Sometimes people disappoint us. They fall short of our expectations. In these moments I am learning to examine my expectations first instead of looking to blame someone for falling short. Regularly checking my expectations has been teaching me so much. Ultimately, I want to love people better, I want to succeed at my job, and make a positive impact on this world and the people around me, to God’s glory. When my expectations are off I fail to see the bigger perspective, it narrows my vision and prevents me from doing any of the above things well.

Pv3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

Checking my expectations has helped me be more aware when I am being self-centered, judgmental or stubborn. These character shortcomings are part of who I am just as much as my passion, optimism, drive and love for people. My expectations expose where I am seeking validation and value. When I stop taking care of my relationship with God I stop focusing on what He thinks of me and instead make man my god.

Romans 1:22-23 (ESV) “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man…”

I recently learned that too often my definition of success is linked to others agreeing with my point of view. When this is how I define success I set myself up to fail every time. I fail to influence and I fail to learn. I limit my learning by thinking in “either/or” terms. I think I know the answer in these moments: my view is narrow.

This can look like seeing a comment on Facebook and jumping to all sorts of conclusions about the person who made it. It can look like feeling resistance in a meeting I’m leading and instead of taking a step back to ask why and be open to others input, I reach for control to convince people of my way to get to the end goal of the meeting. Ultimately, it’s not about accomplishing the goal of the meeting, but about how people feel walking out of the meeting and accomplishing a greater goal together. Getting a task done won’t have a lasting influence for God. How people feel after engaging with me will.

Hebrews 13:20 “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, […] equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory…”

My level of peace is a good indicator for me as to what my expectations are and who my reference is. When I take care of my relationship with God, I am more open and humble to not knowing. I am less apt to reach for control or produce my own results. I can trust that He equips me with all I need. I can focus on what God thinks of me and how to make Him proud, instead of focusing on what others think. When I focus on what others think I want to “get it right” the first time for fear of rejection. When I focus on what God thinks of me, I am willing to fail, listen, learn and try again. I am free to just be me. To be more gracious with myself and others. I can be confident in who I am even when I falls short of others exceptions. It also gives others permission to fall short of my expectations and know that I still love and accept them.

Romans 1:5 “through whom (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name.