Replacing Expectations with Hope
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Phil 1:6 NIV
In Origins, we encourage everyone to live out their faith by being interested in the people right in front of them, because we believe that God has called us to the people he has put in our lives – to be an example of God to them and to learn more about God through our interactions with them. Being interested in people requires us to love, and love requires us to maintain a posture of hope. But we can easily become disinterested in people and even shun them if we allow our hopes to become expectations.
Expectations are good within the bounds of a covenant – where two or more parties have agreed on what they will bring to the relationship. But for the vast majority of interactions we will have in a day there are no preset agreements, and this is why we must hope instead of expect.
It’s an important distinction. One becomes disappointed when certain outcomes aren’t realized, the other believes beyond all belief that the best is yet to come. Expectations create enemies, hope creates allies. One subtly communicates, “I’m watching you,” the other reaffirms that “I’m rooting for you.”
When we apply expectations to relationships where no covenant exists, ultimately, we’re applying judgement. Expectations happen when we decide what God should be doing in and through someone’s life. But through hope we eagerly anticipate seeing what God has in mind for someone.
This week, practice a rhythm of replacing your expectations of others with hope.
When someone doesn’t act the way you’ve anticipated, release it do God in prayer. Thank God for their life, pray for God’s best in their life instead of specific outcomes. Ask God to show you how to encourage and come alongside what he’s doing in their life.