“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”
What is an expectation? Well Google tells us it is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case”
Google tells me that there are more than 27 million hits for ‘managing parent expectations’ and I’m bombarded with invitations to attend seminars on that topic. Why would this be such a hot topic I wonder?
As I’ve wandered on yard duty it is not usual to have a tearful younger student come up to me seeking assistance. Perhaps they didn’t expect to fall over and graze their knee, or they didn’t expect the ball to hit them in the face or for their friend to choose someone else to play with that day.
Disappointment and expectation go hand in hand. This is natural – when something does not turn out as we expected, we are disappointed. These expectations can have grave ramifications. “I didn’t expect interest rates to rise so quickly’, “I didn’t expect to be diagnosed with a serious illness”, or a popular one I hear “I knew being a parent was going to be hard but I didn’t expect it to be this hard”
God doesn’t call us to a pessimistic life and to expect everything to go poorly. He also doesn’t call us to mindless optimism and assume that everything will always work out as the world is simply not like that.
God does call us to be a people of hope, to manage our expectations well and show resilience in the face of disappointment. It is easy to read these words. It is so much harder when we are faced with bitter disappointment as a result of having our expectations dashed.
God built us to live together and as our Bible reading for this week reminds us, he is there with us in all circumstances. When your expectations are not met, don’t stew alone. Seek others, talk through your disappointment, and take action to move through unmet expectations. That is what a community is there for. As I wrote to you last week regarding reports, communities look after each other and seek to get better at looking after each other.
The thing about God is that often unmet expectations are a blessing. Perhaps God knew that I would always be moving to a new school in 2017 and had me plan a holiday to Italy to provide rest after a busy eight months in this new role.
May God bless our community with the strength to deal well with disappointment, to never lose hope and always seek to support each other.