I’ve been thinking a lot lately about expectations; we all have them. We all know the joys of realized expectations and, I believe, it would be accurate to say that we have all felt the pain of unrealized expectations. And yet we continue to approach life with the assumption of certain outcomes. What if instead of having expectations, we adopted an attitude of expectancy?
One of my favourite authors is Mark Buchanan (favourite because he really causes me to stop and ponder!). In his book “The Four Best Places to Live”, Mark describes expectancy this way…
“Expectancy is a renewal of hope and anticipation. It is a spark in the soul that makes you dare to believe that good can come from bad, that light can overcome darkness, that life can resurrect out of death.”
He goes on to say…
“It’s the small but tenacious belief that, in spite of all that has happened in your life and all that has not happened in your life, what is going to happen in your life will redeem it all.”
My oldest granddaughter is a true example of living life with expectancy. Faith’s signature question is ‘What are you excited about today?’ I love it! The anticipation of what’s to come radiates from every part of her being. Our
daughter is also one of those people who loves life and values each and every person who is part of her life. We celebrated her 30th birthday this week (I should say month…Shannon really knows how to embrace any and every reason to celebrate!). We had a lovely chat about what life holds for her as she enters her 30’s; so many amazing possibilities! She could go forward with a list of expectations that may or may not be realized, but instead she chooses to go forward with great expectancy, with a sense of wonder and excitement about what great surprises life holds.
So how does this play out in daily living? For me it applies on so many levels…I think of a whole new group of students who will occupy chairs in my classes this fall, I think of the students on-line that I get to tutor, of those individuals whose lives intersect with mine on a professional level. I also think of the many friends who make up the fabric of my life, and of the incredible family my husband and I have been blessed with. I could go on!
Buchanan states that the opposite of expectancy is expectations; so yes, I must admit that the above list of people at times are burdened by my unreasonable expectations. Time to make a change there!
What will the new fall expectancy approach look like? Refreshing, hopeful, appreciation, excitement, letting go. Let me finish with another nugget from Buchanan…
“Expectation almost always sets us up to be disappointed, and once disappointment sets in, it quickly hardens into apathy, bitterness, and suspicion. Expectancy, on the other hand, sets us up to be thrilled. When we live in an attitude of expectancy, we’re rarely disappointed. Expectation says, “This specific thing must happen for me to welcome it.” But when we live in the House of Expectancy, we say, “Something good is going to happen—I’m not sure what—and I’m here to welcome it.”