Hope vs. Expectation
The line between hope and expectation is quite soft, sometimes hard to distinguish. Hope is an optimistic attitude based on an expectation. Hope is the faith and wishes that something will happen. Hope is flexible, and it’s not limited to our previous experiences. An expectation is an unreal belief that something will actually happen; it’s almost like a fixed and inflexible unreal belief about something that we want to happen. Unfortunately, because we build expectations based on previous experiences, having expectations can end in disappointment.
When our expectations are unmet, we generally respond negatively, affecting the way we see people and our relationships. When someone wrongs us, we “expect” an apology, we expect the person to “make it right,” we have a sense of entitlement because we were expecting a particular action to happen, and we didn’t get what we wanted or what we thought we should have gotten. We often believe that people should do or should be different, and we try to change them.
Hope is entirely different. We can adjust our sense of hope based on the circumstances; we sometimes even realize that we had unrealistic hopes, and we can easily let go, but we never give up. There will always be hope. That is not to say that “expectations” are wrong; they can be a good thing as long as they are not harmful or with a sense of entitlement. This is one of the biggest challenges we all face, especially the younger generations. It seems like we expect everything to be given to us, but we should be focused on what we can give to others and how to bring God’s glory into our lives and the lives of those around us.
Expectations are great when they are focused on ourselves. In other words, instead of expecting things from others, we should be expecting something from ourselves; we should expect ourselves to be kind. We should expect ourselves to be grateful and live a godly life, and we should expect to be the best we can be. The reality is, though, that many times we feel like we’ve failed; we feel like we didn’t live up to our expectations, but that only shows that hope is much greater than an expectation. Hope is everlasting and doesn’t disappoint, especially when we place our hope in our creator; there is where we find hope.
But if we hope for what we do not see. We wait for it with patience. - Romans 8:25