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Having Realistic Expectations of Others  


Trying to control the actions and behaviors of others, leads to frustration and anger. People will fail you, disappoint you, and let you down. Most of the time, others are not intentionally trying to hurt you, but it feels that way when their behavior is contrary to loving actions towards you. Humans can be selfish and think only of themselves.

Placing your expectations on Jesus Christ alone, is the only sure way to have stability. We cannot place our security and stability in others, especially if they have a pattern of unhealthy and dysfunctional behaviors. We can desire for someone to change, but if they do not want change; then it is futile for us to try and change them. Letting go of the need to transform someone to meet our expectations, will bring peace and rest in our minds. We should pray for them, speak life affirming words about them, and allow God to bring the changes that are needed in their lives. Sometimes, we have to “let go and let God.”

If someone has repeatedly hurt you, and you expect them to be different each time; you are setting yourself up for weariness. True change comes with repentance, confession, and turning away from sin. A mental health definition of insanity is: doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. If you continually get let down, abused, or hurt in some manner; maybe it’s time to surrender and place proper boundaries around you and the other person. This is not the time to take revenge, slander the other person, or believe they could never change. Instead, it is time to allow God to intervene and for you to pray for their change. It is not up to you to try and change someone.

Release all your expectations of the one(s) who have disappointed you. Do not expect someone to be something that they are not, or do not want to be. Perhaps, it is not up to you to try and figure out someone else’s mess. Often, we carry the burdens of others that we were never intended to carry, and we want them to pick up their messes and change it. Some people like their chaos and disorder.

It is okay to desire and expect others to treat us fair, kind, respectfully, and lovingly, but when they do not; do not return to them what they are doing to you. Represent Jesus to them by acting in love, this does not mean to become someone’s “doormat,” it means loving them where they are at, and setting proper limits with them. Unless the Holy Spirit has directed you, I would never recommend being around someone continually who inflicts pain on you. Loving people from a distance can be therapeutically healthy for all involved, especially if you are losing your temper, peace and joy around them. If you live in the same household, then have your time and space to get into God’s presence.

Serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change,

Courage to change the things that I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Ask yourself, Can I change this person? If not, have the courage and the wisdom to accept this and what you can change-yourself.

About Stephanie Reck

Stephanie has a heart and passion to see broken lives restored and redeemed through Jesus Christ. She writes through her personal experiences and her educational and professional background. She has over 17 years experience in counseling, and has a Master's degree in Social Work, Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Belief Therapist. Stephanie has been married for 16 years,and has one grown son. Stephanie's desire through her writings is to bring hope and encouragement to the body of Christ, that no matter what you have been though or going through, there is restoration and redemption through Jesus Christ.

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