The Hidden Trap of High Expectations

“What did you expect?” I ask myself again as my wife and I are laying down for the evening. It was yet another night in a long list of nights where circumstances, co-workers, family, friends, and my wife didn’t live up to my expectations.


So what was I expecting?

Perfection, I guess. Or at least something closer to perfection then what I got from people. But was I perfect today, or yesterday… Or any day before?! The answer is a resounding, Earth-shaking roar of “NO!!!” from anyone I’ve ever met.

Therein lies one of the problems with my expectations, they are purely selfish, and I use a double standard on myself and others. I automatically get a pass for my shortcomings and not meeting my expectations, everyone else gets judged on a sliding scale based on how high a stack of good deeds I can recall doing at that moment. Not to mention I set the bar too high in the first place. “It’s a trap” from the beginning.

And no one wins from these unmet expectations either. I get angry and short with others, I grumble and complain to myself, and I proverbially spit in God’s eye.

Even forgetting about unmet expectations, the ones I set and people meet are a worse trap still. I can set low, easily meet able ones and they can live up to them for a time. But this sets a standard for them, and then if they have an off day in the future and fail to meet it just once… Oh boy!

“I can’t believe this! You had ONE job to do! ONE JOB! And you couldn’t even do that today!”

And through these battles with depending on fallible, weak people who are imperfect just like “awesome” me, someone else is standing by who’s never let me down, and never will. He is perfect, He was the perfect sacrifice for all our sins and took the full force of God’s wrath to prove the depth of God’s love.

He is the only one I should be looking to and expecting anything from, and the only thing I should expect from Him is a justly earned penalty for sin, and yet all He provides is unconditional love, uncountable mercies, and endless grace.

He has met every expectation and more.

So to my wife, family, friends, and even every driver who doesn’t use a turn signal… Forgive me for expecting perfection from you, and judging you when you don’t provide it.

I pray God teaches me this lesson so I can stop going to sleep angry at everything but the problem, which is me.

James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:19-20 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; [20] for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Freedom and Hope can be yours in Jesus,

Andrew Springer

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