What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3

I was told by a wise woman that the key to ruining a marriage is unmet expectations. I am not married, but I realized there is something very profound about that statement. In fact, we can conclude that the key to ruin any form of relationship is unmet expectations.

I was also told by other wise people in my life that if I have expectations, I must put it into words. Business trainings would always tell us that the most important step in building your network is to identify your expectations, other people’s expectations, and manage them accordingly. This is one advice that we can apply in every relationship that we have.

So what are my expectations? I’ve listed down my good expectations and why I think they are good. And my bad expectations, which I hope would be replaced by better narratives when the time is right, or when my heart is ready.

Of God

1. I expect Him to surprise me, because He is wiser and all-knowing and He can do it because He can.
2. I expect Him to work, with or without me doing anything, because He doesn’t need me to complete His work. He is already sufficient on His own. However, if He chooses to involve me, then I’m up for a great adventure.
3. I expect Him to talk to me, because we are in a relationship. It’s just a right expectation.
4. I expect Him to nudge me when I sin, because sin prevents me from having fellowship with Him. He hates sin, so I expect Him to tell me. I want to go back to point #3, because we are in a relationship, I expect Him to tell me what He doesn’t like.
5. I expect Him to deal with me as quickly as possible, because I don’t want to keep doing stupid things, and stray away. The longer it gets dealt with, the painful it becomes for us.
6. I expect that He will love me no matter what I do, even when I sin. Because His Word says He would. And I expect that He will help me worship Him with all that I am despite my mistakes.
7. I expect Him to understand me, but not necessarily say yes to all my demands. My prayers may come from wrong motives, but I need Him to hear my heart.
8. I expect that He would meet my emotional needs on His own accord, because He promised He will meet all my needs. I expect that if I don’t get it the way I want to get it, He will show me His ways, because His ways are better.
9. I expect that He would teach me how to relate to others, because I can become socially awkward, and I need Him to lead me how to love others. After all, it’s His expertise.
10. I expect that when I have wrong expectations, He would set me straight. He knows how demanding I can be, but He is still my Leader and my Boss, so I expect that He tells me when my demands are not good for me, and for us.

Of Myself

Good/Fair Expectations

1. I expect myself to desire personal improvement, because stagnating is just not an option.
2. I expect myself to do stupid things and lean on my own understanding because I do not always have the right tools, or the right heart.
3. However, I also expect that I will run to the Lord because I do not know any other way to live that will guarantee me peace.

Bad/Unfair Expectations

1. I expect that I can change quickly, but it is wrong, because I do not really dictate the timing of my transformation.
2. I expect that my emotions can quickly comply to the word of God, but it is wrong, because I am a woman, and I am emotional. I am not a machine to force myself into submission.
3. I expect that I will be able to discern what is good and bad from all information that enters my brain, but somehow, it is not possible, because most bad things start from good intention.
4. I expect that I become humble, but I may never get to a point of real humility because I have a body made of flesh. I may be humbled for a while, but my body will find reasons to be proud again. I want to be humble because this is the only way for me to view myself properly – as how God views me.
5. I expect that I will be able to protect myself from hurt, because it’s painful. But I will never know love if I do not know pain.

Of Others

Good/Fair Expectations

1. I expect them to surprise me, because people are just wonderfully unique, and have value to contribute to the table, no matter what their background is. I expect that I will be fascinated by how they think, they feel, they process things.
2. I expect that I will find what is beautiful about them, because they are made in the image and likeness of God.
3. I expect that there is a possibility that they could hurt me, because we have different values.
4. I expect the possibility that I could love them deeply, because they are made in the image and likeness of God.
5. I expect that they would tire me out and would drain me in some occasions, because they have emotional needs that would require that I get emptied.
6. I expect that they will exercise their right not communicate their expectations, and would leave me hurt to a degree, because keeping silent is their right.
7. I expect that the closer I get with them, I give them the right to hurt me.
8. I expect that it is the Lord who holds my relationship with them, because I cannot control them, even if I wish I could.
9. I expect that I would find someone who would be ok with me for who I am, and to have an honest relationship with him/her/them, because I am a human being that needs fellowship. However, it is the Lord who will provide for me, and I must not force them into giving me what I need. I must also consider what they need, and see if I could give them what they need, whether or not they will do the same for me.

Bad/Unfair Expectations

1. I expect them to either love me or hate me, nothing in between. I want to make a little dent in the lives of people that I encounter, but this may not always be possible. And this may come from wrong motives, like exalting myself.
2. I expect that they won’t mind if I decide to walk away from them. I was told that it is my divine right to choose my friends, and I expect them to be able to deal with it if we do fall away. But this may never be true for all friendships. So this is may not be an expectation, but what I really hope for.
3. I expect that somehow, they would find the Messiah, because I have Someone that I want to live the rest of eternity with, and He is awesome. I want them to know Him because I want them to experience His love.   Because I want it so much for them, it makes them feel that I cannot accept them for who they are.

So what about you? What are your expectations? 

— Thea Escalante is currently a volunteer in Israel serving in the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.  Her greatest desire is for women, including herself, to find their ultimate security in the Lord. You may follow her blog at http://theashiddenmanna.blogspot.co.il