Responding with Righteousness to Unmet Expectations

Expectations

Responding with Righteousness to Unmet Expectations

February 13, 2020

Recently, my husband asked me to clarify my expectations for Valentine’s Day. 

Expectations can be tricky. We learned early in our marriage how unmet expectations lead to frustration. Every. Single. Time. 

Married couples do not corner the market on unmet expectations. These types of frustration play out in a myriad of scenarios across a variety of settings. In my experience, the expectations we have of others often spring from two sources: preconceived notions and patterns of behavior. 

Before we married, my husband held a reputation for being a neat freak. So I assumed he shared my same aversion to clutter. Not so. 

Soon after our wedding, I became easily frustrated as an accumulation of shoes, jackets, mail, etc. filled our living space. In exasperation, I appealed to the couple who mentored us in our marriage. They responded by asking a simple question:

“Mark, you were known as the king of clean, what happened?”

Without batting an eye, my husband responded, “I married Shirley. She can take care of all that now.”

We laugh about it now, but that night immediately erupted into a fiery and emotional conversation. Clearly our preconceived notions clashed!

A few years ago, I worked with a team of professionals. My tasks included creating worksheets for recording information. Every Tuesday, we met to discuss data and plan our next steps.

Although we never set a deadline for the worksheets, I began completing them before leaving for the weekend. But after one incredibly busy week, I decided to come in early on Monday instead. I honestly never thought the delay would cause a problem. Especially since we wouldn’t discuss the data until Tuesday. Big mistake.

Monday, I walked into a hailstorm. Angry, frustrated teammates met me with cold stares and accusatory remarks.  

My habit of creating the worksheets on Friday had become an expectation. Because of their heavy workload on Mondays, the other members of the team preferred entering their data over the weekend. Without realizing it, I violated an implied contract. 

Again, the conversation that Monday became heated and passionate. Only after we clarified our expectations could we continue working together in harmony.

When we fail to clearly communicate our expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Frustration quickly ignites anger, causing conflict and quarrels.

Fortunately, Jesus teaches us a better way to respond to unmet expectations:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

Where I work, we adopted the motto of “Presume Positive Intentions”. I honestly never meant to frustrate my coworkers, just as my husband never meant to frustrate me. When we extend each other the benefit of the doubt, we can open the lines of communication, clarify our expectations and avoid feeding our frustration. 

James put it this way:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20 NIV)

Recently, my unvoiced expectations of a loved one caused me to leap to false conclusions. Living this verse in reverse, I became quick to anger, quick to speak, and slow to listen. Instead of righteousness, my actions yielded deep regret.

I know if I follow the teachings of Jesus and James, I will have harmony with the people I love. But sometimes I forget and follow old patterns of behavior. My prayer going forward is simply this:

Help me listen before I leap.

As I continue along my journey, I pray to presume positive intentions of those the Lord places in my path. Wherever you are in your travels, I pray the same for you.

Responding with Righteousness to Unmet Expectations

February 13, 2020

Expectations

Recently, my husband asked me to clarify my expectations for Valentine’s Day. 

Expectations can be tricky. We learned early in our marriage how unmet expectations lead to frustration. Every. Single. Time. 

Married couples do not corner the market on unmet expectations. These types of frustration play out in a myriad of scenarios across a variety of settings. In my experience, the expectations we have of others often spring from two sources: preconceived notions and patterns of behavior. 

Before we married, my husband held a reputation for being a neat freak. So I assumed he shared my same aversion to clutter. Not so. 

Soon after our wedding, I became easily frustrated as an accumulation of shoes, jackets, mail, etc. filled our living space. In exasperation, I appealed to the couple who mentored us in our marriage. They responded by asking a simple question:

“Mark, you were known as the king of clean, what happened?”

Without batting an eye, my husband responded, “I married Shirley. She can take care of all that now.”

We laugh about it now, but that night immediately erupted into a fiery and emotional conversation. Clearly our preconceived notions clashed!

A few years ago, I worked with a team of professionals. My tasks included creating worksheets for recording information. Every Tuesday, we met to discuss data and plan our next steps.

Although we never set a deadline for the worksheets, I began completing them before leaving for the weekend. But after one incredibly busy week, I decided to come in early on Monday instead. I honestly never thought the delay would cause a problem. Especially since we wouldn’t discuss the data until Tuesday. Big mistake.

Monday, I walked into a hailstorm. Angry, frustrated teammates met me with cold stares and accusatory remarks.  

My habit of creating the worksheets on Friday had become an expectation. Because of their heavy workload on Mondays, the other members of the team preferred entering their data over the weekend. Without realizing it, I violated an implied contract. 

Again, the conversation that Monday became heated and passionate. Only after we clarified our expectations could we continue working together in harmony.

When we fail to clearly communicate our expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Frustration quickly ignites anger, causing conflict and quarrels.

Fortunately, Jesus teaches us a better way to respond to unmet expectations:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

Where I work, we adopted the motto of “Presume Positive Intentions”. I honestly never meant to frustrate my coworkers, just as my husband never meant to frustrate me. When we extend each other the benefit of the doubt, we can open the lines of communication, clarify our expectations and avoid feeding our frustration. 

James put it this way:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20 NIV)

Recently, my unvoiced expectations of a loved one caused me to leap to false conclusions. Living this verse in reverse, I became quick to anger, quick to speak, and slow to listen. Instead of righteousness, my actions yielded deep regret.

I know if I follow the teachings of Jesus and James, I will have harmony with the people I love. But sometimes I forget and follow old patterns of behavior. My prayer going forward is simply this:

Help me listen before I leap.

As I continue along my journey, I pray to presume positive intentions of those the Lord places in my path. Wherever you are in your travels, I pray the same for you.

2 Comments

  1. Denise Heidel on February 17, 2020 at 11:47 AM

    I needed this! Thank you so much for your words of wisdom!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 17, 2020 at 12:46 PM

      Thank you Denise! I needed it too!💕

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