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Unmet Expectations

“Unmet expectations breed frustrations.”

Lysa Terkeurst

Have you ever had expectations which were unmet? I have discovered the higher my expectations are, the greater the fall from disappointments. It’s almost impossible NOT to have any expectations and often we’re unaware of them. I try to hold my expectations loosely, so my disappointment is less. Naaman who was leprous and a commander of the army of the king of Aram, was no different than me. He too had unmet expectations as we read in 2 Kings 5:1-15.

Naaman thought: 

  1. the prophet Elisha would surely come out to him, not just send a messenger telling him what to do to be healed.

  2. Elisha would stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God.

  3. Elisha would wave his hands over the place and cure his leprosy.

  4.  the rivers in Damascus were better than all the waters in Israel.

Naaman’s unmet expectations, “It’s not supposed to be this way or look like this,” resulted in anger. My presumption that our latter years of work “should” be easier set me up to have a victim mentality and I almost missed how God wanted to provide. Because Naaman was a great man, highly regarded, and a valiant soldier, he thought he deserved a better response. His pride + Unmet expectations = Anger.

If it wasn’t for Naaman’s servants entreating him to do what Elisha asked him to do (“Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan”), Naaman would have missed out on his healing. When Naaman humbled himself and obeyed Elisha, “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14). Besides physical healing, Naaman was restored emotionally. Gone was the shame and loneliness which came from the stigma of being a leper.

Please don’t allow your pride or presumption, nor your expectations about how something was supposed to look like cause you to not only become angry but also delay or completely hinder your blessing from God. Instead, humbly release your expectations from what you think they should be in order to receive what God wants to give you.

“Unmet expectations in life cause us to be ungrateful.”

Diane Shirlaw-Ferreira

Relevant Reflections:

  1. How do you handle unmet expectations? What can you do differently?

  2. Describe a time when your pride + unmet expectations hindered you from receiving a blessing from God.

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