It’s clear we live in a fallen world and there are many things in this life not as it should be. But interpreting our disappointments is not always so straightforward. While sometimes this is simply an honest and pure longing for the more God has for us, at other times our disappointments reveal our own unrealistic expectations.
For instance, we naturally enter our marriage with many hopes, dreams, and aspirations. But it doesn’t take long before we realize marriage is not what we imagined.
Marriage consists of two flawed and finite individuals trying to navigate their relationship in the midst of a complex and messy world that places many demands on each of them. And this reality quickly challenges the notions of how we think our marriage should be.
On the one hand, we’re simply faced with the normal challenges of married life. Nothing is particularly wrong with us, or our relationship, and the disappointment we experience is merely the adjustment between our imagined ideals beforehand and the reality we now face in our relationship. We’re maturing our expectations and letting go of some of the naïve fantasies we brought into the marriage.
At the same time, our disappointment might also highlight the fact we’ve not yet arrived at God’s best for our marriage – that there’s still more beauty and intimacy and goodness to be discovered. And so, the acknowledgement that things shouldn’t be this way is a statement of desire to commit to pursuing this more. We’re not willing to settle for mediocrity and want to experience all that God has for us.
Of course, this can also play out in the bedroom, at work, parenting, and the like.
In the end, this is simply discerning our disappointments – neither letting resentment build by holding onto unrealistic expectations, nor settling and missing God’s best.
It’s true many things shouldn’t be this way. Are your disappointments simply your own naïve expectations or a desire to still discover more of what God has for you?