“In each box, there should be a sentence along with an illustration.” – Ms. Abraham.
Those were my famous last words before I ended up with 10 papers that were done correctly and 9… well, you know. Some had illustrations while others had sentences. Consistency was definitely lacking. And it all boiled down to one common denominator: the famous last words of Ms. Abraham. I had simply explained instructions verbally without providing a visual aid in hopes that my second graders would magically get it. Consequently, the race to erase their mistakes began. I had neglected to state my expectations clearly. I made sure they knew some of them, but I didn’t give them enough to where they had everything they needed to meet the expectations of the assignment.
I think about that and its relationship between human beings. How many times have we not met a certain expectation or been hurt by an unspoken expectation? Chances are, there was a lack of communication about what was expected. Or, the individual simply didn’t meet the expectation. (grace grace grace). Whatever the case may be, I’ve seen myself having conversations with God and others surrounding this idea.
Lately, it seems that the word expectations has been rearing its head and shoving its face in my face. I’ll be honest. It hasn’t been pretty. In fact, it’s been difficult, but it’s been life-giving. At the end of the day, God is using the concept of expectations to refine me. (YAY!)
Over the past few years, I have developed a practice of identifying the root issue of why I’m upset/angry with someone/something. More often than not, it boils down to expectations not being met either from my end or the other party. (I’m such a teacher! ;)) It’s why I make a scene when a child is mean to another student because it clearly says on Rule #1: Be kind! It’s because expectations weren’t met.
Now, if we think about God and His expectations, I believe it’s clearly laid out for us as illustrated in Luke 10:25-27
One day, an expert in religious law, stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” – New Living Translation
Two expectations can be identified. Love the Lord your God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself. This is what is expected of us. (More on this coming to a post soon!)
You know that thing we do? The thing when we get upset at someone and it’s really our fault because we haven’t communicated our expectations? That thing. God doesn’t do that. He has declared his expectations clearly.
In the same way, in our relationships, I think it’s extremely critical to express expectations. This extinguishes the possibility of assumptions and a lot of unnecessary pain. Instead, it opens up an avenue for conversations to be held and a common understanding to be achieved. So, what do you say? Let’s set, meet, and exceed expectations. But most importantly, let’s communicate.