Over 25 years ago, I was getting ready for our wedding. On a budget, we DIY-ed as much as we could, and asked friends and family to help. It was so fun to look forward to that day and put thought into every detail. For months it was my focus, main conversation point and a source of joy, hope and excitement as I looked forward to that day.
We are built for anticipation. That feeling of expectation for Christmas morning, a special birthday party or our wedding day. Looking forward to something feels good and can be distraction from the monotony of daily life. All too often our high expectations are met with a strong dose of reality:
After the glitter of Christmas comes the grayness of January.
After a milestone birthday comes the feeling of time slipping away.
After landing your dream job comes the drudgery of paperwork and meetings.
After the baby shower comes labor and the baby-blues.
So often we anticipate the next thing with high hopes only to be disappointed. We hope that if our dreams come true, we will be happy. Unfortunately, no one lives a fairy-tale life. Habits that were adorable in dating become annoying in marriage. That great career move comes with a workplace bully. The baby still doesn’t sleep through the night. Teenagers get sassy, and adult children make bad decisions.
It’s not a bad thing to look forward to things, to dream and hope for what’s next. Anticipation of better days ahead is not wrong, it’s actually biblical. The Bible describes hope from God as hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5), and it always results in fulfilled expectations. This hope is not in things (or people) on earth, but on an eternal future in heaven. God has good plans for us! Jeremiah 29:11 says He has plans to give you a future and a hope. What a comfort His hope is for us and we can trust Him for it!
That eternal hope doesn’t change the fact that life on earth often lets us down. What can we do when we are hit with unmet expectations and disappointment? How we respond is an opportunity to grow and lean in closer to God. Because if we get stuck in disappointment and let-down, we become bitter. God has hope and joy for us in abundance, and only He can transform our disappointment to hope, bitterness to joy and despair to trustful acceptance.
During seasons of disappointment…
1. God wants to hear from you! Cry out to him and He will hear you. Psalm 18:6
2. Admit to God He is all-powerful, and you are not. Jeremiah 32:17
3. Lean into Him for compassion and comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3
4. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to learn from this situation. Psalm 25:4-5
5. Share your hurts with a trusted friend or mentor who will pray with you. Titus 2:3-5
Letting go of our expectations is hard, but allowing God to care for us in a way that leads to acceptance and trust is beautiful. It means allowing Him to meet our needs and realizing true fulfillment only comes from Him.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).