Expectations – They come with the job

Dealing with Expectations


“So, do you know how to play the piano?”

“Are you planning to homeschool your children?”

“Why weren’t you at the church picnic on Saturday?”
“Will you be leading women’s Bible study?”

Questions that come from well-meaning people can feel overwhelming.  And questions always have hidden expectations.

How do we deal with all the expectations people have of us and our role in ministry?

I have found it hard at times to be forgiving.  Usually when I hear someone’s expectation of what I should be involved in, attending, or leading I get a little rebellious.  Deep inside I want to do the exact opposite of what is being suggested.

When we had our daughter, we were serving in our first church ministry.  I was a people pleaser.  I wanted my husband to be happy, our ministry to feel I was available, and a new baby to care for.  I tried so hard to be what they all wanted and needed.  I attended every service.  Every picnic.  Every day of VBS (toting my daughter in a Snuggly).  Every prayer meeting.  I kept up with it all.   I didn’t want anyone to have unmet expectations of me.

I was a mess.  Being tired from the demands of a little one, not giving my body time to rest, not mentally turning off, and trying to be everything to everyone was enough to make tears spill regularly.  And they did.

Expectations can make us batty.  Especially if you’re a people-pleaser.  But everyone can serve the Lord with joy and freedom (yeah, freedom!).  Here is the key….

Expect expectations.

Profound, but true.  I should have expected people’s pre-wired expectations of me.  If I had known that ministry came as a pre-labeled box, I would have found freedom faster by trying to peel those labels off and putting my quirky stickers back on, early on.

Expect it.  Everyone comes to the table with expectations of each other.  You and I do it all the time.  We do it to our husbands.  Our children do it to us.  We start a new job expecting our boss to build into us.  We go out with a girlfriend expecting to laugh and be known by them.

It is part of humanity.  We want unmet needs to be met.  And so, we expect.

When you expect that people will want certain things from you, you will be more forgiving.  You’ll be able to find the freedom to “break” those expectations in a grace-filled way.

Don’t forget in Psalm 139:14 we are told that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous even!    God knew what He was doing even if you don’t feel like you fit the mold.  Once people see your wonderful self, they will redefine their expectations for you.

But like anything good, it will take time.

Until then, expect the expectations and find freedom in your wonderfully made, marvelous self.


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