Mark Affleck

Why do I Get Knocked Down by EXPECTATIONS Every August?

August 12, 2022
Church Strategy

I know how to give my attitude toward EXPECTATIONS to God. But when the calendar turned to August this year, it was as if I had forgotten it all. I got KNOCKED DOWN emotionally when things weren’t going as planned. When people weren’t acting like I expected them to act. When my mood wasn’t on the right balance beam.


My reaction? I went straight to God to refresh what I already knew but temporary forgot–EXPECTATIONS are the pick-pocket thief we all fear in a massing crowd.


You’ve been a victim of his sneaky sleight of hand, right? Rejection, loss, injustice, and grief all populate a list that has no end of unmet expectations.


The common thread running through that unending list of unmet expectations is DISAPPOINTMENT. And I’ve been disappointed the past few days. But when I think about it…of course I’m disappointed! I didn’t get what I expected from other people. I didn’t get what I wanted.


Dreams dashed and shattered by unmet or unfulfilled expectations come from external events or the decisions of others. They cannibalize our hope which then promptly slams the door on our joy. Once we land in that dark room, we are quickly greeted by anger and bitterness and resentment, maybe depression…occasionally despair.


Life’s REALITY is that friends will let us down. Family will let us down. Employers will let us down. At times we will feel God has let us down. I have been experiencing this pain in August and it ALWAYS hurts.


Given that sobering reality, how can Christians stop trying to avoid the disappointment of unmet expectations and, more importantly, how can we beat back the stinging DISAPPOINTMENT those dashed expectations spawn?


We LISTEN to God. NO! I mean REALLY listen to God. 


“It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in princes.” Psalm 111:8-9


LISTENING to God gives us a realistic attitude about life and allows us to expect disappointment so we will not be shattered when it comes. And we need to be constantly TELLING him what we are feeling through our transparent tears and grateful groans.


Then we need to channel our disappointment and pain companion to the service of others who are in the throes of disappointment (2 Corinthians 1:4).


As we examine the expectations we have for our lives and futures, we should tear up every shred of ENTITLEMENT. All roads on the road of unmet expectations lead through HOPE.


We must remember that while our earthly hopes and dreams may have been extinguished, our hope light in Heaven is still burning bright. And it is under that life-giving illumination that we remember God’s promise to remove all disappointment and fill our hope tank.


All of a sudden August ain’t looking so bad anymore.


I ask God to help me accept that the painful things in my life have a purpose far beyond that which I will ever be able to understand. To turn down my expectations and bring me to HIS plan. To give me the strength and wisdom to respond immediately when my expectations go unmet and guide me to the RIGHT RESPONSE, as Jesus would have me respond.



How do YOU respond when someone lets you down? What are you expecting to happen today? This week? This year? How does that match up with what God would want you to expect? What is your reaction when things don’t go as planned? Do you turn up the volume of God’s voice and listen intently to hear what he wants you to do? Do you have any EXPECTATIONS that need to be reframed through God’s viewfinder?


“…I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Revelation 21:5-7

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