I have a problem with expectations. It stems from my need to be in control. I want to be in control of things, and I expect my loved ones (okay, my husband mostly) to stay within my control and meet those expectations. It sounds awful because it is awful. However, it’s the truth and I like to be honest. I’m convinced I’m not the only one in the world like this, and I am in the refining process in my walk with the Lord. So, as I learn, I share, in the hope that someone somewhere is going through the same thing and can be helped or encouraged by my journey.
Here’s what I’m learning, and the thing I am working on in myself this new year.
It’s normal to want things perfect; it’s human flesh to want that. The problem lies in me making an idol of that desire. So, I need to bring that desire to God in prayer. When I pray, I must not just pray for the circumstances, but my heart toward the circumstances and the people involved. For example, let’s say I would like my husband to come into his role as spiritual leader, and I feel he isn’t. My desire here isn’t wrong, it’s a God-given desire. Where I need to be careful though, is how I handle this desire.
My flesh wants to talk to my husband about what I need from him, then get very upset and start yelling when he fails over and over again. What God is showing me how to do is pray. Pray about my desire, ask God if talking to my husband is His will, and if so, pray for guidance in the timing of that conversation. I should pray for my husband’s heart; that he would be led to lead us as God wants him to. And most importantly, I should pray for my own heart in this circumstance. Many times, God doesn’t change the circumstance (not right away anyway), He changes my heart toward it, causing me to grow and mature. He teaches me patience before He teaches my husband the importance of leading (or whatever specific lesson you wish your husband would learn).
After I pray, I must release my expectations and replace them with trust in the Lord. I must have faith in His will and power. I trust that He will come through as I pray for His will, not mine. At the end of this process, I find myself full of the joy of the Lord, because expectations have no place in my life, therefore I am not being let down every day. My will is aligned with God’s. My husband isn’t being nagged or shamed into making changes, I am not waiting on pins and needles for him to come into action, and I am not getting in the way of the Holy Spirit. He can do His work in my husband on His own!
Expectations only lead to disappointment and unhappiness. Don’t put that on your husband or yourself. Let it go and let God handle it. This New Year, decide to take your circumstances and your heart to God in prayer rather than taking things into your own hands. See what He does for you!