Great Expectations

great expectations

Do you have Great Expectations? No, I’m not talking about the book. I mean do you have great expectations in life, for holidays, for the kind of behavior you expect from your kids? I am all for finding the silver lining in any cloud, but sometimes, I expect too much from people or situations.

great expectations

I recently read a post called, “Expectations Ruin Reality” from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard. The article said, “Our expectations ruin reality because we build up inflated expectations and life can’t measure up.” Referring to her husband and holidays, Jennifer realized, “When I quit having expectations…[it let us] live in the joy of the moment.”

It made me think.

When my husband proposed, I was mad at him. I was angry because I had this ‘great expectation’ that ‘tonight might be the night!’. But we went to dinner, and we walked around campus, and whatever else we did that night…and still no proposal.

So I thought, “Well, that was stupid of me to think he would propose tonight.” And then I fumed, “NO! He’s stupid for not proposing! Tonight would have been perfect because…[insert my reasoning]”.

(Yes, I started our marriage with these thoughts, lol!)

Then, as the clock tolled 10 (hours after our date had begun), he dropped to one knee. But I was still angry because I’d built up these great expectations in my mind. I wondered why he didn’t propose earlier in the evening so we could have enjoyed the whole date night as an engaged couple. I had to battle my feelings for a (long) minute or two while my boyfriend looked up at me from the ground where he knelt, waiting for an answer. Part of me wanted to say no, just to be irritating, but I was also afraid he wouldn’t ask again. 😉

As my husband would say, I obviously have issues. Ha! But this is the kind of thing that happens when you dream and fantasize about how things should go in life. So what am I saying, should we not dream?

great expectations

I am not sure what the answer is, exactly, but I think it has to do with choosing happiness. In Philippians, Paul was hunted down, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, whipped, stoned…and he learned how to be content in all circumstances.

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Paul wasn’t perfect- he despaired, and he was depressed, but he chose happiness.

Like Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard so wisely said,

“Don’t let the darkness of envy and materialism steal true joy from your grasp.”

I need to remember these things every day of my life.

  • When I expect a quiet, happy family relishing the dinner I lovingly cooked, but instead I get whiny kids with noses turned up at my meal…
  • When I expect a quick, easy trip to the grocery store, just for the basics- and instead have needy kids wanting in and out of the cart, multiple potty breaks, “boo-boos”, requests for yummy looking things not on our list, and stops at every sample spot (ok, that last one is not so bad!)…
  • When I expect getting most, if not all of my to-do list done, and instead have ‘nothing’ to show for my day…
  • When I expect pretty much anything in my life to go a particular way…
  • When, for some reason, I expect my husband to do the dishes for me (which he has done once in the last year- at my request- on Mother’s Day)….

I need to stop and remember, it’s ok. I can still be happy. My life doesn’t revolve around my perfect little plan. Stuff happens.

If everything went exactly as planned, life would be pretty boring, right?


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  1. I really do not like when things don’t go to plan. I think I plan too many things for myself then beat myself up when I can’t check off a million things from my to do list. I recently changed what I expect from myself–only 3 major tasks per day! This way if I do get more than 3 things done I can feel like an awesome overachiever! Lol!

  2. I try to let go of expectations because I always get disappointed. I think this post is great especially for mother’s because we build up our expectations so high. I know I do it for myself, because I feel if my family meets these expectations then I’ve done a good job, and when they don’t I’m upset.

    1. I know…It sounds bad, like I’m saying you shouldn’t have any hope, but then again…we’re putting all this responsibility on our friends/family to live up to what we think they should be/do. So basically, we just want things to go our own way, right?

  3. It took lots of dashed expectations for me to learn how to live in the moment more. This year for Mother’s Day, he didn’t make me breakfast in bed or prepare my coffee or buy me an expensive gift but we had a good day with heartfelt cards that warmed my heart and a nice lunch out at a place of my choosing. It was good, no frills, but good. The next day my van needed replaced. He didn’t bat an eye when we depleted our savings to buy me a really nice newer van. Love doesn’t always fall on the calendar, but always knows when to show up. I’m glad my post spoke to you. I love how the body of Christ can link our hearts across the internet and build relationships that lift us up and create community.

    1. Thank you, I did enjoy the post (as always) and thanks for the comment! Even your comment speaks to me, lol! Love doesn’t always fall on the calendar… 🙂

  4. Nice post! I am a control freak and like knowing exactly what to expect when I start any new thing. But over the years, I have learned to accept that things don’t always go as per plan and when they don’t, sometimes they exceed our “great expectations”. So, it’s just better to go with the flow 🙂

  5. I can SO relate to what you wrote. I have a lot of expectations about what my husband should do and how my kids should act, and everything in between! I’m learning to let go of these slowly and just enjoy moments for what they are, to really see what I have already been blessed with. God is teaching me a lot about contentment lately!

    1. I think this is something everyone struggles with…living in an imperfect world, we’ll never be completely happy and have exactly what we want. That’s what Heaven is for- if everything was perfect here, we’d have nothing to look forward to, right? 🙂

  6. Great article! One of the big things I learned in pre-marital counseling was about expectations. It really helped us both to be clear on what the others expectations about marriage were. This has helped me in all relationships. If someone disappoints me, I immediately adjust my expectations and realize that I probably had them too high for that particular relationship. If course it’s still a bummer, but mentally adjusting my expectations has helped me many times.

  7. Haha I see where you’re coming from. Sometimes I expect to have a fun, relaxing weekend with the family, but end up being too tired from my sleepless nights with the baby. I usually don’t get everything I set out to get done, done. That’s my struggle right now.
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  8. This is such an awesome post! I am guilty of this as well in expecting things to go a certain way, or have others behave in a certain way. It truly does rob the joy from the situation. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

  9. Amazing post! Thank-you for this lovely reminder to keep my expectations in check. 🙂 As a Mom I can let expectations of myself to become unrealistic

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