Saturday, June 3, 2017

Expectancy, Not Expectations



Hello Everyone,

May was a busy month for me, how about you? It’s hard to believe it’s June, the year is about halfway over!

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and how much we need friends in our life. I love how God created us for connection, that He wired us to live in relationship with other people.

But have you ever had a friend disappoint you? Have you ever been the one to disappoint a friend?

Yes and yes. We have all been on both sides of this coin. Life is messy and busy and sometimes friends let each other down.

I’ve learned, though, that the best way to handle these friendship disappointments is to manage my expectations. When we have a list of expectations of things our friends should be or do for us, sooner or later, they are bound to miss the mark. So are we.

I recently read The Shack and loved this quote. I think it’s the key to managing our expectations in any relationship, not just friendship:


“Mack, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is an expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else.
But what happens if I change that expectancy to an expectation—spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and what, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend.” —The Shack, Page 207

Expectancy, not expectation. I love that, don’t you?

It relieves a lot of pressure to perform, people please or live up to other people’s ideas of what a good friend/wife/sister should be. We can just be who we are and love people for who they are, not for what they do for us.

God never intended us to fill the deep places in each other’s hearts for fulfillment, purpose or validation because that is something only He can do. Friends are meant to enhance each other’s lives, not be each other’s lives.

So instead of looking for our friends to meet our expectations, hopes or longings, we instead wait with expectancy for the blessings we experience from being together and being there for each other.

When we have this mindset, it changes things.

When a friend has to cancel plans, when they forget your birthday or when they’re not there when you hoped they would be, you have two choices:

  • If you choose expectations, you’ll be mad at your friend and might even build a wall between you. You’ll likely start to keep track of the ways she messes up.
  • If you choose expectancy, sure, you’ll be disappointed, but you’ll understand that things happen and will look forward to the next time you can connect.

Expectancy, not expectations. Although spelled similarly, they are vastly different ways we can go about friendship.

For a previous post I've written about friendship, click here.

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