Sometimes people disappoint us. They fall short of our expectations. In these moments I am learning to examine my expectations first instead of looking to blame someone for falling short. Regularly checking my expectations has been teaching me so much. Ultimately, I want to love people better, I want to succeed at my job, and make a positive impact on this world and the people around me, to God’s glory. When my expectations are off I fail to see the bigger perspective, it narrows my vision and prevents me from doing any of the above things well.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” — Proverbs 3:7 (NRSV)

Checking my expectations has helped me be more aware when I am being self-centered, judgmental or stubborn. These character shortcomings are part of who I am just as much as my passion, optimism, drive and love for people. My expectations expose where I am seeking validation and value. When I stop taking care of my relationship with God I stop focusing on what he thinks of me and instead make man my god.

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man…” — Romans 1:22-23 (ESV)

I recently learned that too often my definition of success is linked to others agreeing with my point of view. When this is how I define success I set myself up to fail every time. I fail to influence and I fail to learn. I limit my learning by thinking in “either/or” terms. I think I know the answer in these moments: my view is narrow.

This can look like seeing a comment on Facebook and jumping to all sorts of conclusions about the person who made it. It can look like feeling resistance in a meeting I’m leading and instead of taking a step back to ask why and be open to others input, I reach for control to convince people of my way to get to the end goal of the meeting. Ultimately, it’s not about accomplishing the goal of the meeting, but about how people feel walking out of the meeting and accomplishing a greater goal together. Getting a task done won’t have a lasting influence for God. How people feel after engaging with me will.

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