Ministry Resources

Living up to Expectations

Author: Donald Bailey

How do you feel about yourself when you look at yourself in the mirror?

Maybe you feel you are great, or maybe you do not feel so good about the person you see. One of the challenges many people face is wondering how they can possibly live up to all of the expectations they feel in life.

Families are great for placing expectations on people. Those expectations may involve a certain school, career, or specific activities or talents. When someone is not gifted in the same way other family members are, it can present a challenge.

Friends can also place a great deal of pressure on us by their expectations. This can also be a good sign of whether or not a particular friendship is healthy or not. A good friendship will place expectations on us that will help us grow as people. A bad friendship will bring expectations that drag someone down.

We can also face certain expectations from our church or community. As citizens and people in a body of believers, we have certain responsibilities to those around us. If we want to thrive in our communities or in our church, we need to live up to those responsibilities and expectations. Of course, the most challenging expectations are those we place upon ourselves.

All of these expectations can pile up on us and leave us frustrated and wondering if we can ever be successful in life. One of the greatest dangers we can face is giving in to despair and concluding that there is just no point in trying to be our best in life. Far too many people fall short of their potential because of these feelings of inadequacy.

These feelings also rob people from the fellowship with God He wants to have with them. When someone feels he or she is not good enough, it is very easy to decide that God must not have any use for him or her. The consequences of giving up are far too severe to ignore. We need to know how to handle the expectations we feel in life.

We can handle the various expectations in life by understanding we are uniquely gifted. First Corinthians 12:12 helps us understand this principle. ‘The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ” (NLT).

Paul compared the human body to the body of Christ and made these points:

1. Each part of the body has a vital part to play.
2. Every part of the body needs to function as intended for the body to be healthy.
3. Every part of the body needs to appreciate every other part of the body.

Though these principles seem obvious, they are very easy to overlook. In the body of Christ, some people just do not seem that important, when we do not bother to consider very closely. Yet these people often have exactly the gifts and abilities that are vitally important to the whole church. People who are good organizers, who are friendly, or who know how to fix things may not get many pats on the back, but it would not be a pleasant experience for the body of Christ to be without them. Because of this, we should welcome and encourage every believer we meet. We should never believe that we have nothing to offer.

Along with this recognition of our place in the body is the understanding that every skill we have is from the Lord. When we understand this, that we are blessed from God, then it is far easier to see that it is no longer just a matter of seeing how good we can be. All of our goodness comes from God, so we no longer have to worry about whether we are good enough to live up to what others want from us, or even if we are good enough to live up to our own expectations.

Really, the most important thing for believers to remember is that we must yield to God’s plan and God’s purposes in our lives. By obeying Him, we will give ourselves the opportunity to use our gifts in a way that best pleases Him.

This will also place us in the position to bless those with whom we come in contact. However, this is no longer a burden of trying to live up to the expectations of others. Rather, it is now the blessing of being who God has made us to be, so we can be the best blessing we can be.

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