Getting the wrong impression about someone can ruin your relationship with them. If you have misguided expectations about what they should be doing for you and vice versa, you’re likely to find yourself in a state of discontentment.
Our relationship with God has the potential to bring us endless contentment. But if our expectations of what God should do for us and what we have to do to serve Him are mired by myths and falsehoods, we can soon become dissatisfied and distant.
As Christians, many of us think we have a pretty sound idea of who God is. Our level of understanding will almost always bear a direct relation to how well we’ve read and grasped the messages obtained through His word. But even with an expert biblical knowledge and a strong faith, we can still get things wrong because there is always more to learn about Him. Knowing God is a continual process. For those of us who more urgently need to brush up on our Bible knowledge and improve our awareness of God, the likelihood of misinterpreting His actions and what they tell us about Him is even greater.
Some of us can be all too ready to take credit for the good in our lives but all too easily led to believe that it’s God’s doing when things go wrong. A failure to resist temptation, a tendency to place trust in the wrong things and an inability to see that the “bad” things are all ways that we can architect our own downfall. And they’re not because God’s punishing us or failing to cater to our needs.
God was clear about the realities of being a follower of Christ. Are you clear on what you should expect from Him if you’re for Him, and what you should be doing to serve Him?
Re-acquaint yourself with God’s character
One of the main ways that you can avoid developing false expectations about what God will do for you is by re-acquainting yourself with Him. If you’re getting things wrong about God or making some misinterpretations about the mysterious ways that He’s working in your life, then you need to refresh your memory of exactly who He is. You can do this by spending time with Him one on one, meditating on His words, speaking to Him and, crucially, listening to Him. Your Christian friends can help you on this journey too. Ask them the questions you have about the events in your life and where they place in the context of your relationship with God.
Ask yourself what good can come of that which you deem bad
Just because God is working so that all things will come together for our good, doesn’t mean that we won’t experience some rough patches along the way. Looking past the troubles of the present and fixing your mind on the hope that comes with God in your future is paramount to preventing misdirected anger. On the topic of misdirected anger, it’s also useful to acknowledge your own responsibility in such situations. Have your own actions led certain events to unfold? This is a time to learn from your errors, turn away from them and turn to God.
Make some compromises
This isn’t about bargaining with God, He’s not going to budge on the love your enemies or the repentance stuff, but recognising that you need to let go of some of your aspirations to experience His great love in all its glory. Accept that when Jesus says that God will give you all that your heart desires, He’s not referring to God as a wish-granting genie but someone who knows you and your heart better than you do and works on that basis. It’s not really a compromise at all because what you let go of is of far less value than what God will give you in return.