(This post was first run 2 and a half years ago. I edited it slightly and added a few thoughts. I thought it was appropriate for this time.)
Expectations are wonderful and dangerous things. They are wonderful because they point us in a certain direction and can give us sharp focus. If you are not expecting anything you are likely going to be unenthusiastic about whatever you are doing. Without expectations, others don’t know where you are going and will not follow. Without expectations, it is hard to know if you accomplished your goal, after all isn’t a goal something you are expecting?
So, what are you expecting? What are you expecting from this day?
The dangerous part of expectations is they set you up for disappointment. Disappointment, by definition, at least my definition, is failed expectations. So, if what I am expecting does not happen then I will be disappointed. Understanding the connection between expectations and disappointment is critical for establishing productive expectations. Knowing that a failed expectation leads to disappointment can lead some to the conclusion that they should not set any expectations. Their logic is that if they don’t set any expectations then they won’t fall short on any expectations and therefore they won’t have any disappointments. There are major problems with that logic. First, without expectations you will just wander with no clear goal or motivation. Second, you may end up following the wrong plan as you get swept along by someone else’s expectations. Third, you will miss the joy of seeing fulfilled expectations.
Don’t avoid expectations, instead set expectations that will motivate you without being too unrealistic. Be willing to adjust expectations without compromising your vision or goals. Don’t get so caught up in “realistic” expectations that you leave no room for the power of the Holy Spirit and the moves of God.
What are you expecting from this day? What are you expecting from the next time of worship at your church? What are you expecting from this next week, month or year?
Let’s expect great things. Let’s expect God to do amazing things. Let’s encourage each other in our expectations.