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Expectations or Expectancy

by Ava Pennington

Have you recently experienced frustration? Something or someone irritated you?  Plans didn’t go your way? That seems to be happening to me more as of late.

I get annoyed at the increased seasonal traffic in south Florida. I’m frustrated by people who don’t follow through on what they said they would do. I’m irritated by circumstances that cause me to make two separate trips to purchase the same item. But what if the cause of the irritation is not external at all?

What if I’m the cause of my own frustration? Someone once said “the level of your frustration is directly related to the level of your expectations.” Ouch.

So the real cause of my own grief is most likely…me. Knowing we live in a broken world, why do I go through life expecting people to respond perfectly? Especially when I know don’t! Understanding that our little town experiences a population surge during the winter season, why do I get annoyed at the increased traffic?

Failing to take the time to plan properly, why am I surprised that one task requires multiple trips to the store?

Unrealistic expectations.

Expectations grounded in reality as I want it to be, rather than the way it is. Ancient Israel had a similar problem. Their expectations of the coming Messiah were based on cherry-picked prophecies. The sad result was that they didn’t recognize Him when He did come. They were so busy looking for a victorious military leader that they missed the Suffering Servant who came to redeem humanity. So what’s the answer?

I believe the answer for a Christian is to live expectantly. To live expectantly is to live in without setting specific expectations or demands on what that will look like. Living expectantly allows us to recognize where the Holy Spirit might be moving in areas we would not normally look for Him. And it communicates that we are satisfied with whatever the Lord does, allows, or gives—without comparing it to our own agenda or shopping list.

Those who live expectantly have the privilege of living out a truth understood by martyred missionary Jim Elliot: “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him.”

Will you join me?

Together, let’s put aside our expectations and live in daily expectancy for how God will show Himself active in our life. And as He does, share your experiences with others to increase their own sense of expectancy.“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3 ESV).

Let’s talk about this: How are you living expectantly?

About the Author: Ava Pennington is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. She’s also a freelance editor, and a certified coach for writers and speakers, and she teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class.

Ava is the author of Reflections on the Names of God: 180 Devotions to Know God More Fully (Revell Books, 2022), an abridged gift book edition of the one-year devotional, Daily Reflections on the Names of God. Three devotions for each name/attribute explore who God is, and how this changes us and our relationships. Visit her at to learn more.

Called to Be With God (Isaiah 8:8) Your Daily Bible Verse

Today’s Bible Verse: "and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel." – Isaiah 8:8   Want to listen without the ads? Become a PLUS Member today:   MEET OUR HOSTS:   JENNIFER SLATTERY is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at   Follow Jennifer:    CAROL MCCRACKEN is a Christian communicator who teaches women Biblical truths through real-life application and humor to connect them to their God-given purpose. Carol has been a Bible teacher for twenty years and served on church staff and in women's ministry for three decades.   Follow Carol:   REVEREND DR. KYLE NORMAN is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at,,, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.   Follow Rev. Kyle:   JOY A. WILLIAMS is a writer and speaker who is amazed her first name became her life’s mission. As life happens in ways that baffle us or bring us joy, she loves exploring how those moments can bring us closer to God.  She is a member of the “First 5” writing team at Proverbs 31 ministries. As a licensed minister, she serves as a teacher for the Women’s Bible Study and the Married Couples Ministry at her church.  Joy is a wife and mother and she shares encouragement on the “Joy to the Soul” blog.  Subscribe to receive the newest posts and updates at   Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest   Read Joy’s 7-day Bible reading plans: “Live Your Joy Story” and “When Easy Doesn’t Live Here: Living by Faith When Life Is Hard” on the YouVersion Bible app.   JESSICA VAN ROEKEL loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She is the author of Reframing Rejection: How Looking Through a Different Lens Changes Everything.   Jessica and her husband have two adult daughters spreading their wings, and two high schoolers, a son and daughter, fluttering their wings as they edge closer to the nest. Connect with her at and   GRACE FOX is the award-winning author of 13 books, a popular Bible teacher at international women’s events, and a member of the “First 5” Bible study writing team (Proverbs 31 Ministries). She’s also been a career missionary for more than 30 years.   She and her husband have served in Nepal, at a year-round Christian camp on an island off Canada’s west coast, and currently co-direct International Messengers Canada, a missionary sending agency with 300 staff in 30 countries. They live fulltime aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, they celebrate three grown kids and 13 grandchildren.   Learn about Grace’s books and subscribe to her free resources at   Follow her: Learn more about ministry opportunities with International Messengers:   Discover more Christian podcasts at and inquire about advertising opportunities at
  1. Called to Be With God (Isaiah 8:8)
  2. The Scepter of Judah (Genesis 49:10)
  3. Who Is Melchizedek, Anyway? (Genesis 14:18)
  4. What Is Jesus' Heart Like For Us? (Isaiah 42:3)
  5. Our Divine Call This Christmas (Genesis 12:3)

Quote from John Ortberg on not missing out through living rushed and distracted

Is What Feels Urgent God’s Leading

By Kathy Howard

(This post first appeared on Kathy Howard’s website.)

