The Dangers of Expectancy

"If you keep working as hard as you are, you will be rewarded!" ""I'm sure you will be able to play for the team this weekend!" "Once I've got this degree I can make it in the world!" "This is going better than I could think, I want to marry them and have a life together etc"

How many times have you been in a situation that didn't turn out the way you expected? I would say all of us have been in this position. Expectations have the unquestionable strength to bring about a false hope and because of this if we rely to much on our expectations, then we will end up heavily disappointed and hurt. It's ok to hope, but hope within reason. Don't be led merely by expectations because I can guarantee that hurt and disappointment will soon follow. The world is a tough environment and each individual has there own situation, their own reality, their own problem and each individual has their own hopes and their own expectancies. Start putting individuals together into groups; the expectations grow (dependancy on the group -> sharing in the expectancies) which leads to a ripple effect of hurt and disappointment.

But what's the difference between hope and expectancy?

Expectancy = The state of thinking that something pleasant WILL happen, or be the case. 
Hope = a desire for something to happen. A feeling of want. 

So in brief, being expectant is when we are sure within ourselves that something should happen or be coming up. Where as hope is where we desire, wish, long for something to come about. So with this in mind it would be clear to say that more disappointments come about when we are expecting something to happen rather then when we hope for something to happen.

I can say personally that I have been in the position of expectation many times. And more often than not the result has been in disappointment. Some more personally affecting than others. I've been in that position where I've been encouraged in my workplace to the point where I expected to get promotion only to be told that someone else has been given the job. I've been in the position where I was told that I would be part of the squad in the next match only to be told later that they've found an alternative replacement. Or that expectation of going away on a trip and thinking what it will be like to then turn up and it's not even close to the way we originally thought it would be. If we're not careful, expectation can take a hold of us and then ultimately cause us a lot of pain, anguish, emotional distress and fear.

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise." - C.S.Lewis

Now hope is a very different matter. Hope says it may happen but it's not certain. It's good to hope for something but we don't get hung up on the idea that it will happen for definite. Putting this in a rather simple context imagine saying, "I expect that person to get better", compared with "I hope that person get's better!" Two different words, two different ideologies, two different results in personal inclination.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us. - Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

Where as expectancy can bring about anguish, hurt as well as countless questions as to when, why or how something will come to pass. Hope on the contrast does not disappoint us. Because of this we can rejoice in our hope. 'We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure...' - Hebrews  6:19. Hope is an anchor. It keeps us grounded. It does not lead us into a false sense of security but still helps bring us into a positive mindset about any situation that we face.

If expectancy is something that you have, analyse it. Why is it you have these expectations? Are you certain of the outcome? Be wary of the expectations in your life and if possible shift your focus to hope in all things rather than to expect.


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