There’s a vast difference between expectation and expectancy. These two mindsets can be applied to just about any part of our lives. They can be applied to our life-long dreams, our marriages, our children, our friendships, our careers, our ministries. And they can also be applied to our relationship with God.
Expectation expects things. It expects a certain outcome. Or that the outcome will be derived a certain way.
Expectancy does not expect things. Expectancy hopes. It has faith that good will come but releases the expectation of what or how it will come about.
Expectations lead to disappointments and frustration and disillusion.
Expectancy leads to faith and joy and thankfulness.
I recently had the privilege to attend a weekend “Encounter.” The entire purpose of the weekend was to meet with God. To encounter the One and Only. I had heard stories of others going to their Encounter, coming home saying things like, “It changed my life.” And “I’m a completely different person.” And “I’m a changed man.” And more.
I thought I was open to whatever God had for me that weekend, but I soon learned that I had gone up to that mountain with a whole lot of expectations. My heart felt cold going up there, and all I wanted was for God to break through. But as the weekend wore on, I became increasingly discontent. God was speaking to me. He was moving. But He wasn’t doing what I wanted Him to, and so I was a bit annoyed. (This is where I chime in to tell you just how embarrassing it is to admit that!)
I kept praying, “Lord, why aren’t you fixing my heart?”
And then He spoke. “Fix your attitude,” I felt Him say to my spirit. And with those three little words, I realized that I didn’t need to wait on God to fix me. I needed to let go of all my expectations and realign my thinking with God’s.
You see, I had gone with expectations. I tried not to, but I did. I saw my need for God to fix something, and I was sure He’d do it. But when He didn’t do it the way I thought He would, my attitude grew increasingly ugly. The problem was not with God, but with me. I am happy to tell you that God’s little rebuke was the very thing I needed to soften my heart. God did fix my heart, but before He did so, He allowed me to see my expectations for what they were. He allowed me to see that my expectations were the very thing keeping me from the one thing I needed. It wasn’t until I let them go, it wasn’t until God had humbled me, that I was able to receive all the goodness God had planned for me that weekend.
Expectation says, “God, I expect you will do X.”
It says, “God, I expect you do X in a certain way.”
Expectancy says, “Lord, I don’t know how or what you will do, but I know you will do something, and I know it will be good.” God always does something good. He is continually working in and through our lives. We can eagerly wait with expectancy for what He will do, but we cannot place self-centered expectations on Him. He is God. We are not.
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.