Unrealistic expectations

Unrealistic expectations affect us in different areas. First, we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves, family, friends and children. When we do things poorly we feel bad. That sets in motion a never-ending cycle of reaching for things that are out of our reach, hoping to prove something we don’t have to prove in the first place.

We think we should be able to do what others do, yet if we’re not similarly gifted we cannot excel in it. You don’t need to prove anything. Just obey God and allow Him to take care of your reputation. As long as you expect to excel outside of your gifting and calling you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Unrealistic expectation also affects us in our relationships with others. To make somebody else responsible for your happiness, or you for theirs is a huge mistake. Abraham Lincoln said: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be”.

If people don’t have the right outlook on life, you and 100 others like you, won’t make them happy. Jesus expected His disciples to do their best, but He knew that even their best would still be imperfect. And you need to understand that about your loved ones too, and treat them accordingly.

The perfect marriage, the perfect friend, the perfect job, the perfect neighbourhood, the perfect church don’t exist. God knew that, so He gave us instructions on how to handle people who disappoint us. Unrealistic expectations concerning circumstances also set us up for disappointment. Listen:

 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world ”. (John 16:33)

Here Jesus is saying: As long as you are in the world, you’ll have problems. Nobody gets a free pass. But don’t worry; I’ve got everything under control.”

So learn to be realistic. You’ll always have to deal with unpleasant situations and difficult people. But your attitude (not theirs) is what will determine whether or not you enjoy life.

This article was extracted from the Word for today written by Bob and Debby Gass (Oct 2004) and contributed by:

Manny Sami