The next two months, expectations​, and You

Nov 7, 2019 | 0 comments

One of the skills you need to build (and revisit and revisit and revisit) is the ability to manage your expectations.

One of the books that was seminal in forming my thinking on expectations is Expectations And Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission by Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss. About 5-10% of it is specific to women, which means, 90% is applicable to all.

They look at six areas you have expectations:

  • yourself and your roles
  • your host culture
  • your sending organization
  • your sending church(es)
  • your co-workers
  • God
  • and when God doesn’t meet your expectations

Everyone has expectations. The way every single person forms expectations is that you are influenced by significant people around you. You either take on an expectation or discard it.

(For instance, in my twenties I wrote a life goal list that included “run a marathon” because it sounded like a great life goal. Then I actually ran. A little. I hated it. It took about ten years before I was able to discard that expectation I had of myself and my life; I will enter heaven without having run a marathon and that’s okay!)

As you go through this process you form an “ego ideal” which is “the combination about your highest expectations and beliefs about what you can accomplish and who you are. This then becomes your judge, your standard, when you are evaluating your performances.”

So, having expectations is good and a sign of psychological health. But like me, you might bump up against, slam into, or stumble over expectations that are not what God has for you right now (or ever).

With November upon you, you are turning towards a full ministry season. What are you hoping to accomplish in the next two months?

Take a moment and think through

  • What outreach or discipleship activities you will do
  • What your job (including you homemakers and homeschoolers) needs to accomplish before January 1st
  • What you need to do for supporters, your team, and your organization
  • Who you want to be during this season

Take another moment and go back over your list, asking the Holy Spirit to show you where your “ego ideal” might not be the “ego ideal” that God has for you. God is not opposed to hard work, hard seasons, or hard decisions.

But check that you are in line with what God has for you and not some ideal you have that has been informed by biographies you read as a kid, social media posts you see from workers in your organization, or even what your teammate does.

Living a life that allows God to form and change your expectations may lead to a less ideal version of yourself. Can I tell you how much I wish I was the kind of person who ran marathons, spoke Chinese better than I do, or was an ideal teammate? I’m none of those things, yet I am still in line with what God is asking of me.

This month’s workshop helps you avoid priority pitfalls. It is intentional that we are talking about expectations and priorities at this time of the year because they are related. The enemy of your soul wants you to be busy with the “wrong things.”

Your “wrong things” may not look wrong on the surface, but they are not what God has for you.

Growing in managing your expectations is a skill that will breathe life far beyond the two months until the end of the year. Which of the six areas of expectations do you need to examine more closely this week?

Are you like the apostle Paul? Knowing what your priorities should be, but then “not doing the good I want to do?” Eric and Rachel Dufour, equip you to stay the course. Filled with theological and practical tips, you can avoid priority pitfalls. Start avoiding these priority pitfalls now.

Photo by 五玄土 ORIENTO on Unsplash

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.




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