How important are expectations? I used to believe that they were a necessity. How can any relationship exist with no expectations? Even the church taught me to “come expecting”. It seemed that more often than not my expectations were NOT met, and I was left feeling disappointed. Sometimes I was left to feel unloved, unworthy, and alone.
A beautiful friend once said to me, “Samantha, you can’t have expectations!” I labeled that friend as irresponsible and selfish. What I didn’t see at that point in my life was that I was the one being irresponsible and selfish. I was setting rules of what a relationship with me requires. I had the belief that meeting my expectations would prove that I was loved. If my expectations were not met, I believed that I was defected and unworthy of love.
I previously abided in this dangerous thought process, and for far too long. What made me turn off my ignorance and tune in to the truth of expectation? A book, of course. This one, The Shack, opened my eyes to see a divine view of the role of expectations in ANY relationship. My friend, it seems, wasn’t so far off. I on the other hand, am thankful for growth and maturity in my walk once again.
I removed “Mack” from the pages of the book, and placed myself in his role. I was learning, with wisdom from the Trinity, what a relationship with no hierarchy looks like. I was discovering what it meant to exist in a relationship with another soul and have an expectancy without having expectations.
“Samantha, (my name is not actually in the book, I am only standing in Mack’s position spiritually ;p) if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that ‘expectancy’ to an ‘expectation’-spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend.” (205, Young)
It’s so easy to expect, we’ve been bred to do so. A boss expects his salesman to make the deal. A wife expects her husband to remember her birthday. A husband expects his wife to reserve energy for their “bedtime”. A mother expects her children to behave appropriately. The majority of the time our expectations are considerably unreasonable, yet we still expect them to be met.
I remember taking Deegan and Caleb to my first ballet. I expected them to sit in an auditorium chair still and quiet. I expected them not to disrupt the attention of our neighbors. Did I mention that Deegan and Caleb are 4 and 2-year-old boys? Let’s just say my expectations were not met. They really did do a fantastic job at that show none the less. They are incredibly behaved boys. I am very proud.
Setting up expectations, rules or laws, robs a relationship of innocence, freedom, and a judgment free zone. There is no innocence in control. When we set expectations, we are ultimately setting controls to ensure we get the things we want. I have no freedom in a relationship that expects me to act according to preconceived guidelines. I will continuously be acting to ones demands, and wondering if I am fulfilling my role. And how easy is it to judge the validity of a relationship when failed expectations exist?! “Well, he didn’t even remember it was my birthday, I guess he doesn’t love me after all. I’m not worth his efforts.”
I am encouraging, if only myself, expectations be left out of all relationships. I am encouraging that all hierarchies in relationships be abolished. I am encouraging relationships that invite a free love. I am encouraging that we see one another as EQUALS! We are ALL children, wrapped up in forgiveness and grace. We are clothed in relationship, with the greatest example, of LOVE. It’s a love that has no expectations, only an expectancy to just be. I can be ME, Samantha Grace. I AM loved, unconditionally. There are no expectations of me, but an expectancy of my very being. How wonderfully freeing.