My Confused Expectations

A friend of mine got me so upset last week. I had observed certain behaviour in them which I did not like. I found it quite annoying actually and was irritated for a few hours. Later on I realised that my problem was not necessarily their attitude or behaviour but that I had expectations contrary  to what I was receiving and I wanted them to change- to suit me. In times like this you wish you remember things like the Serenity Prayer “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” Not accepting things we cannot change will cause us to expend energy in projects doomed for failure before it even began. 

After ranting for a while, I stopped to think clearly and then I felt really bad. You see for me the ability to think clearly and act rationally when upset does not come easy. I think its a gift from God given to the selected some lol. For the unselected who are lack the gift, keep working at it. I am too. Anyway, from my musing, my conclusion was simply: “my expectations are not my prerogative.” It’s not my right to have others meet my expectations irrespective of how great or wonderful these expectations may be whether for my good or theirs. We set expectations for ourselves and not for others.

I am sure Jesus had some expectations of His disciples as well however, there was no instance where he demanded these from them. He would have loved Judas to remain faithful to the end but he sold Him for a few silver coins. Before He was arrested, He asked His closest friends to watch and pray with Him but they were unable to stay awake. When He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, I am sure he would have been delighted to have His friends stick by Him throughout but they all ran away except John. When Peter was asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, he said no – three times! I bet He would have preferred Peter to say “yes, I am one of His. I will die for Him if need be” just like he had boasted and promised earlier.

What causes our emotions to erupt? James simply put it as this- when you do not have your way! He adds also that the problem is that we are asking for the wrong things.  In other words, you are placing your demands for change on the wrong person. Why else do we get so upset when people fail to meet our desires? Perhaps because we think it’s our right. God does not place demands on us. Rather He gives us the right to choose.  Choose life or death and then He helps us by adding let Me help you – life is the wise choice. 

A man told me a story once about a habit his wife had and still has. He said that when they return home from an outing, she would carry on her normal daily activities including cooking in the expensive clothing he had bought her. He had spoken to her a few times asking her to change into “normal clothing” but she was not making the change as expected. He became so frustrated that he decided to pray about it. Yes – “be anxious for nothing…but with prayers… present your request to God.” That’s what the bible teaches right? Anyway, he prayed “Father change my wife, I do not like what she is doing.” God’s response to him was so simple – “you change and leave her alone.” He wanted his wife to change to suit him but the person that really needed to change was him. So his response to her changed. Now he is not bothered by how much her ‘apron’ cost him and he had peace of mind.

Do you know that even God is not required to meet all our expectations or demands? “Come down from the cross if You are the Christ” or “You saved other, save Yourself!” that’s what those who watched Jesus die on the cross told Him to do to prove that He is who He says He is. He chose rather to remain and die on the cross. He had told them earlier (and I paraphrase) you have some expectations of me on how you want me to prove who I am but I will not do it your way. I will do so by dying on the cross and rising again 3 days later. What you do with my way of doing this is up to you. In my words, “My action is My decision, your response to Me is your choice. I am not obliged to meet all your expectations.”

The only ones we need to set or demand our expectations from are ourselves. My expectations of you are not my prerogative. The choice is yours to make decisions about life. The best news is that the same applies to me. When we get this order wrong, we become frustrated and upset with the wrong person. 

Selah xx 

(c) 2010 Arielle Ajibade

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