Unlocked: From Expectations

Liz SarnoWritten by Liz Sarno

Three years into our church plant, a disgruntled couple stated that one of the main reasons they were leaving our church was because I did not speak to them when I first arrived at church each week. I would typically arrive a little late on Sunday mornings for sound check. I was responsible for getting my older daughter, two babies, strollers and diaper bags to church each week. Upon my arrival, I would sprint through the church in time to grab my microphone and join the members of the praise team, who were all patiently waiting for me. I smiled and waved at everyone I passed in the building, but didn’t stop to make small talk. I did make a point to speak to this particular couple each and every week after service, but clearly it wasn’t enough. I did not meet their expectations, and I allowed it to devastate me.

While this was my first experience dealing with the unmet expectations of our congregation members, it was unfortunately not the last. Over the years I’ve heard many opinions on how I should act, talk, dress, and live my life. Knowing I fell short of the expectations of others caused me to struggle. As someone who used to conscientiously attempt to not displease people I can tell you that no matter who you make happy, there will always be someone else who will be unsatisfied. Ultimately, if you allow this to rock your world, you will end up being unhappy in the process.

Galatians 1:10 was a huge key to unlocking this for me, and I believe it will also set you free. It says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Recognizing that there is only ONE expectation that you truly need to meet will enable you to seek God’s approval instead of the approval of people. If you are measuring up to God’s standards, it doesn’t matter if you fail to meet the expectations of others.

Liz Sarno1Do you remember when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey with crowds of people cheering Him on? One week later, those same people were shouting “crucify him!” The people who are our biggest cheerleaders can turn into our biggest critics when we don’t measure up to what they expect from us. We can’t allow ourselves to be bound by their expectations. Decide that God’s opinion is the only one that matters and choose to live your life according to His standard. Even when you don’t quite measure up, you will never fall short in His eyes.

9 thoughts on “Unlocked: From Expectations

  1. Janelle Keith

    Yes, and amen! So encouraging to read this. When we measure ourselves by others or from ourselves, we will always come up short of God’s glory. His opinion matters most, may nothing take His place or enslave us to the fear of people’s opinions or expectations. This was well written and helps tremendously!

  2. Amy V

    Great post! Even though our church is filled with so many amazing people that I know have my back, it’s still so easy to focus on the 2-3 whose expectations I have not met or that I’ve offended or disappointed in some way. Thank you for this reminder!!

  3. Liz Sarno Post author

    Amy, it’s inevitable that someone somewhere isn’t going to be happy with you, so freeing yourself from the burden of their approval is definitely a wonderful thing! xoxo

  4. Karen Kordon

    Thank you for this word! I remember a lady about 15 years ago telling me the reason her family was leaving was b/c I dressed up a little more on Easter Sunday. She said that if God was worth my best on Easter than He was worth it every Sunday. You would have thought I dressed in tattered clothes any other week.
    Why is it we can recall, (w/ great emotion) almost every hurtful & negative comment thrown our direction, but the supportive & loving comments tend to fade in memory? Shouldn’t give the enemy that power over my mind!

  5. Liz Sarno Post author

    Karen I hear you! I cannot tell you the number of times someone has made thoughtless statements to me that were wounding. Thank God that His call and approval is all we must strive for! xoxo

  6. Natalyne Gilbert

    This is so good and right up my alley! I’m a recovering people pleaser and I’ve had to learn to look to Jesus vs man. Not easy but worth it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 + 15 =