9 Ways that Expectations Destroy Our Lives

by Mark Votava

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I am done with expectations.  Expectations are premeditated resentments.  So many times in my life I have been trapped into my expectations only to find myself frustrated, angry, disillusioned, hurt and resentful.  I want to be free from all of this.

1. Expectations keep us from living in the present moment

Expectations keep me from living in the present moment of each day.  Expectations pull me into the past and plunge me into anxiety about the future.  This keeps me from embracing the wonder, the sacredness and the freedom of Christ living within me in everyday life.  Is it possible to live in a way where I no longer have any expectations towards anything in life?

2. Expectations make us crazy with resentments

Expectations in community, in relationships, with my family, with God, in life, within myself and with the church are making me crazy with resentments.  I expect too much and often others are not what I want them to be.  Often the church offers me almost nothing and keeps me from authentically following Christ, the one who they are supposed to be loving and honoring.  So I am done with it all.

3. Expectations keep us from showing grace and love to others

My expectations will no longer keep me from living my life.  I want do something different from what I have known and has become so familiar to me.  Expectations keep me from rooting my life in a way of love and compassion.  Expectations keep me from showing grace to others.  Expectations keep me in a disillusioned state of craziness, meanness and arrogance.

I wonder if Jesus lived with expectations.  Probably not.  His main concern was love not expectations.  So I want Christ to free me from my expectations and show me how to love.

4. Expectations cause us to dwell in our hurt and pain

Can expectations and love exist at the same time.  I don’t think so.  Being free of the resentments of the past requires that I release my expectations within  me.  I am hurting because of my expectations.

5. Expectations trap us in our ideals

Expectations cause me to develop ideals that leave me attached to something that doesn’t exist while I evade what is in my life.  This is unhealthy, damaging and causes resentment.  I live in a perpetual state of unforgiveness lacking grace, love and compassion when I get stuck here.

6. Expectations refuse the mystery of paradox

There is a paradox in this because I still do things in the world with the hope that something good, beautiful and authentic will come of what I do, but I do it without an attachment to any expectations whatsoever.  To live without expectations is miraculous and seems impossible.  It is a beautiful way to live because it makes us more gentle, compassionate and connected with the wonder, sacredness and beauty of life in the present moment.

7. Expectations put an unnatural box around the present moment

We cannot put expectations on the present moment.  The present moment will not be bound, boxed up or held tightly in our hands.  This is not reality because the present moment is to be lived not held onto tightly.  It refuses all our attempts.

8. Expectations reject forgiveness

Flora Slosson Wuellner writes, “The best definition I have heard of forgiveness is ‘to release the other from our expectations’…”

9. Expectations define slavery not freedom

Whether the other is God, life, a friend, what I think the church should be or how I think Christians should act in the world; I need to live in forgiveness with no expectations.  This is hard to do –  to say I no longer have any expectations from Christians, the body of Christ, community or God.  I want to be free to live my own life in my own unique way without being frustrated by others around me.  This is a new beginning indeed!

Do you have a consciousness of your expectations?