Handling Unmet Expectations
By Vanessa Bonilla
What are you expecting this Valentine’s Day? I’m thinking of all the ways my husband can surprise me. Is he going to bring me chocolates? Will he buy me flowers? He knows I love adventures—will we go on a hike? Rock climbing? Bumper cars in Bryant Park?
This year my husband and I will celebrate ten years of marriage and I’m surprised I still struggle with expectations. Despite the season we’re in or our financial situation, I maintain high expectations. The only thing which matters to me when I get into that frame of mind is what I think I deserve and whether I get it. I’ve seen what it’s done to us in the past. A perfectly good day explodes into a million unmet desires, leaving us in the ashes—filthy with frustration. Expectations don’t only damage my relationship with my spouse. Unmet expectations hurt my relationship with God.
What are you expecting from God this year? That question makes me a bit uneasy. I begin to think about what I’m not seeing. “This person has yet to come to the Lord! Where’s the fruit from the sowing I’ve done? I’m still struggling in this area!” I was doing to God what I’ve done to my husband. Instead of receiving good things with gratitude, I expect things MY way.
God showed me if I want to have a vision of what’s to come, I must appreciate the beauty of what He’s already done.
God loved me:
On the cross of Calvary.
In the empty tomb.
In my redemption and sanctification.
In the eternal life promised to me.
When I focus on what’s been done the beauty of what’s being done comes to the surface. I begin to acknowledge how He’s healing my daughter’s heart. He’s giving me insight into my finances. He’s giving me the strength, patience, and love needed to love my children well. He’s waking me up in the middle of the night just to remind me of how much He loves me.
God’s also showing me how to love like He loves. Learning to appreciate my husband for all he is and does for our family allows me to see the genuine love he is sharing with me. By recognizing the hand of God clearly in our lives—what He’s done, doing, and will do—self-centered expectations fall away.
Write down answered prayers, so in seasons when you’re tempted to feel like nothing is happening you can celebrate what Christ has already done.Wives, we feel most loved in our submission not our expectation. When you feel expectations rise, instead of giving into frustration, find ways to serve your husband in love.In your relationships, remember love does not insist on its own way. It’s also not irritable or resentful. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13)
About Vanessa: Lives with her husband, Eli, in Brooklyn, NY where she homeschools their five children. Vanessa is also the Children’s Director at her church, and she loves fire pits, friends, and spending time with her family.