Expecting the Expected… And Sometimes the Unexpected

Our family just moved to Seattle from California.

Like so many others who are moving at this time of year, especially to a place where we lack familiarity, there are always some surprises. Some of these surprises are welcomed and others are moments of dismay. I have made a short catalog of each:

Welcomed Surprises:

  • Quiet and Cool Weather…with one exception (see below).
  • First Free Methodist Church Is an Exceptionally Welcoming Place & Denomination.
  • Beautiful Surroundings with Great Views of Cascades, Olympics, and The Mountain (Rainer).
  • Lots of Locally Owned Stores/Shops/Eateries.

Dismaying Surprises

  • Broken A/C Unit at Home on the Hottest Day of the Year.
  • Seattle Likes Mass Transit…A Lot. Cars Are Not Welcome.
  • No Flat Lie Anywhere on a Golf Course.
  • Moving into Smaller House and Confronting All Our “Stuff.”

Another way to think of surprises are as expectations; perhaps missed or exceeded. Often, I form an idea in my head or heart of what something or someone is going to be like. My friends will testify how well I form my own expectations.

Expectations are strange ideas between people in relationships. Did we expect a surprise from our spouse on our birthday? Did we expect to impress a co-worker with our project only to find we fell short? Have you ever bought WAY too much food for a party?

I had a therapist friend share with me years ago (nod to Dr. Eugene Whitney) that the way most people learn someone else’s expectations are by not meeting them. Truth. Communication is the key. Had I known my A/C was not working, I would have arranged to have it serviced much sooner!

During these long days of the summer months, we may find ourselves spending more time with loved ones through vacations or other outings. Consider these steps to adjust your expectations:

  1. Know your own expectations. Are they realistic? Hopeful? Pessimistic?
  2. Communicate what you expect. Remember, others are not mind-readers.
  3. Deal openly with missed expectations. Convey joy when your expectations are exceeded.
  4. Use expectations to build trust, mutual respect, and spiritual intimacy.

The Greek word for “hope” in the New Testament is best translated as “expectation.” 1 Peter 3:15 powerfully illustrates some of the truths I have shared here. “Whoever asks you to speak of your hope (expectation), be ready to defend it.” (CEB) The writer of Hebrews offers a slightly different nuance, “Faith is the reality of what we hope for (expect), the proof of what we don’t see.” Hebrews 11:1 (CEB).

In all of the ups and downs of missed or exceeded expectations, we can be certain that we follow a God revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ who has made expectations clear to us each day and for eternity. Jesus Christ is the hope (expectation) of the world! May we follow this Lord Jesus in all our own expectations.


Rev. Dr. Craig Brown

Lead Pastor