Expectations vs. Reality

Does life really wait for us?

I mean, really, does it?

I always catch myself thinking or saying things like, “Man, I wish life would slow down,” or, “I wish I could just catch up to what life’s got going on,” or, “Where did the time go?” or, “I just need some time to get back in my groove again.”

Ya know?

Why doesn’t life take into consideration what we want?

I didn’t want to be slowed down by Lyme Disease. I didn’t want to move to Georgia so soon. I wish senior year hadn’t gone by so fast. I wish I didn’t blink so often. I needed more time with that certain person. I needed a few more months with who I used to be. Where in the heck did my life go? Wasn’t I just a 12-year-old girl, playing soccer 24/7, running around with my friends and stressing out about my very first ‘final exam’?

Seriously. Life goes by way, way, WAY too fast.

Do we ever really, truly feel caught up?

I don’t necessarily think life is always fair. And I think a lot of people would agree with that statement. I’m talking about the general picture of life. For instance, the moments when someone gets ripped out of your life for no reason and you feel like you didn’t get to get all of your words in with them; or when your family decides that they’re moving to a new city/state/country and you’ve got no clue of when you’ll see your best friend again; or when you get diagnosed with a crazy disease that is highly misunderstood and you feel like you’re fighting all alone. The unfairness in your life may be drastically different or it may be scary similar, but it’s still unfair, and you still feel cheated or let down.

But by what? What made you feel let down? Why is something considered unfair?

It’s the simple concept of expectations. And seriously, I mean simple.

– A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

We believe that things are supposed to happen a certain way, in a certain order, with certain people, in certain places. We have narrow-minded minds. We are slaves to the word expectation. When an expectation is not fulfilled, we get upset. When an expectation is not met, we feel let down. When an expectation is not clearly articulate, we feel cheated. When an expectation becomes reality, we often feel the reality is unfair.

We feel that things in life, or life itself is unfair because we have expectations that are, more often than not, unrealistic.

We make assumptions that life will go right down the path that we fantasize about. (Funny thing, that’s why the word fantasy is often used when talking about fiction stories and unrealistic possibilities.) We have this crazy idea that whatever we think will happen, will always actually happen. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE!! We don’t have as much control as we think.

Our expectations often leave us feeling behind, lost, upset, frustrated, etc.

We need to realize that expectations are simply unrealistic. We do not have control of the outcome or our lives. We can work hard and we can devote time and energy to a goal, but in the end the only power that has control over the outcomes of our expectations is God.

Sometimes our expectations match up with God’s plan, and hallelujah for that! But often our expectations are skewed and crooked compared to what God’s intentions are, and praise the Lord for that! It’s time we all listen to what the Big Man upstairs has to say, because we aren’t doing any good for ourselves sitting in the basement with the blinds shut, wrapped in blankets, watching the same movie, ‘Expectations Turned Bad’ on repeat.


We don’t always have the courage to surrender our lives to God, and that’s not necessarily what I am saying you should do. What I am saying is ask God for a little bit of help, every day. (Not a lot of help, a couple of times a year.) With a small prayer of blessing, thanksgiving and guidance, everyday, those expectations will slowly diminish. That expectation will become a full-fledged faithfulness in God.

When we throw away those expectations of life, we begin to see life a little clearer, we start to realize that life doesn’t move as fast as we’d thought. When we let go of those unrealistic assumptions of our future,  we finally notice the neighbor who struggles to pull their garbage can back to their garage, or the person at the grocery store who is having some trouble getting the can from the top shelf, and maybe we won’t be so self-centered that we’ll lend an extra hand every now and then.

Once we wipe those unrealistic expectations from our sight, we begin to see how fair life can be. When we pray just a little every day, we gain the confidence to let go of some of those things that have been slowing us down.

I realized, very quickly, that my expectations for my life were not at all what God had planned. I knew that I needed to give up something in my life, but I couldn’t pin point what. I was (and still am) sick, alone, and felt helpless. I kept giving myself goals, thinking about all of my personal expectations, trying to do more than I could physically and mentally handle. And every time, I was let down. I failed myself more times than not. And finally, finally I saw that the thing God was telling me to give up was the thing that I thought was motivating me. That thing? Expectations. I gave up expectations and I let God guide me. I am still trying to figure out what this whole gap year is supposed to be, besides a year to get healthy and strong. I know that God intends for me to do something with this year and for now, I will just listen. I set down all expectations for tomorrow, for next month and the rest of my life. I pick up God’s word and I listen. I release all expectations for this gap year. I grab God’s grace and guidance. I have many goals, and it’s good to have goals; I see goals as ideas that can be attained by trying, and whether or not I reach that goal in the way I thought, or I reach that goal taking ten different turns, that’s up to God. Expectations are bound to the idea that we have of fulfillment in one way. Expectations are often seen with closed minds and don’t always take into consideration of the reality of life, and God’s plan.


Life will wait for us. Life will be as slow or as fast as we want it to be. We just have to learn to relax. Being let down is inevitable, that’s a part of life. It’s how we deal with being let down that matters. How resilient will you be when something doesn’t go your way. Will you listen to God and take into consideration what he’s telling you? Or will you continue to be angry at the reality of a situation?

Catching up with a friend is great and lots of fun, but remember that life doesn’t go as fast as you think. Just let go of that expectation and open your eyes to the beautiful, courageous world around you. Be brave in your next step and trust that God will take you gracefully in his arms.

The only expectation that we should have is the expectation that God will handle our hearts and lives with care and direction, despite what negative temptations and expectations we have.

Elise Hendrickson

P.S. Expectations for specific things are OKAY! Don’t get me wrong. To have an expectation for yourself for a certain performance or test is good! That proves to yourself that you have standards and that you want to be the best you can be. Just remember to keep an open mind for the reality of that expectation. Don’t be too hard on yourself when the reality of the expectation isn’t what you had anticipated.

“She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”

*This is simply what I think is best and what I’ve come to realize over the past couple years. I am young and may not be very experienced, but I think I’ve been disappointed and let down enough times to know that enough is enough.


Credit: Bible verse pictures are made by me and the photos are mine.


2 thoughts on “Expectations vs. Reality

  1. Elise, your writings reveal what a thoughtful, kind and gifted person you are. I’m thinking that the introspection and search for answers could well be therapeutic and life enriching for you. I hope so. Perhaps in the days when your bout with Lyme disease has passed–it’s affect on your daily life of less consequences, you will be able to turn your ‘Blog writings’ into a book. (survival of the spirit and the return of health). Your writings are an inspiration! May each day bring you an awareness that you are making progress in a journey toward becoming a healthy person with renewed strength and vitality. God bless you.
    Joan Smiley, your Aunt mari’s friend..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written and this is not just a biased opinion. You’ve put an oft thought of idea into words. Those of us who have suffered life changing experiences relate to the need for a change in our expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s