Six and a half months of living in the bush, and I have developed some solid expectation. I expect to see the zebras in my garden on a regular basis, based on their frequent, unexpected visits. I’ll be writing in my open-to-the-bush office and suddenly I’ll hear a deep, snorty “pppppphhhhhrrt!” or a few heavy hoof-steps followed by a pointed stripey stare. Apparently, zebras have expectations too – they expect my immediate attention and a serving of their favourite game pellets when they show up.
The school holidays are currently underway, and there has been a marked absence of zebra visitors to our garden. They are enjoying the lavish attention and treats provided by guests visiting Marloth Park. I have missed them! So this week, I was thinking about expectations (among other things, which you will no doubt have the (mis)fortune of hearing about in due course:-). It occurred to me that so many of life’s frustrations have their origins in this one thing: expectation. I challenge you to prove me wrong. How often don’t we get the mutters because someone didn’t do something we hoped, expected, or anticipated they would do? We blame others for something they had no conscious knowledge of, or commitment to! I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of this in my marriage. I get frustrated with Peter because he didn’t put the toaster away. Meanwhile, Peter is unconcerned about the toaster being left out and possibly needs it later!
Conversely, we have all been at the receiving end of someone else’s unfulfilled expectations. This scores high on my list of injustices. How am/ was I supposed to know what you expected of me if you never said anything?
The True Colours of Expectation
Suddenly, I see expectation for what it really is: unfair, mutually frustrating and utterly destructive. Is it possible to live without expectation? Maybe not impossible, but I reckon it must be very difficult. As humans (and zebras) we are wired to operate on the basis of WIFM (what’s in it for me?). Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news (and on a Friday, no less), but there is nothing good in it for you or me if we have expectations. You are likely taking a “sho’t left” onto a bumpy road of conflict and disappointment if you have expectations. However, there is a second road sign indicating an alternative, toll-free route. It is a road of freedom. Freedom of expectations and freedom to be blessed and surprised by happy things that come onto your path. It is a journey with the freedom to bless others from your heart – just because you want to!
The reality is this – no one owes us anything, and even if they legitimately do, there is no guarantee that they will honour that. So I am challenging you today, to join me on a journey of living without expectations. I think I owe it to myself and I intend to make good on that debt:-).
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