For me, learning to drive was as exciting as it was at times scary. I had expectations that if I could work as a doctor, surely learning to drive would be a walk in the park. There were lots of silly mistakes made such as stalling at the most inopportune times; so, my frustration levels were climbing. It didn’t help that my instructor was neither being very constructive with his criticism nor encouraging when I actually got something right. My brother’s driving instructor seemed to have good reviews, so I decided to try him instead. Full of excitement, I thought “this is what I’ve been waiting for” but oh my goodness! It was one of the worst lessons I ever had. Even the basic things I knew how to do like driving round quiet roads and executing turns, were nigh on impossible that day. I probably cried when I got home. Looking back, I think perhaps things won’t have been so bad if I did not have such high expectations.
An expectation is what people (yourself included) think would/should happen in a given scenario. Expectations are a normal part of life. For instance, before children are born, parents typically nurture ideas of how they want them to be, act, look and some may even go as far as planning their children’s careers. Add to this our own expectations for ourselves and we have a conundrum. Expectations in themselves are not necessarily bad. It depends on their content and context. The way we communicate these expectations is very important in how they are perceived. For example, if my mum expects me to get married by the time I’m 25 (which is long gone LOL), she can either nag me about it all the time, she can try to set me up with people or she can pray for me to meet the right person. I know which I’d prefer! Our focus should be on learning how to manage (and communicate our) expectations in a healthy manner instead of letting them crush us.
Expectations are easier to handle if they are placed in the context of God’s will for us as individuals Jeremiah 29 vs 11 . To answer the question of what those expectations are, read the Bible. You can also look up the subject matter in Bible concordances, read articles/ listen to messages about what other Christians know. Most important of all, wait to hear from God about you and your situation. He has an answer for you and wants to speak to you.
Whilst it is important to determine God’s expectations for and of us, you also need to think about your expectations of yourself. Are they really your own expectations and desires or are they other people’s expectations disguised as yours? Ask yourself how these expectations align with who you are as a person.
In an ideal world, what God wants will be what I want. However, in reality this is often not the case or at least not initially. Sometimes I might think I have the same expectation as God but he might want to achieve his expectation differently to how I imagined. For example, when I was planning my elective (a self-planned university placement), I thought God wanted me to go to New York so I put everything into planning that. Boy was it frustrating when doors kept slamming in my face! Somehow God orchestrated things such that I went to Canada for my elective and had an amazing time. The cherry on top was also having the opportunity to visit New York.
Undoubtedly, it can be a minefield navigating expectations and trying to make everyone happy especially when they’re your parents, best friends or significant others. However, regardless of what you do there’s always somebody that you’re going to disappoint. It’s good to ask them (and yourself) why they have this expectation. What’s the motive? Obviously, it is important to consider their views but ultimately what matters most is what God wants. As long as you’re happy and you have peace with God regarding the situation and your decision, go for it and most people will eventually come round.
Finally, before we get too irate about the expectations others have of us, let us think about our expectations for others. We can’t NOT have expectations. What’s important is how we communicate those expectations because whether we like it or not, these expectations colour our interactions with people. So ask yourself, is this a fair expectation? Is it selfish of me? What happens if this person does not meet this expectation?
I hope this has been helpful. Please share how you’ve managed expectations. Let’s learn from one another!
Have a great week.
Sinmi Aiyelaagbe is a medical doctor who writes from Manchester, United Kingdom. She is also a Blogger and more content from her can be found on her website : The thoughts of a Sinmigirl