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We’ve all had that feeling – the one where we’ve been looking forward to something, planning for something, expecting something to happen a certain way…. and reality just doesn’t live up to our imagination. We walk away from whatever experience it was with a sense of disappointment, frustration, and an empty feeling inside because our expectations were left wanting.

I hate that feeling, and it happens in very big and very small ways throughout our lives.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to have 

expectations.

 We make them subconsciously, not even realizing we have them until they’re met or, more likely, unmet. Having expectations is a part of life, but what we need to be careful of is living a life continually out of expectations. Instead, we should live with a spirit of expectancy.

 

Even though the words are similar, there’s a big difference between expectation and expectancy. Expectation means holding our own thoughts and ideas, our own timeline, and our own plans of what will or should happen above God’s. It’s a need for control which, by the way, reveals areas of our lives where we have failed to trust God. Our demands for our own lives and the circumstances happening around us become our main focus, consuming the majority of our thoughts. Because of this, it blinds us to how God is actually moving. We become like all those who missed the birth of Christ because we weren’t expecting a stable.

When we live out of expectation, we open ourselves up to disappointment, frustration, sadness, confusion, worry, stress, exhaustion from overworking, cynicism, fear, anger, the list goes on. Even worse, unmet expectations lead to resentment – resentment towards ourselves, others, and resentment towards God. We begin to see our Loving Father as the one who withheld or denied our happiness instead of the One who is working all things for our good.

Expectancy,

however, is having expectations but without definitions and without a timeline or demand of them being filled. It’s a perspective switch where we take all of our own plans and set them at the foot of the cross. This means we take our hopes and dreams, hold them open handedly, and choose to live with expectancy for what our Loving Father will do with them. Oh the joy and surprise that can come when we open our hands and let Him fill them!

Having a spirit of expectancy also creates space for the Lord to move, it creates space for miracles to happen, and it creates the space for us to co-create with Him. This means we can be active participants in seeing His will fulfilled in our lives as well as His Kingdom because we continually make the conscious choice to surrender our own demands. It becomes about His dreams, His plans, and His desires instead of our own. After all, He is the one who knows us best, and His plans are far better than anything we could ever come up with. When we are able to set aside expectations, we begin to train our hearts and minds to expect God to work His will in our lives instead of forcing ours into reality.

Continually seeking His will with expectancy allows us to notice how He’s guiding and directing us. If we can give Him control and trust that He knows what He’s doing, it relieves the stress, the fear, and the worry about tomorrow. It can even help heal and relieve the hurts of the past because we know He’ll redeem them for good if we let Him.

All we have to do is change our expectations into expectancy,

act on what He tells us to do,

and wait for something beautiful to grow.

“Keep your life so consistently in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of EXPECTANCY, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.” 

Oswald Chambers