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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Expectations
By Joy Bach


EXPECTATIONS. We all have them.

By definition, expectations are just that, something expected. It is not written in stone that expectations will be fulfilled or indeed that one has any right they should be.

I found a list of relationship expectations.

• That the right man/woman will fix my life
• For women – that he will call all the shots and make all the money
• For men – that she will naturally be better at domestic chores
• For men – that she will also be less capable at everything else
• That if it’s true love, he/she will know what I want without me having to ask
• That the relationship will always remain the same


The media is full right now of talk about shows dealing with body makeovers. The contestants have HUGE expectations that are unrealistic and unhealthy about what the results will be. Of concern is the young impressionable audience watching these shows who are already self-conscious about their body image. If they buy into these expectations, they may be setting themselves up for a lifetime of unmet expectations and failure.

Your idea of what a “good mother” should be has likely been built up to such an unrealistic level by magazine articles and advice books that you may exhaust yourself trying. That may leave you with little tolerance for the many minor problems that naturally arise. What happens to the joy of being a parent?


What about Christians? What can we expect from God’s people? We all have a set of expectations for our church. Many of us simply expect that the church will always be like Jesus. Are those expectations reasonable, much less Biblical? My church did a study in the book of Acts for 40 days. Acts is full of conflict, complaints, dissension, factions and unmet expectations.

I learned years ago, that a church is full of people who are going to act like people. They may disappoint us, hurt us and tick us off. No church will mesh perfectly with our ideal of what the church is supposed to be. The ideal church is only in our head.

There is only one Person who can meet ALL expectations. So we might as well learn how to get along in the only church we have here on earth.

Clearly, ALL expectations cannot be met. What happens then?

Reactions to unmet expectations run the gamut from disappointment to murder. Unmet expectations may lead to an unhealthy anger. We are the only ones who can deal with our own unmet expectations.

Perhaps we may need to permanently let go of them. We may feel a sense of loss at giving up an ideal we have held for many years. Sometimes we can find an alternative to meet our expectations. When I first wanted to lose weight, I needed to lose 100 pounds. It would have been very unrealistic of me to expect to lose that much weight in three months. When I altered my expectations to lose it over the period of two years, I was able to meet my expectations.

Expectations usually come from a deep yearning we have. You may need acceptance. Your expectation is that you receive that acceptance from one specific person. However, you may need to realize that you can receive acceptance from someone else.

Due to my mother’s unrealistic expectations of me, I had no childhood. Due to my expectations of what “mother” meant, I never felt accepted by her. In my first marriage, my efforts to attain my husband’s unrealistic expectations of me damaged my health to the point of hospitalization. I became unhealthy because I was striving for acceptance by him. It took me several years to analyze and reject unwanted expectations for me and for others by me.

I urge you to take a look at YOUR expectations. Are they causing a problem in your life? Now is the time to deal with them, before your unrealistic expectations lead you to years of illnesses, dysfunction or even death. Expending your energy on unrealistic expectations only leads to disappointment and imbalance in your life.

My life would have been so very different if I had only understood the ramifications for my future due to the expectations placed on me from others. That understanding would have allowed me to focus my energy on my own personal growth; thereby enabling me to become an encouragement to others.


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This article has been read 841 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/10/08
Wow, this leaves much to think about. I could hear the passion and conviction in your voice.
Sara Harricharan 01/11/08
This is really great. Makes the reader (and me!) think long and hard about some things. I liked the format in which it was presented. Good job with this. Thanks for sharing. ^_^
Joanne Sher 01/12/08
What a lesson to learn. A very informative, encouraging and convicting read.
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
We are trapped by so many expectations in our society. Your message is good. I hope you were able to make your weight loss goal. You show a lot of wisdom in setting the long range goal (the little by little "stitch in time" goal). Thanks for writing this.