My mother used to tell a story about me to which most moms of young children can relate. One day, when she ran into the bathroom for just a moment, I immediately began knocking on the door, demanding her attention. In frustration, she said “Can’t I get just a little privacy?” To her surprise, the knocking stopped and briefly all was quiet. Soon I was knocking again, but with a new message. “Mommy, I looked in my toy box, but I couldn’t find any privery!” 

Like the endless, urgent entreaties of a toddler on a frazzled mother’s time, we also experience constant demands on our limited time. Our daily 24 hours are gobbled up by family responsibilities, work, household duties, and more. Some demands we can control, forcing them into our timetable. Others scream for attention until we give it, like knee-high grass in the yard or an overflowing laundry basket. 

This phenomenon, commonly referred to as the “tyranny of the urgent,” steals valuable time from the more polite, but more important things. Sometimes we can’t avoid temporarily setting aside the important to deal with something that cannot be put off another minute. But all too often we allow the seemingly urgent to push out the important because we fail to purposefully prioritize the important.

Jesus Defeated the Tyranny of the Urgent

Jesus experienced constant demands on His time and attention. The tyranny of the urgent was always a threat. For instance, in the Gospel of Mark, we learn that Jesus couldn’t openly enter a town to teach because He would be overwhelmed by crowds of people who wanted something from Him (Mark 1:35). So Jesus intentionally worked to make room for the most important things.

When Jesus first began His ministry in Galilee, everyone in Capernaum wanted to get close to Him. So, after an overwhelmingly hectic day in ministry, Jesus rose early to get away and spend time alone with His Father. “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35 ESV). (Also see “8 Tips for Moving Quiet Time from “Want To” to “Get To and “11 Tips for Spending Quality Quiet Time with God.“)

When His disciples woke and discovered Jesus gone, they went looking for Him. Their search was not mere concern for Jesus’ welfare. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary the Greek word Mark used that’s translated as “searched,” “looked for,” or “followed after” means to intensively track and persistently search with a determination to find. The disciples didn’t merely wonder where Jesus had gotten off to, they were a bit indignant that He wasn’t conforming to their timetable. After all, the crowds back in town clamored for His presence. (Mark 1:37).

We can Follow Jesus’ Example

Sometimes we also feel that indignant hostility from the things that pull at our attention. But rather than simply throwing our hands up in surrender, we can follow Jesus’ example. After a busy, draining evening and with more of the same ahead, Jesus intentionally did two things. 

First, He spent time with the Father by slipping beyond the reach of the urgent to commune with the only One who could provide everything He needed. He set the urgent aside to embrace the important.

Second, Jesus established His priorities and voiced them to those in His circle. Jesus clearly and firmly told the disciples that the Father had sent Him to take the Gospel message to those who needed it. “And he said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.’” Mark 1:38

He would fulfill that purpose first and meet the physical needs of the people as He went. And we can follow Jesus’ example. Let’s establish our priorities, voice them to those close to us, and ask God to help us keep the important at the top of our list.

Yes, some days the time tyrant will win. But most days, with a little discipline and a lot of Jesus, we can defeat the tyranny of the urgent and use the time the Father has given us for His glory. 

This post was excerpted from “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark.”

Get to Know Kathy Howard:

About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. She is the author of 12 books, including “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” and the “meaty” devotional series “Deep Rooted.”

Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and one accidental dog. Find free discipleship resources at

Check out her book, Deep Rooted: Growing Through the Book of Romans

Have you lost the wonder of your salvation? Maybe you’ve forgotten the abundant riches of God’s grace. The Gospel isn’t just a statement of faith. It is more than hope for eternity. The Gospel of Jesus is the power of God for your life today. Recapture the awe of your life in Christ with this 40-day pilgrimage: Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Romans.

Breaking Body Image Shame With Rachael Gilbert Faith Over Fear

Do all the parties, cookie exchanges, and holiday meals this time of year prick your insecurities and create anxiety? Do you find yourself simultaneously enjoying home-baked treats and calculating how many hours at the gym each bite will cost? More importantly, do you ever long for the day when you don't stress about your body? In our photo-shopped, filtered, social media culture, is that even possible? Faith Over Fear guest Rachael Gilbert, author of Image Restored, says yes and shares her inside out approach to learning to feel comfortable in our skin, whatever shape it encompasses.  (Scroll down for discussion/reflective questions.) Resource Mentioned: Image Restored: Tear Down Shame and Insecurity to Experience a Body Image Renovation.  Connect with Rachael Gilbert: On her website On Instagram On Facebook On her Amazon Author Page Find Jennifer Slattery: On her website Instagram Facebook Amazon Find Wholly Loved: On their website Join the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group  Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Facebook Group Discussion/Reflective Questions: What resonated with you most in this episode? What body image messages have you absorbed from your social circle? What body image messages have you received from generations before you? How often do you put your thoughts "on trial"? How often do you check your negative thinking against the truth of Scripture? In what ways might a negative body image be impacting your relationships How might your life change were you to feel confident in your skin? What is one action step God might be asking you to take, having listened to this episode? Discover more Christian podcasts at and inquire about advertising opportunities at
  1. Breaking Body Image Shame With Rachael Gilbert
  2. Facing Opposition – Experiencing Jesus
  3. Strength to Thrive Despite Opposition
  4. How God Prepares Us to Face Opposition
  5. When Obedience Leads to Hostility – Standing Strong Amidst Opposition P. 1