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How to Manage Our Expectations in Life

What does it mean to have “realistic expectations” in life? Find out why we should rely on God when our plans fail and are faced with problems instead.


Brother Mark Vasquez: We all have expectations in life that certain things will happen. Our expectations have potential to give us so much hope and the feeling of excitement, especially if there’s something we’re looking forward to? But does reality always meet our expectations? Let’s take a look at the experiences of some people. 

[Video starts]

Brother Mark: In your personal experiences, has reality always met expectations? 

Interviewee #1: I’d probably say no. It’s just, like, reality has a funny way of always coming out a different way than you expect. So, your expectations sometimes, they’re super duper high, especially when you’re excited about something. And whether it turns out really great or not, there’s always that wish that it was perfect and I don’t think anything can ever be perfect. So, I don’t think that any expectations are ever truly met. 

Interviewee #2: Yeah, I feel like, I generally not try not to expect too much out of anything, so that I’m not disappointed

Interviewee #3: No, I think we just kind of expect too much and kind of idealize things in our heads a lot, and it’s usually a letdown. 

Interviewee #4: Not necessarily, but I think that reality, in some ways, sort of affects your expectations so you’re like, “Okay, didn’t quite get it, so I can be more realistic in setting my expectations for next time, so I’m not disappointed.”

Brother Mark: Our expectations are powerful enough to thrill us for what’s going to happen in the future. Sometimes, though, our expectations can lead us to disappointment because our reality didn’t meet expectations. What do you think are unrealistic expectations? 

Brother Mark: What do you think is an unrealistic expectation? 

Interviewee #5: An unrealistic expectation I would say if I—for example groups, classes, when you have groups you expect someone to get all their work done but sometimes you have to pick up on them, on the slack, so that’s an expectation that usually isn’t met for me. 

Brother Mark: So, would you agree that an unrealistic expectation is that you can rely on everyone? 

Interviewee #5: Yes, you can’t really rely on everyone. I believe, give them the benefit of the doubt but be prepared to be disappointed. 

Interviewee #4: I think that an unrealistic expectation would be to essentially always going through your life being happy, I guess. There are always disappointments and, I think, a part of being smart and setting your expectations is realizing that disappointment is a factor that can play into it. 

Interviewee #2: Yeah, believing that everything is always going to be okay. I think that, that can be an unrealistic expectation, like, it’s okay for things to — for you to be sad if you’d be disappointed or for you to feel any range of emotion. I think that our society, a lot of the time, just sort of glorifies the, “Everything’s okay! We’re all good, all the time!” and, or sometimes not allowed to feel other things, except for good and okay. So, I think that that can be an unrealistic expectation. 

Interviewee #1: Probably, say, just like the whole concept of having like this perfect ideal life, like, getting the job you want right away, settling down right away, like, meeting the perfect person. It’s just like—everyone has this dream goal in life and they kind of, I think, the thing that people want us to get there without any bumps in the road. But I think everyone’s gonna have to face a lot of obstacles to be able to get there. 

[Video ends]

Brother Mark: Like we heard from people who have various experiences in their own lives, there are definitely unrealistic expectations that we should avoid. To avoid this, we have to make sure that our expectations are realistic, so we can face the future properly. What is one thing we can expect to encounter in our life, that should not surprise us? Let’s begin our Bible reading in Job. We’ll read 5. We’ll read verses 7 and 8: 

People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. If I were you, I would go to God and present my case to him. 

[Job 5:7-8 New Living Translation]

Brother Mark: What is one thing we can expect to face in life? Trouble. The Bible reminds us that people are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. It would be unrealistic to think that life is problem free and that we won’t face any troubles. We will have to go through them.

This does not mean that we should expect life would be a complete disaster. Did you notice, though, what we should do if we experienced trouble? A servant of God said, “If I were you, I would go to God and present my case to him.” Why is it only proper for us to go to God if we face problems? What does God expect from us, when we have troubles in life? We’ll read that in Psalms 91:14 and we’ll also read verse 15.

The Lord says, “If a person trusts me, I will save him. I will protect my followers who worship my name. My followers will call to me for help, and I will answer them. I will be with them when they have trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. 

