Trusting God With Your Broken Expectations

woman hiking through hills with backpack | Article on Broken Expectations: How to Trust God When Life Takes an Unexpected Detour

A Guest Blog by Cailin Davis | Edited by Yvonne Novak

My parents divorced when I was just three years old.

Although I was too young to understand the gravity of such an event, my immature heart still felt the pain of their brokenness and the fear of my powerlessness to put them back together again.

During my childhood years, I prayed that God would make a way for my parents to be reunited.

Every day, I prayed that prayer with fervency and expectation.

I reasoned that since I was praying for a good thing, God would surely make it come to pass.

He didn’t.

Instead, my questions were met with crushing silence.

I blamed my parents.
I blamed myself.
I blamed God.

But confirmation of who the fault belonged to never came. There was only the realization of what was.

The broken expectations that I angrily blamed on God became a catalyst for my faith.Click To Tweet

Shattering Silence & Broken Expectations

I’ve always struggled to trust God in the midst of painful circumstances and broken expectations.

For years, I’d questioned and sought a reason for them.

No matter what I did, broken expectations continued to surface. Until one day in my late teens, I experienced a disappointment that was deeper than any I’d ever felt before.

I told God that my questions could not go unanswered this time.

I believed with all of my heart that He would answer me, until that familiar silence met me once again.

Uninvited questions pushed their way into my brain:

“How did I get here?”
“Why is God letting this happen to me?”
“What am I supposed to do now?

My life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to gothe way I’d once expected it to. How could I continue to trust in the silence?

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Gentle Guidance & Learning to Trust

Most of us begin grappling with God for the right to control our lives at a young age.

We fill our minds full of unfounded expectations and baseless assumptions of what our lives should look like.

Then, when our dream life fails to materialize, we question and blame God.

That day, in my late teens, I watched as the picture of what I thought my life should look like was torn apart and its fragile frame was broken.

The shards of those broken expectations pierced my heart, deflating my happiness and making me wonder if peace would ever come again.

But when I started to cry out to God, I felt a small light of hope rise up within me.

Confusion and disappointment still racked my senses, but underneath it all, I felt peace—a simple assurance that God was with me.

I had no idea about the journey that God was about to take me on or how He was going to heal my broken heart.

I just knew that everything would eventually be okay.

When we let go of the things we cannot control and willingly give Jesus the parts of ourselves that are broken, we will discover the peace that passes all understanding.Click To Tweet

The broken expectations that I angrily blamed on God became a catalyst for my faith.

If He hadn’t allowed my expectations to be broken, I may have never realized my need for growth in Him.

If He hadn’t allowed stormy circumstances to rock the boat of my faith, I may have never discovered the true peace that can always be found in Him.

When we allow God to take control, He takes us on a journey meant to gently redirect our stubborn will.

As we seek Him, He instructs us through His Word and in the gentle whispers of His Holy Spirit, teaching us how to find peace in the midst of disappointments by aligning our expectations with His will.

woman hiking by waterfalls with arms outstretched feeling free | Article on Broken Expectations: How to Trust God When Life Takes an Unexpected Detour

Here are 3 key things I learned about how to trust God in the midst of broken expectations.

1. Stop Looking Around

God has created each one of us for a unique purpose.

But that purpose is difficult to find when our vision is clouded by a haze of envy and insecurity.

We become so distracted by pursuing blessings and talents given to others that we fail to recognize the ones that God has designed specifically for us.

It is easy to become disappointed when we compare our lives to the lives of others.

We become discontent and discouraged when we see what others have and what we feel, we lack.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we should base our expectations on Him alone. Click To Tweet

But the Bible tells us clearly that rather than trying to mimic the lives of others, we are called to emulate the characteristics of Christ.

II Corinthians 10:12 says, “those who compare themselves among themselves are not wise.”  Hebrews 12:2 tells us to instead to look to Jesus.

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we should base our expectations on Him alone.

As we seek the Lord through prayer and His Word, the light of His Truth will free us from comparison and the dangers of its expectations.

It’s time to stop looking around, and instead, look up.

hiking woman with arms outstretched on a hill as the wind blows around her | Article on Broken Expectations: How to Trust God When Life Takes an Unexpected Detour

2. Accept Who You Are

The light that helps us safely navigate the stormy waters of comparison is the same light that illuminates our heart.

That beautiful light of God’s truth reveals the closed, dusty doors that lead to the parts of ourselves that we’d rather keep hiddenthose old, forgotten closets full of shame, doubt, and painful memories.

They are the doors that no one wants to open. When we see them, our pride begs us to turn away.

But God beckons us to stay and face them.

He knows that we are broken people, born in sin and riddled with weakness.

Nothing is hidden from Him.

In Psalm 139:1-4, David reminds us that God knows and understands everything about us.

  • He is the one who knows us completely and loves us wholly.
  • He wants to banish the lies that tell us that our imperfections have made us unlovable.
  • He wants to dispel the fear that grips us, screaming that we are not enough.
  • He wants to show us who we are in spite of it all.

Romans 8:12 assures us that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. His love for us was enough for Him to die, and that same love is enough for us to live.

With Jesus, we are enough.

Jesus love for us was enough for Him to die, and that same love is enough for us to live. Click To Tweet

So let’s follow His example and accept who we are in Him.

By doing so, we can safely open those once-hidden doors of our heart and allow the light of His truth to transform everything within, releasing us from the bondage of broken expectations.

Once we align our expectations for ourselves with His will, we can begin our journey on sure footing.

Many of us begin grappling with God for the right to control our lives at a young age. We fill our minds full of unfounded expectations and baseless assumptions of what our lives should look like. Then, when our dream life fails to materialize, our hearts are filled with disappointment and we question and blame God. Here are 3 simple steps to help you trust God in the midst of broken expectations and discover the peace that passes all understanding.

3. Let Go of What Is Not Yours

When we come to faith in Jesus, we surrender our will to His and lay the burden of our sin at His feet.

But after a few miles of traveling, many of us will find ourselves weighed down with burdens. And once again we shoulder the heavy loads that we were never meant to carry.

Jesus invites us to surrender frequently throughout our journey, but He never forces us to do so.

He always gives us the choice. We must learn to willingly let go.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus invites us to surrender, but He never forces us to do so.Click To Tweet

The Lord wants us to be free from broken expectations that cause pain and sorrow to weigh heavy on our soul.

He lived, died, and rose again to give us an opportunity to experience that freedom.

When we let go of the things we can’t control and willingly give Him the parts of ourselves that are broken, we will discover the peace that passes all understanding.

Instead of looking to others or ourselves and finding broken expectations, we can look to Jesus and find everlasting peace.

– Cailin Davis


Bio Photo of Cailin Davis

Cailin Davis is a wife of a loving and patient husband, an advocate for positive thinking, a proponent of truth, a believer in authenticity, and, most recently, a Hope*Writer.

Cailin blogs at Purposefully Portioned, where she encourages and inspires women to hold to God’s promises as together we learn to live the purposefully portioned life that He has designed for each of us.

You can find her on social media on Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter.


ARTICLE CURATED BY:  Yvonne Novak and Neely Beattie