ex•pec•ta•tion: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
Now we’ve all heard the saying for assume…make an ass out of u and me. But I don’t think expectation gets the proper warning.
Expectation is the strong belief that something will happen. It’s not thinking “oh if it happens great if not that’s okay.” It’s believing that something will happen! Expectation is putting it in your heart and your gut that certain situations and/or people will play out the way you believe it. The danger? We aren’t in control and when our expectations aren’t met it can be crushing.
And when you’re crushed it’s easy to turn to anger and frustration. And when you’re angry and frustrated it’s impossible to be grateful. I know I talk about gratitude a lot but it’s because I truly believe it’s the key to happiness. Gratitude can defeat anger and bitterness, frustration, depression and expectation.
So what do we do about it? We have to stop expecting life to happen a certain way and remember that we aren’t in charge. We have to trust in what’s bigger than us. The Universe. God.
I expected my Dad to be present in my life and my children’s lives. I expected him to be a wonderful Papa like I had. But he was sick and he left us. It’s easy for me to get angry at him. So angry that I fail to give him credit for all that he did do and for the man he was. I didn’t expect my dad to die at 58 years old. But I can change my heart when I let go of those failed expectations and turn to gratitude. I am grateful that his struggles are over. I am grateful that God took him home and ended his hardship. I am grateful that I have a dad who loved me so much and I never questioned how much he loved me. I always knew it. Everyday of my life I knew that my dad adored me. I am so grateful for that.
That doesn’t mean I don’t grieve. Notice I never said that gratitude replaces sadness. Because we can grieve with a grateful heart. I miss him.
I fully expected my new job to be a smooth and happy transition. And then it wasn’t. It was a rocky and hard transition. I found myself crying at my new desk the first few weeks because my expectations weren’t met. But I can’t stay there in that disappointed place. If I continue to expect my career to happen a certain way I will miss out on all the good that God has given me in this change. I am so grateful for the new people that have been put in my life. I am thankful to be a part of this big, strong school district that supports a quality education for all kids. I get to be a part of the same school district I grew up in teaching with some of my old teachers. I get to be a part of the brand new high school and all the excitement, growth and opportunity that brings. I get to work in the same school district as my kids and be fully present in their lives. I am grateful for the growth and contribution this new job is providing me.
The last couple of months have been a hard time for me. And as it slowly gets better each day and I’m able to reflect back on my struggles , I realize that I was expecting too much and not thanking God enough. I have SO much good in my life to focus on and appreciate. So much good. My babies, my husband, my mom and in-laws, my job, my home, my friends, my health, my dad and grandparents in Heaven who are waiting for me. A Father who is always with me.
Stop expecting life to happen. Live in each day and be grateful for what that day brings.