[Psalms 91:14-15 Easy-To-Read Version]

Brother Mark: What does God expect from us when we have trouble in life? We just read what God declared. He said, “My followers will call to me for help.” What did God say His followers can expect if they call to Him for help? He said, “I will answer them. If a person trusts me, I will save him.” It’s true that we need to expect trouble at some time in our life. But in those moments, God expects us to go to Him for help, we can expect Him to save us from whatever trouble we might be experiencing.

How reliable is this promise of God? When can we expect God to save us from trouble that we’re experiencing? We’ll read that in Job. We’ll read 5 and the verse is 19. This is what it says:

Time after time, he will save you from harm; 

[Job 5:19 Good News Bible]

Brother Mark: When can we expect God to save us? The Bible told us, “Time after time, He will save you from harm.” Is there any trouble too big that would hinder God or prevent Him from saving us? Let’s keep reading in Job 5. This time we’ll read 19 and verse 20. It says this: 

From one disaster after another, he delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you — “In famine, he’ll keep you from starving, in war, from being gutted by the sword.

[Job 5:19-20 The Message]

Brother Mark: Is there any trouble that would stop God from saving us? No. God told us from one disaster after another, He delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you. Isn’t this a wonderful expectation that we all want to come true or become a reality in our life? When we encounter trouble—because we will—don’t we want God to save us from all of it? What do we need to do, so we can expect this in our life that God will always save us from our trouble? Let’s read in I Samuel, we’ll read 12:14: 

All will go well with you if you honor the Lord your God, serve him, listen to him, and obey his commands, and if you and your king follow him.

[1 Samuel 12:14 Good News Bible]

Brother Mark: What do we need to do, so we can expect God’s help in our life? We should honor, serve, listen and obey the Lord God. We can expect that all will go well with us, if we honor and obey God. God is not only expecting us to go to him for help. The Almighty God is also expecting us to be followers of His commandments, so that we can expect his help.

The one who listens to God can expect God to help. But what should the one who doesn’t listen expect? We’ll go back to the Bible here in I Samuel, we’ll read 12 and the verse is 15:

But if you do not listen to the Lord but disobey his commands, he will be against you and your king.

[I Samuel 12:15 Good News Bible]

Brother Mark: What should one expect if he or she does not listen to God?

The ones who don’t listen to God or the ones who disobey Him should expect that God would be against them. Would someone be able to have a peaceful life if God is against him or her? No, there is no happy future for an enemy of God because He is not with his enemies. What will happen to those who no longer have God with them? We’ll read that in Deuteronomy. We’ll read 31:17. This is what is written:

And in that day, I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’

[Deuteronomy 31:17 New International Version]

Brother Mark: What will happen to the ones who no longer have God with them? The Bible said that many disasters and calamities will come on them. That’s what happens if God’s people fail his expectations. I’m sure that none of us want God to be our enemy. It’s not a pleasant expectation but that’s what those who disobey can expect. If there’s any one of us who didn’t meet the kind of expectations that God has for us, is it too late? What should those who may not have obeyed in the past do, so they can expect for God’s help and not His punishment? We’ll read in Jeremiah 26:3:

Perhaps the people will listen and give up their evil ways. If they do, then I will change my mind about the destruction I plan to bring on them for all their wicked deeds.

[Jeremiah 26:3 Good News Bible]

Brother Mark: What should we do so we can experience God’s kindness and not his punishment? Let’s listen to God and give up all evil ways. What can we expect from God if we give up all evil ways? God would no longer destroy us for wicked deeds. Who are the ones that can expect help from the Lord God? We’ll read in I Samuel,12:22 and 24: 

The Lord has made a solemn promise, and he will not abandon you, for he has decided to make you his own people. 

Obey the Lord and serve you faithfully, with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.

[I Samuel 12:22 & 24 Good News Bible]

Brother Mark: Who are the ones that can expect help from God? The Bible made it clear. He will not abandon you for He has decided to make you His own people. The people who belong to God are the ones who will never be abandoned. Who are the people that belong to God? Members of the Church Of Christ

Ask ourselves, “What are our expectations for the future?” Do we expect God to always be with us? For us to be able to expect for God to be with us and help us, whenever we encounter troubles or problems, we need to meet the expectations that He has. We should always obey God and call to Him when we need help.

No matter how severe the trouble might be, no matter how often we encounter difficulties, God will always be available to give us the solutionif we follow Him.

Thank you for joining us. We’ll see you next time.

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How to Manage Our Expectations in Life