The Far-Too Traveled Emotional Road of Expectation

picmonkey_imageIt was a tough year—for the Detroit Tigers. The Major League baseball team started out with high hopes. Great expectations! Such potential! Perhaps a World Series title?! Certainly a Division crown and post-season playoff spot?  Nope. Not this year.

What started in April as a promising season quickly became a major disappointment. Our expectations as fans were high. The results? Not so much.

I have come to a conclusion. A simple one—based on consistency.

“The expectations I put on people, places, events, or desired outcomes seldom line up with the actual results.”

Time and time again it’s proven true – although I am not sure why I continue to test the premise. There are moments when I’m pleasantly surprised when outcomes exceed expectation. What a joy that is. However, I do get disappointed. Ever had that happen to you?

Being disappointed is a reality of life. We live with it every day. It can, however, become a major trap and one we must guard against. Any time we look to people or situations to bring us fulfillment of a need, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

Here’s that process: An expectation, especially an unrealistic one, can lead to disappointment. Disappointment can lead to loss of heart. Loss of heart is the downward slide of the soul towards bitterness. It’s a greasy, slippery slope we must guard against. It’s a trap of the enemy, designed to ensnare us in unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, and strife. It’s a killer of relationships—marriages and friendships. It’s an assassin of dreams, passions and desires of the heart.

Perhaps I need to stop setting expectations? Easier said than done—right? And whoever said expectations are bad? In the context of a relationship, if someone commits to something, shouldn’t we expect it to get done?

How we deal with expectation and disappointment in our soul (mind, will and emotions) is key to living a life of abundant joy and peace. To live abundantly, we need to have a prosperous soul. We need to examine ourselves and root out bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, strife, and all those things that weight down. We need to take a close look at our expectations.

Here’s what I do to guard my heart: I routinely ask myself these questions:

  • Are there any unrealistic expectations that I have?
  • Any disappointments renting space in my mind and heart?
  • Any bitterness rooted in my soul needed to be dealt with?
  • Am I allowing an expectation too much influence in my thoughts, decisions, and actions toward others?
  • Am I allowing expectations and subsequent emotion to dictate my response?


The Bible tells us that expectation is to be in God alone.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:6-8)

Expectation is a road…an emotional one. A pathway to a destination with ditches, sudden turns, and unforeseen potholes. It’s a road we all travel on. How we navigate and negotiate in our thoughts determine how we reach our destination.

by Fred Snyder