Managing Expectations

Managing Expectations

By Marilyn Pritchard

Expectations are those voices in our head that tell us what we should and shouldn’t do, whether or not we feel like a success or a failure. Where do those voices come from?

Early in life, it was your parents. They influenced your manners, your early faith development, your attitude toward school, even what you ate. Their expectations probably lasted into your young adult years, affecting whether or not you went to college, what you may have studied, or where you chose to live after you finished school. 

In both ministry and career, you may find that everyone else has expectations for you to live up to. And if you’re like me, you don’t want to let anyone down, so you work hard to please them all, and inevitably become frustrated and discouraged.

But sometimes the hardest expectations to live up to are those we place on ourselves. We create in our head something psychologists call an “ideal self,” an image of what we think we should be like. When we don’t measure up to that ideal, we feel like a failure.

Ultimately, we need to live for an audience of One. The only expectations that really matter for our lives are God’s. Indeed, as Paul explains in Galatians 1:10, it’s impossible to serve God if we are trying to live up to the world’s expectations of us: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Whose expectations are you living for? If you’re finding it difficult to set aside others’ expectations, or your own, and seek only God’s approval in your life, take a look at some of the articles listed here. Be encouraged by women who have struggled with this same issue, and learn from their personal faith journeys. Just Between Us (JBU) wants you to know, in your heart of hearts, that God alone is your rock and salvation. Ultimately, He is your hope and refuge (Ps. 62:5-7, ESV). 

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