Shifting Away from Entitled Expectations

by |


o you ever have big dreams or deep desires that remain unfulfilled no matter what you do? I know I do. What’s funny though is that our plans almost never turn out how we think they should. Through experiencing those unmet expectations, I’ve grown more deeply in my relationship with the Lord and have learned that His ways and timing are always best.

What did I think my life would look like after meeting the love of my life? I thought we would get married, Adam would get a great job, we would live in the San Francisco Bay Area, buy a house, have a couple of kids, and just be your typical American family. Well, as it usually is, God’s plan was entirely different.

Instead of the life I envisioned, our first few years of marriage had serious marriage struggles, extremely tight finances, and Adam was struggling to find a job. In the midst of all of this, I lost my job, we had some pretty intense situations with in-laws, and I was battling anxiety. It seemed as if we hit every obstacle we could possibly hit.

There was a piece of me that felt entitled to be granted my expectations for our life. I felt like we deserved to have things be easy–or at least get easier–since we had been through so much. I was angry with God for how difficult things had been. The days, weeks, and months felt endless. It felt as if we just had one struggle after another. I felt like I couldn’t even catch my breath before something else came crashing down.

I had a choice to make

In those times I had to decide whether I was going to continue being frustrated that life wasn’t adhering to expectations or whether I was going to shift my perspective. God doesn’t call us to an easy life; He calls us into full submission to Him (Luke 21:12-18, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:6).

Instead of staying frustrated, I chose to shift my perspective.

Over the next few months, God worked in my heart and helped me to lean into the hurts and the struggles. God transformed my anger into a heart desperately seeking His comfort. I still struggled with anxiety and the continuous tough situations, but I saw God as my advocate and I knew He was with me and for me (Isaiah 41:10). I wasn’t on the journey alone.

If we stick to our plans and choose our own will, then we will never experience the fullness of life that God has planned for us. But if we seek God and ask Him to speak into our brokenness, then He will use any situation for His glory and bring good from it (Romans 8:28). That doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain, but it does mean that God will use it for His greater purpose. The truth is that we grow in the midst of our struggles. Struggles help us to cling to Him and seek Him. If we come to Him with a submissive heart, the struggles can be where we have the most intimate encounters with our Heavenly Father.

“If we stick to our plans and choose our own will, then we will never experience the fullness of life that God has planned for us.”

Share Tweet

Can we truly trust God?

Yes! That is the beauty of who God is. He is constant when our feelings are fleeting (Malachi 3:6). He is the ultimate security. With that being said, we have to trust Him with His plan, not our own.

In the midst of loneliness and brokenness, here are a few things that might help:

  1. Focus on the attributes of God’s character
  2. Praise the God who is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9), gracious (Ephesians 2:8), steadfast (Psalm 86:15), good (James 1:17), and loving (Zephaniah 3:17).

  3. Look to God
  4. Read Psalm 23 and put your name into the verses.
    “The Lord is __________’s shepherd…”

    Click here for a PDF version of Psalm 23 that you can easily personalize.

  5. Be honest with God
  6. It’s ok to be angry or disappointed. He can handle anything that you bring to Him. If you look at David’s prayers to God in the Psalms, he is raw, honest, and vulnerable. God wants the same thing from you. He won’t judge your honesty, He just wants a deeper relationship with you.

God’s Character

God is kind and He is constant. His love is unwavering. He is gentle and wants to walk through life with you. He has a plan for your life. God loves you just as you are. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less than He does at this very moment. That is such a freeing thought!

God is going to use situations to shape us into who He wants us to be and He is going to use situations to lead us to His will. God uses our struggles and unmet expectations to intensify our insecurities so that He can help heal them. Be willing to see unmet expectations as an opportunity to go on an adventure with God. All He needs is an open heart.

“God uses our struggles and unmet expectations to intensify our insecurities so that He can help heal them.”

Share Tweet

Do you have a story about unmet expectations that God used for good? Share with us in the comments below…

Want to dig deeper?

Check out Radiant Marriage Academy, our free 16-lesson course!


(Fully free. No catch.)

adam & Jess

Hi, we’re Adam & Jess--we’re so glad you’re here!

Our marriage got off to a rocky start in 2014 and quickly escalated into a full-out crisis. God healed us, and now we're inviting you to walk with us as we all journey toward healthier marriages together!

7 Days to an Awesome Marriage

Check out our free eBook and connect with your spouse!

7 Days to a More Intimate Marriage

Follow Us

Treasuring the Tiny Moments

The goal for the day was simple...Get food for dinner and prepare a delicious meal for our friends who were coming over (while still social distancing). I had gone to the store and had everything that I needed...except for the fish. I was planning on making fish with...

Choosing Your Spouse Over Your Checklist

We published an image of a quote on our social media not too long ago, and it struck me in just how profound it is. The quote, by D.L. Moody, is this: “If I wanted to find out whether a man was a Christian, I wouldn’t go to his minister. I would go and ask his...

How to Love Your Spouse Through Their Rough Day

There I was in my car in the garage processing through the events of my day. You know those days where everything just seems to go wrong? This was that day. From dropping a smoothie onto the floor in the morning to having a rough interaction with a friend to work...

7 Game-Changer Questions to Fight Disconnection in Your Marriage

Have you ever gotten to a place in your marriage where you felt completely disconnected from your spouse...and didn't have a clue how you got there? In these times, it can be so easy to ignore the problem and become apathetic. In the moment, ignoring things seems like...

10 At-Home Activities to Do as a Couple

Let’s be honest. The past few weeks have been a bit insane. Have you been going a bit stir crazy? Have you craved being with your friends or family? Do you miss hugs? Are you finding yourself losing track of days and time? Us too. In the midst of being under “shelter...

4 Ways to Take Charge of Anxiety

Army. Green. Couch. Can you picture it? Now hold onto that image and I’ll come back to it. If you have read my posts for any length of time, you know that I struggle with anxiety. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized how much I can fixate on things…...

Faith in the Midst of Uncertainty

I t was dinner time when we found out that Washington had issued a “shelter in place” mandate. While we live in Idaho, Adam works in Washington. And Washington was the first of the two to issue the mandate. Like many of you who have these state rules right now, we...

7 Ways to Grow Your Marriage During COVID

This last week has been insane. I feel like I woke up on Friday last week and the world had started to end. Grocery stores were being emptied, in-person church services had been canceled, schools were closed, and my graduate program was put on hold...and I couldn’t...

Abandoned, Alone, and Afraid

Abandoned, alone, and afraid. These three words have been the theme of my feelings over the last month or so. We're in this weird stage of life where so much about our current situation feels unsettled and nothing is secure. Our finances, not having a home base, our...

Building Momentum in Your Marriage

Having a great marriage isn’t based on one moment, one action, or one success, but rather a pattern of right actions (and corrected wrong actions) over time. This may seem obvious--doing the right thing is commonly best practice--but the effects are less obvious. It’s...

Want to build an awesome marriage?

Get started with Radiant Marriage Academy, a 16-lesson online course to help you build an awesome marriage.

The best part? Thanks to our patrons, it's completely FREE. No credit card. No upsell. No catch. Just great, free marriage tools to help you make your marriage awesome.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest