Expectation Management

wpid-img_3346.jpgI didn’t watch the Oscars this year, but I did hear about the major goof at the end.  How embarrassing and hurtful that must have been to many who were already on stage. In light of that event, today’s article in “Topical Tuesdays” explores some ways and reasons we can or should handle dashed expectations as followers of the Lord Jesus.

As I’ve stated in earlier editions, this article is also part of my weekly email as a Chaplain to my Army unit.   I offer these non-religious reads to them praying that they will want more and might view the hyperlinked Christian Resilience videos that I also send to them.  For this explicitly Christian ministry blog, I am including specific discussion prompts and related Scriptures to encourage your faith and service to the Lord Jesus.


Before you read on, consider the following.

  • Chapters 6 and 7 in the Gospel of John reveal several expectations that others had of Jesus’ ministry before His death and resurrection.  What were some of those expectations, and how did He respond?
  • Elaborate on some of His explicit or implicit reasons for each response.
  • How does God’s Word tell us to respond to others’ expectations? (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36, John 21:18-19, Romans 13:1-10, 2 Timothy 4:1-8, 1 Peter 4:1-6,
  • Given the Scriptures above, how would you summarize the Lord’s priorities?


‘Moonlight’ gets the Oscar after a mix-up for the ages

“Expectation Management” by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (28 February 2017)


The Academy Awards highlight many achievements in film, but the highest probably comes at the end of evening with the award for Best Picture.  This year Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were privileged to announce that prestigious moment.  “La La Land was heavily favored for having won so many Golden Globes only a few weeks earlier.  When Ms. Dunaway handed the envelope to her former co-star of “Bonnie and Clyde”, Mr. Beatty looked at the card, paused, and looked back at her.  After several awkward seconds, she announced “La La Land” as the winner.  “Producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt and Fred Berger gave heartfelt acceptance speeches, spreading the thank-yous like flower petals, stage manager Gary Natoli rushed on stage. Confusion reigned. And then Horowitz announced the unthinkable:  There had been a mistake. “La La Land” wasn’t the best picture winner. “Moonlight” was.”  Somebody made a boo-boo.  (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-en-mn-gold-standard-oscars-newsletter-20170227-story.html)  The picture above shows Horowitz graciously displaying the proof on the card.

As far as I’ve heard so far, all parties of both films have been very kind toward each other and toward the administrative staff of the Academy Awards.  But the looks on some of their faces clearly show some hurt.  How our expectations are fulfilled or dashed can send us soaring or crashing…or both.

There’s no getting around forming some expectations.  It’s one way we prepare ourselves emotionally and practically.  Whether we’re forecasting success or doom, anticipating a specific outcome prompts us to lean in one direction more than others.  Depending on how long we’ve been waiting, the importance we’ve assigned it, and the visibility to others we respect, we might lean a little or a lot in one direction.  Winning is easy.  Let’s talk about helping others through times of disappointment.

From time to time, all of us experience disappointments in finances, careers, relationships, etc.  But it doesn’t have to end in depression, bitterness, or hanging up our hopes.  Here are some ways to help.

  • Help your loved one or friend invest their identity, purpose, and value in many things, not just a few. If their eggs are spread out in many baskets, when one gets dropped they still have plenty of hope.
  • If they have an unrealistic dream, be an honest but gentle broker. Consider asking some leading questions to guide their conclusions.  “What percentage of high school athletes make the NFL?”
  • If their expectation depends on people or a system that you know to be unfair or unpredictable, you may need to be even bolder. “I can tell you from experience that very few people make it in ________.  What’s your plan B, C, and D?”  That communicates their need to develop options.  You might also help them explore some of those options or suggest some based on their basic goals.
  • Point out some specific realistic positives that resulted from some of your disappointments.
  • When a mutual friend has been disappointed, take them with you to just sit and listen. Friendship in times of failure is most powerful when it is unexpected.  And it is most truly revealed in times of loss.


If you’re interested in other posts from this series, “Topic Tuesdays”, you can subscribe to this blog.

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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.


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