Once upon a time… I expected a lot from those around me.
I expected my husband to always be thinking of me - 24/7. I expected my children to always be perfect and challenge free. I expected the Pastor to always want to talk to me. I expected my friends to always be available and I expected my work colleagues to always consider me. My always expectations were not limited to my external world. I had some pretty fanciful anticipations for myself as well.
As lovely as this fairy-tale would have been, it was just that - a fairy-tale.
The non-fiction version was stark by comparison and lead to constant disappointment,
frustration, and often wound up in comparison. These emotions wrote themselves onto
each new page of my life in a never-ending diatribe that left me wary of others and just
Then one day I realised the problem. The only person responsible for filling my story with
unhappiness was me. Not my husband, children, pastor, friends or colleagues. It was all me!
It was not their responsibility to meet my expectations. Wowser! I mean, how could it be?
Unless God has blessed us with mindreading skills, my expectations were mine and they
were unrealistic. I had created a monster that was holding me (and everyone else)
emotionally hostage. It dawned on me that most of the conflict in my relationships had
You see, the problem was that I expected people to do for me what only God can. No
wonder I had issues! It is only God that is thinking of me 24/7, “You know when I sit and
when I rise” (Psalm 139:2), and only God is perfect, “Good and upright is the Lord” (Psalm
25:8), and only God wants to talk to me all the time, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). Only God is always available, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), and only God fully considers me, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book” (Psalm 139:16).
Did you know that Father God has a book that he writes for us? This book is better than any we could ever write, it goes beyond our expectations. His book overflows with love and
goodness. It can’t be anything less when he is the author. Yes, there are the challenges,
there are the dramatic and the devastating moments, but he, the greatest narrator of all,
will ensure that it “all works together for the good of those who love him, who are called
according to his purposes.” (Romans 8:28)
I began to follow Paul’s wise words in Colossians and set my heart and mind on heavenly
things. I aligned my expectations with his revealed word; imbibing his compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience. I allowed love, his love of me and my love of him, to be
the greatest emotion of all in my story and I found it true that it binds us together in perfect
unity (Colossians 3:1-2;12- 14).
I stopped seeing relationships as something I needed to receive from and started seeing
them as something I could give too. Out of an overflow of the Father’s love for me I could
think of others, I could talk to others, I could be available for others. All the things I
expected from them, I could offer to them – not out of self but as an excess of my heavenly
The day I decided to stop writing my story and I handed Father God the pen, I began to see
a change. A change in my relationships and a change in me. I stopped punishing myself and those I loved for not fulfilling what only God could fulfil. I began to trust God. I trusted that even if the story wasn’t going the way I wanted, it was ok, because the greatest author of all time, the one who began the story would finish it; that he had something amazing waiting at the turn of the page.
For some time now he has written my story and the more I allow him too, the greater the
story becomes. I have never been disappointed; His authorship over my life is well and truly
beyond my wildest expectations.
Charissa Steffens has a background in education, business, and publishing. She is married to David and has two beautiful children. She is passionate about strengthening the Body of Christ through the spoken and written word and through her role as an Elder at Nexus Church.