Expectations or Expectancy?

“If you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that ‘expectancy’ to an ‘expectation’–spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend….expectations are the basis of guilt and shame and judgment, and they provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value.” (205-206)

Expectations destroy…they can destroy friendships, marriage, families…sometimes all in one fell swoop. I want to enjoy my relationships.  I don’t want my relationships to be riddled with expectations, and I have to be honest, they have been at times. It’s been my loss in the past that I cannot just love and enjoy the people around me, rather than demand that my needs be met by them.

I’ve had friends who have tried to fix me…seriously, good luck with that. It seems that when people try to fix each other, there is an expectation for that person to act a certain way, because that person is just not measuring up to their expectations, and this seems to happen for a variety of reasons…power, control…maybe even wanting that person to perform in the same way that they themselves might feel like they have to perform for others.

Sadly, people who don’t have freedom don’t want others to have it either. Look at the Pharisees…they were angry that Jesus and His disciples had freedom and actually helped people on the Sabbath. The Pharisees desperately tried to make everyone, even the Son of God, live up to their rules…their laws…their expectations of who they thought God was and wanted Him to be.

It’s hard being in relationships where I know I’m not measuring up…where I know I should be doing something, maybe I don’t even know what that something is, but there’s this expectation there, this pressure to perform…to be something I’m not, to act a certain way, to fulfil a demand that someone has put upon me, whether stated or unstated.  

 “Perform in a way that meets my expectations…” and then when I get those expectations met, I’ll give you ten more…that’s just how expectations work; the bar just gets raised higher and higher. I’ve done that before in my friendships but a whole lot more in my marriage, as Jeff can certainly attest to.

There were certain expectations that I had of Jeff in the past… to make me secure, to make me happy, to meet all my needs…and that’s not fair…not fair to him…not fair to me, if he chooses to comply with my needy demands…Talk about frustration on all levels. Jeff could not possibly do the things I was requiring of him, not for any length of time anyway. He simply wasn’t meant to meet all my needs.

Now, I really try to look to Jesus (my All in All) to meet my needs, not all the time for sure, but more than I ever have. I think one of the most freeing things about my relationship with Him is that He doesn’t have expectations on me; I mean, what could I possibly do for Him anyway? How could I possibly benefit the God of the universe?

For so long, I thought of God as a demanding tyrant who could never be pleased with anything that I did, much less be pleased with me. I don’t see Him that way anymore. When He looks at me, He sees Christ.

I think I’ve grown hopeful of seeing my Abba soon…I am expectantly excited…I cannot wait until I can see Him and just be with Him, and I think He feels the same way about me. Sara Groves has a song that she wrote called “Going Home.”  What if all our relationships looked like this?

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table. Going home, I’ll meet you in the air… Oh, I cannot wait to be home.

I’m confined by my senses to really know what you are like. You are more than I can fathom, more than I can guess, and more than I can see with human sight. But I have felt you with my spirit. I have felt you fill this room. This is just an invitation, a sample of the whole, and I cannot wait to be going home. Face to face how can it be?

I have a neighbor, who is also a good friend. We walk together almost every morning, and I really look forward to hanging out with her. We talk; we’ve prayed before; sometimes we just laugh. We don’t really put expectations on each other. But there is an expectancy there. I cannot wait to see her, to find out how her previous day has gone, what struggles she’s had to deal with, just friend kind of stuff. But I don’t try to fix her. What freedom for both of us to be who we are without condemnation and judgment, even when we spread our junk out for each other to see!

I have other friends like this, for which I’m very grateful. I don’t take those friendships for granted. I just look forward to seeing them again and hanging out with them. Just this past weekend, I had friends that came for a visit; and before they left, I was already looking forward to the next time they would come. No expectations…just expectancy.

But even when we’re not trying to, sometimes expectations do come to the surface, so how do we get rid of them?  How do we get back to that expectancy, that excitement of just being with the ones we love, instead of looking for something more from them?  

For me, it’s allowing Jesus  to change me and the people around me and not trying to fix them. Let’s work at just being together. Sound like fun?

No expectations.

No agenda.

No performance.

No shoes required.


4 Responses to “Expectations or Expectancy?”

  1. August 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    KIM!!!! I agree completely with the entire post! I actually made a very similar post about the exact same thing based on a sermon I heard one Sunday and even named it “expectations”. take a look if you want. You are so right and having no expectations makes you so much more grateful about even the smallest things!!!


  2. August 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Great post! I reallt liked what you said,

    ” I don’t want my relationships to be riddled with expectations, and I have to be honest, they have been at times. It’s been my loss in the past that I cannot just love and enjoy the people around me, rather than demand that my needs be met by them.”

    This part made me say ouch. I have lost a lot in the past because of my expectations of friendship. In fact, I’ve lost some good friends,not because of their expectations, but because of mine… sigh.

  3. August 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I posted a comment earlier, but I don’t know why it never showed up. I just wanted you know I feel your pain about missing out on past relationships because of expectations I put on my friendships. I cringe sometimes when I think about things I expected from people and had no qualms about telling them so. Ouch! It is so freeing to kick your shoes off, be yourself and let them be their self too. It is so easy with you… Love you!

  4. August 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I am just making a blog related to this. If you allow, I would like to use some of your content. And with full refernce of course. Thanks in advance.

    – John

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