Just a quick word of encouragement on how to deal with other people’s expectations. So often we allow those expectations to mandate our actions, feeling as though we have no choice. In reality, our primary responsibility is to obey God and meet His expectations.
I have found that many of us experience feelings of guilt or frustration due to expectations that other people have for us. Often those expectations are based on their personal hopes and desires or even things they have been taught to believe are “how things should be”; however, we need to remember that simply because someone has expectations of us does not mean we are responsible for meeting those expectations. It also doesn’t mean we are negligent, bad, or wrong because we aren’t meeting those expectations.
Our primary responsibility is to seek God and to know and execute His will for our lives. Sometimes He will communicate to us through the desires of others, but sometimes their expectations are in direct conflict with His. This is where we ofter begin to struggle with feelings of guilt or like we are “bad”. Often we are concerned with how they will respond if we say no, or we don’t even feel able to say no.
This is the moment we need to remind ourself of our primary responsibility. We need to put our desire to please Him and obey His will for us above the fear of man and their human response. It helps to remember this key point: we are not responsible for their reaction. If God is telling you not to do something a person “expects” you to do, the way they respond or react to you not doing it is not your responsibility or concern. That is between them and God.
As we are constantly reminded, people are messy. So even when we are each doing our own personal best – all working towards obey God and being in alignment with Him, that still doesn’t guarantee there won’t be moments where we have misunderstandings and misaligned expectations. We are all works in progress, and that’s ok. This is why scripture reminds us to bear with one another in love!
Colossians 3:13 (VOICE) Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind.
Ultimately, True Intimacy in relationship with the humans in our lives comes when we all leave room for each other to be obedient to what we are feeling led to do. We are welcome to express our desires – knowing they will be heard and valued, even if they aren’t met. Those are the kind of godly, life-giving relationships we should be working towards achieving and that, if plentiful, make the world a much better place.