The power of unmet expectations

The power of unmet expectations


“Disappointment is unmet expectations and the more significant the expectations the more significant the disappointment.” Brene Brown

We joined a new church a few months back and it’s been an eye-opening experience. When we started visiting we began to hear in the all-church meetings about a conflict. This situation illuminated the importance of embracing the hard conversations I have often avoided in obedience to His call to unity in the body.

What I love about this church is they took steps to biblically address the conflict, instead of sweeping it under the carpet and acting like it didn’t happen. It has been refreshing to watch leadership take a healthy, biblical approach. To hear out those who had and still have concerns, appreciate their voice, and take time to develop a full reconciliation team to hear concerns. They also began to teach on reconciliation so relationships could be restored. Many in the congregation are learning you must be willing to face the truth about your own heart for reconciliation to come.

Then, as Ross and I watched the video of the denomination’s reconciliation team, we discovered their process of confession. They spoke of recognizing the unhealthy and sinful attitudes that needed to be acknowledged with repentance.

In this teaching a few key points jumped out at me.

We all go into any relationship within the church or personally with expectations. Those expectations are filled with trust, desire, alongside fear and hope. When expectations aren’t communicated to the other party, the unhappy result is a series of unmet expectations. Sometimes we don’t even know we have the expectations, but if we reflect on it, we can recognize them.

When unmet expectations are not addressed and processed in a healthy way, frustration ensues. The result is a host of sinful responses that open the door wide to the enemy’s presence (for more on this, read Ephesians 4:26-27). Instead of going to the offending person, we grumble to others which causes division. It also tempts the person we grumble with to pick up our offense against that person.

By not going to the person who failed to meet our expectations we have committed the grievous sins of slander and gossip. This adds fuel to the fire of emotions, unless we recognize what we are doing and repent. Then, we must go back to those we’ve defiled with our bitterness and frustration. And finally go to the person who offended us.

When we don’t follow these steps, all this frustration forms into an idol in our heart. I have had to go back more than once to repent for complaining and grumbling about an injustice suffered.

And then what I heard next really hit me.


The conflict in this relationship controls us rather than God. This is the idol.

Our pride fuels the idols of the heart and mind. We feel entitled to get what WE want, so we begin to demand our way, judge those who don’t agree with us, and punish the person(s) who didn’t meet our expectations. This is shown outwardly by a cold shoulder, angry conversation, or a host of other toxic behavior.

When we choose to live here we are separated from God. The result is He cannot hear our prayers and we cannot hear His voice.


I learned through this training when we have those idols in our heart we are in a perpetual fog and are blinded to the joy of the Lord. I must admit for much of the last 18 months I have stumbled around in this very fog. I chocked it up to grieving all the losses connected to Ross’s requested resignation, but now I see it was much more sinful than grief. It was pride that led to idolatry which left me in a wilderness.

I am also connecting the dots between my healing journey with regards to the root of rejection and this key element of disappointment and frustration from unmet expectations. When someone doesn’t meet our expectations, it is tantamount to rejection. There’s a whole host of emotions and triggers wrapped up in this process as I unpack it, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me as I do.

We have another video to watch on the topic of unmet expectations highlighting the toxins that come from the idols in our heart. I already know it’s going to be just what I need to process. I’ll share what I learn next week!

So, do you have unmet expectations in your life?

Have you seen a progression into your own wilderness?

The good news is as we repent and turn from our wicked ways, we can be immediately restored not only to God but our brother or sister.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to come out of the fog and experience once again the joy of the Lord!

Thanks for hanging out with me today!

Athena Dean Holtz
Welcome, I'm Athena!

I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.

Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!

The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.

Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!

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