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Unmet Expectations

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

When I was a young mother, I strived to “train a child in the way he should go,” so that, “when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). A decade later, however, the expectations I’d had for my kids weren’t coming to fruition. Angry, I said to God, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be for my family! I did just like the Smith family, but I’m getting different results!

Like a child who doesn’t get her way, I threw a spiritual tantrum. I used my time and energy arguing with and battling against God. Then one day, in between my rantings, I took time to listen to what God seemed to be saying. “But, this is the way it is. What are you going to do with the way it really is?” I realized I had to quit fussing, embrace my present, and quit denying the reality that was before me. After all, it wasn’t helping me, my kids, or my marriage.

You see, because of my unmet expectations, I had been postponing doing anything to improve the situation. Since I didn’t like what was on my plate, I decided not to deal with the circumstances. The truth was that as long as I maintained that attitude—as long as I didn’t accept reality—no progress or change could take place.

Maybe you struggle with unmet expectations too. One of the most common areas of disappointment for women is in our marriages. It’s oftentimes difficult to face the less-than-desired reality in them. For most of us, our fantasies, expectations, and dreams about what marriage will be are usually different from the day-to-day realities of married life.

So, the questions that face our unmet expectations are:

What am I going to do about the way it is?
What solution or plan does God want me to pursue as a remedy?

You see, once we accept our reality, we can then use our time and energy to make it better. So, challenge yourself today to acknowledge unmet expectations. Then, accept what is real and commit to trust that God oversees and has overseen every detail of your life —your singleness, your marriage, your family, your job, your every circumstance. This will guide you to act on what is true and real (Philippians 4:8), rather than resent reality and idly wait for fantasies to magically materialize.


Dear Lord, with a heart full of faith and hope, and with You by my side, I will let go of unmet expectations. By Your great grace, I’ll trust that my circumstances are for my good and Your glory. And through Your strength, I’ll pursue wisdom to make needed changes. Amen.


You will find more about God’s wonderful character in Loving God with All Your Mind.


What action am I postponing by denying the reality of a specific circumstance in my life? When have I faced reality and positively changed the situation that was holding me back?


God oversees and has overseen every detail of your life —your singleness, your marriage, your family, your job, your every circumstance.

Read Unmet Expectations on Elizabeth & Jim George.

Jim and Elizabeth George

Jim and Elizabeth George are bestselling authors and national speakers dedicated to helping people live a life after God’s own heart. Together, they have written over 150 books with more than 14 million copies sold around the world. For over 35 years, the teachings and steadfast example of Elizabeth and Jim have helped countless men and women:

  • Simplify life by focusing on God’s priorities.
  • Appreciate God’s Word and apply it to everyday situations.
  • Respond to circumstances with confidence by seeing yourself through God’s loving eyes.
  • Increase closeness in marriage by serving and honoring each other.
  • Powerfully shape the hearts of children and teenagers.
  • Enjoy greater intimacy with God.

Learn more about Jim and Elizabeth George here.

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