Do you recall the last time you felt disappointed or discouraged? Don’t you hate feeling like that? Think back to what it was that prompted those feelings. Chances are pretty good that it was because of something we all deal with from time to time- unmet expectations.
Unmet expectations can be very destructive. They have destroyed families, marriages, businesses, careers, friendships, pursuits of dreams, and much more. They have also successfully kept many strong men and woman in depressed, hopeless or disappointed states of mind, sometimes for years.
This shouldn’t surprise us though, because the Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). The Hebrew word for hope comes from a root word that means “to wait for expectantly.” Can you relate to this? Have you had your “hopes up” for something and waited for it expectantly, only to have it not happen? Didn’t your heart feel sick after that? I know I’ve been there.
Now, although unmet expectations can be very destructive, this should not discourage us from pursuing the things we desire. In fact, that verse goes on to say that “a desire realized is a tree of life.”
This means that when we pursue the things that we want and get them, the achievement will be life giving to our mind and our soul. This has been proven in psychology time and time again- that turning your desires into goals, pursuing them, and achieving them can be one of the healthiest things anyone can do for themselves. It builds confidence, resilience and a sense of purpose.
So how do we walk this thin line?
On the one hand, we want to pursue the desires of our heart, like better health, better relationships, the achievement of our goals, etc. But…we do not want to have our expectations go unmet, which will hurt us in the long run. Quite the pickle!
Here’s what I say- let’s pursue our goals but let’s make sure our expectations are ones that are in line with what our actions are likely to produce. We need to ask ourselves, what’s the most sensible, reasonable and measurable result that can be gained from our current actions, given the nature of our situation? Those should be our expectation. If you want more than that, consider doing more.
Are you getting OK results exercising once a week? What could you expect if you increased it to 3 days a week?
Are you doing a lot of exercise but not drinking enough water or eating the right foods? What could you expect if you did those things too?
Are you feeling better from doing a therapy or fitness program for 3 months? What could you expect after 3 years of doing it?
You see, there’s always something more we can do to get the results we want and virtually none of us are doing everything. Because of this, we should never feel hopeless because none of us have truly maxed out our potential.
So in closing, as we are pursuing our 2020 goals, lets try to intentionally guard ourselves against the trap of having expectations that are unreasonable and likely to go unmet. Let’s remember that the farmer might be hungry now, but his crops have a timetable of their own. So it is with you and me.
The things we pursue (especially things related to our health) have a timetable of their own. They can’t be rushed and there are no shortcuts. Remember that, and don’t let the seeds you’ve already sown go to waste. Keep watering, keep tending and keep waiting. Harvest will come in its time.
Thanks for bringing me on the journey with you. God bless!