour!
Don’t let what you expected keep you from what God wanted you to experience. I am trying to believe that, trying to reconcile that with what I had thought Ephesians 3:20 (He is able to do so much more than we imagine or hope for) means. Especially when what you have experienced is a very heavy hand.
Allow me to note here that sometimes the theory is so far from the practical. They shouldn’t be. But they are. Sometimes. I like this thought because it’s a reminder that God is in control even when you can’t see it.
This is no way means that am throwing open the door for disappointment to come rushing in. If I had my way I would never have to suffer another one. But we all must live in the expectation gap, always looking forward to something. Be certain it’s never the same position though. We have an expectation and it moves, because we move and grow and always aim higher.
Is there anyone who can fully say that they expect nothing more from this life? Even when we try to convince ourselves we are done with that hopelessly enticing cycle?