Living Free from Expectations

It seems there is fresh interest these day from a number of people about Authentic Relationships, , especially the part about how our expectations of others destroy authenticity in those relationships

Here’s a question I got from Chris today:

I really liked this section in your book. But I’m not really exactly sure “how” to live it out. I keep thinking “shouldn’t I want non-believers to come to Jesus and lethargic Christians to be revived in their life with God?” But then it seems like I’m trying to push my agenda on people. So “how” do I treat people in such a way as to not put expectations on them?

Here was my response: Wanting people to respond rightly isn’t a problem. Demanding that they do, or treating them with disappointment when they don’t, is the problem. External conformity is never God’s goal anyway, but inner transformation that grows out of their relationship with him.

In that vain, all we have to do is love people! Take an interest in them. Serve them where you can, but never pushing our agenda on them. Servants never push anyway. They always are responding to what others are doing or desiring. I am having so much fun just loving people in their space and time, not thinking I love them by getting them to do what I think is best. It makes relationships so much more real and genuine and takes all the exploitation and manipulation out of it.

I hope that helps. That’s the way Jesus treats you after all. He loves you where you are. He invites you to better things if you’ll come, but he doesn’t badger you at every moment with his expectations or reject you when you disappoint him. Watching him do that with us, is the best tool to learning how to do it with others. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have wonderful desires for us. He does. But he realizes we can only experience them when we freely choose to come, not when we’re manipulated into it.

Another letter I got recently from Aida, might be helpful here as well:

I just want you to know how much your website means to me as I am walking this journey into greater relationship with my Father. I have also been reading “Authentic Relationships” & I see God freeing me of expectations. He is freeing me from feeling as though I have to meet others expectations of me, but even more importantly He is freeing me of my unfair expectations of others. Your teachings on false expectations have enabled me to see how destructive they are. I attend a denominational institution with my husband. Basically, I go to the Sunday morning service & most Wednesday nights. Sundays used to be very hard for me. After sitting for so long & listening to a boring sermon, it ruined the rest of the day. However, the last few weeks have been different, as I’ve changed my focus.

I have now freed that pastor from my expectations that he or that institution should meet my needs. I look to God for that. Most Sundays, I don’t listen to the sermon, since for the most part it’s not very helpful. I may read the Scripture & meditate on it myself or I might pray for him & for other people. I used to feel guilty about that, but now I don’t. The reason I go is to connect with God and if what they are doing isn’t helpful, then it’s okay to do something that is. Now, I leave the service as energized as when I came in because I have remained in God’s presence. I am also seeing a change in my relationship with my husband & my children as I’ve freed them from my expectations.

Thank you so much for the teaching you’ve given me. It has truly been life transforming as I’m learning how to walk in freedom while in an institutional system.

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2 Comments
  1. crucialspecto August 29, 2005 at 7:36 am

    I discovered this principle, and it’s power towards a strong and healthy marriage. in Eph 5 – Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. –

    I know my wife loves me, and that does create certain expectations but never to the degree that she feels she must do or be or change into someone she is not. She has One Audience, One absolutely gracious and loving Audience, she lives for, and it is not me. She is free to be who she is at any given moment. Ofttimes that is a beautiful loving person, but sometimes it is a person struggling with sin. Her sin is going to affect me at times, as mine her, but we both belong to the Father and our only expectations on each other are derived from that fact. If we ever change, it will never be because we placed expectations on each other, it will only be because we are a little nearer to Christ.

  2. crucialspecto August 29, 2005 at 10:36 am

    I discovered this principle, and it’s power towards a strong and healthy marriage. in Eph 5 – Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. –

    I know my wife loves me, and that does create certain expectations but never to the degree that she feels she must do or be or change into someone she is not. She has One Audience, One absolutely gracious and loving Audience, she lives for, and it is not me. She is free to be who she is at any given moment. Ofttimes that is a beautiful loving person, but sometimes it is a person struggling with sin. Her sin is going to affect me at times, as mine her, but we both belong to the Father and our only expectations on each other are derived from that fact. If we ever change, it will never be because we placed expectations on each other, it will only be because we are a little nearer to Christ.

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