How to Handle Unrealistic Expectations – Part 2, Letting Go

Do you have trouble letting go of unrealistic expectations? Read more for some truths from God’s Word that will help you let go and find peace.

 

“Sometimes we just have to let go of our expectations and let God work!”

I read this text from my friend, Natasha, (you can find her blog HERE) and I thought, “It’s true, isn’t it?” Our expectations can sometimes get in the way of God’s work.

Last week we talked about how to handle unrealistic expectations and what it might feel like if we have them. We also looked at a simple way to figure out what our expectations are. We talked about a way to pray about them to ask God to help us identify any that are unrealistic. You can read that post HERE. And if you didn’t pick up the free printable about identifying your unrealistic expectations, you can find that HERE.

If you completed the printable from last week, did you identify any expectations that were unrealistic? Yes, me too. It’s something I struggle with all the time.

Unrealistic expectations are something we should look at carefully because holding on to them can hinder God’s work in our lives. A major factor in this is that our unrealistic expectations breed discontent.

Holding on to unrealistic expectations can hinder God’s work in our lives.Click To Tweet

Discontentment takes many forms. It can reflect as:

• disappointment
• anger or bitterness
• negative thinking
• complaining
• being judgmental or overly critical of ourselves or others

So how do we let go?

I think we can find some answers when we look into the following verse:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6, NKJV)

I remember this verse often because I had a dream about it once. In my dream, I was speaking with a mentor. She was an older lady, but no one I knew in real life. She told me to pray, and I immediately bowed my head, thinking of a long and detailed prayer, but when I spoke, only these words came out of my mouth. “God forgive me. Forgive me for the sin of discontentment.”

That dream woke me up in the middle of the night, and it also woke me up to some major areas of discontent in my life. I’ve never forgotten it, and because of it I was led to the verse I’ve just quoted above.

So let’s take a peek at all that is wrapped up inside 1 Timothy 6:6.

If you look back to the original Greek root words, you will find that the word “contentment” was taken from the Greek word, autárkeia. The idea here is that as Christians, we have all we need within, through the indwelling Christ.

The Greek root word for our word “godliness” is eusébeia. This word refers to our inner response to the things of God, and it shows up as a reverence for God in our lives. In short, you could think of it as a godly heart-response.

(I found these word meanings by using the Helps Word-studies which you can find at Bible Hub. Click HERE and HERE to read the pages I used.)

I believe this verse (1 Timothy 6:6) is highlighting two critical issues that will help us with letting go of unrealistic expectations.

We might think of the verse in this way:

It is great gain to have a godly heart-response along with the knowledge that we have all we need within because of Jesus Christ.

It is great gain to have a godly heart-response. Click To Tweet

Take a look at your expectations list from last week. (If you need the printable, you can download it HERE.)

Ask yourself this question:

• What would be a godly heart-response to the unrealistic parts of my expectations?

I could list many things here in response to that question, but the fact is, we are all in different situations, and we all have different personalities. However, some things that come to the front of my mind are:

• willingness to see things from a different perspective
• willingness to change our focus – looking to Jesus instead of our goals or expectations
• willingness to take a step back and wait on God’s timing
• willingness to give up our own plans and let God have room to work
• willingness to give grace to ourselves and others around us
• willingness to pray about our situations and ask for guidance and wisdom

None of these things are easy, but when we begin the hard work of trusting God in these areas, we are taking the first steps in letting go of the things that are unrealistic in our lives.

Now ask yourself this question:

• Do I believe God is able to give me all I need? Do I know that because of the indwelling Christ my needs will be met?

If your answer is yes, you have an incredible amount of faith to work with! As we re-evaluate our expectations, we can be assured that we have all we need through Jesus Christ. He will lead us and help us and guide us.

Today, I ask you to join me in working on a godly heart-response. It’s a daily battle, but let’s hold on to our faith in the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ. Because of Him we have all we need for each situation we’ll face today and tomorrow. If we focus on these things, we will find ourselves better able to let go of the unrealistic things. He’ll help us find places of peace within regardless of our outward circumstances.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7, NKJV)

 

 

 

Focus Verses
The verses in this article are linked to their appropriate pages at Bible Hub. You will find many free resources there for further study!

Let’s Talk
Do you have a favorite Bible verse that helps you with letting go or with finding contentment? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Let’s Pray
Heavenly Father, we come before you asking you to help us identify unrealistic expectations and areas of discontent in our lives. Forgive us and help us to change our focus, let go of what is not pleasing to you, and move forward full of the peace that passes understanding. In Jesus name, Amen.

Next Week
Next week we’ll look at what we can expect from God. Knowing this will keep us moving forward as we let go of unrealistic expectations!

*This is Part 2 of a blog series about expectations. You can read Part 1 HERE.

*The post How to Handle Unrealistic Expectations – Part 2, Letting Go first appeared at www.journeytoimperfect.com.

*This post is shared in other encouraging places! Click HERE to find out where! 

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Do you have trouble letting go of unrealistic expectations? Read more for some truths from God’s Word that will help you let go and find peace.

12 thoughts on “How to Handle Unrealistic Expectations – Part 2, Letting Go

  1. It’s taken me years to recognize my expectations arw unrealistic. The burdens I place on myself, on my husband–it breaks my heart. But I’m still addicted to them. In my pride I tend to walk in “well, this may be unrealistic for other people–in mothering, in weight loss, in time management, in Scripture memory–but I can do more and be better.” It’s so ugly and Pharisaical but still vwry much w me.

    1. Heidi, I can very much relate to what you are talking about. Recognizing our expectations are unrealistic is one thing. Doing something about it is even harder. It’s a life long struggle for sure, but we can be encouraged that Jesus helps us persevere, prayer helps us see things we need to change, and God is always faithful. Thanks, Heidi, for visiting!

  2. I enjoyed this! The thought that came to me while reading this is the NCV version of Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd. I have everything I need.” When we truly believe that, discontent fades away!

  3. I love the picture you chose, Leslie. Arms open wide … holding nothing. Free of entanglement. And her smile–fill of joy. Isn’t that the picture of contentment! Love your parallels here and the encouragement to shift perspective!

    1. I loved that picture, too Dianne! I thought it looked like a picture of contentment, too. Thanks for you encouraging words! I appreciate you stopping by today. Blessings!

  4. Much-needed on my end. Thank you for writing this! Make mes think of the verses preceding the well-known “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Ph 4:13.) That verse is the secret to contentment mentioned in the verses prior. Thankful that godliness and contentment are gains found in believing and trusting Him!

  5. Beautiful and insightful words, Leslie! And I really like your printable too! So practical and helpful.

    It was so great to meet you in person at She Speaks. My only regret is that we didn’t get more time to talk because we seem to share such a similar passion and view of things. But I’m so glad we are in the private FB group Sarah created. The blessing just keeps on going! #GodisGood

    1. Thank you, Beth and I was so happy to meet you in person as well! Next time we’ll have to carve out more time to chat! And yes, the blessings keep on going! Loved your post this week and look forward to more!

  6. Hi Leslie,
    We’re neighbors at Coffee for your Heart today — nice to meet you! Unrealistic expectations can certainly diminish our joy in life, can’t they? Good reminders to re-evaluate and look at them through a different lens!

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