42 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 17: Expectation versus Reality

We come into the New Year with quite a few expectations on how it will turn out. But when we are faced with the reality of the circumstances, how do we respond?

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Every new year, we talk about “New Year, New Me” which is usually translated to having “New Year resolutions” or New Year goals. Some examples of this for students are having higher grades, not being late in class anymore, etc.

A lot has happened last year and all of us are hoping that this year will be a better year. While having hope is good, we have to be careful not to indulge in false hopes or toxic positivity. We must also consider that our picture of what “better” looks like, our expectations, may not match with what happens in reality.

Our hope should not be anchored in external circumstances. If this year becomes better, may it not be because things around us got better. We hope this year will be better because we have become better at responding to things and in handling the challenges we are going through.

How do we navigate the thought of having hope that this will be a better year, that we can become a better version of ourselves, while not being restricted and limited with the circumstances we are currently in?

Ptr Jeng:
Do not deny reality, but hope in the midst of it.

Face the reality but don’t let the circumstances conclude and define who we are and how we hope again.

Hope is not just wishful thinking of the future or beautiful expectation but hope also makes space for disappointments, the ugly reality and the failures. Hope seems to sound as if it always “feel good” but our hope should also embrace the bad.

How do you draw the line between settling for less and accepting reality?

Ptr Jeng:
It depends on our values and priority and it is better to hope knowing what we value has long term effects in our lives.

For example, a student getting a lower grade than expected in an exam. If the value and priority is to learn, we can just accept the reality of not meeting the expected grade. However, we should still strive to study not just to meet the expected grades, but to put value in learning.

These values fuel our hopes and aspirations and this draws the line between settling for less and accepting reality. Accepting reality will not become settling for less if we still hope that things will get better in the future.

Our hope that things will get better is similar to being in faith. We will not stop and not give up, we will continue to do what God has called us to do because this is an act of faithfulness.

Another unrealistic expectation we have is having a “clean state” or “restart” this year. In reality, the issues we had last year will not just suddenly disappear because there is a change in the year. There are things that will be carried over.

How do we draw the line between wanting to let go of something and building on things that you learned from the past?

Ptr Jeng:
To restart is a good concept but if we think it is to instantly get what we want without seeing what God has in store for us in the past that helped us, we are missing the point. There could be things that got triggered this year that God did not allow to heal or end intentionally. God continued these things because God wants to change us and this gives us hope that God is not yet done with us yet.

What the new year provides is a good momentum to embrace a good beginning. The process of change, transformation and healing takes time so let’s be patient and let’s not give up. God is changing us through seasons from one degree of glory to another.

How do we deal with change in people?

If change is in terms of growth and this caused us to feel left behind, let’s remember that God has plotted different pathways for us. God has placed us in different seasons because we are unique. Be patient and trust the process of God in your life. You are never left behind in the timing of the Lord because you are just right where God has placed you to be in.

Ptr Jeng:
We need to understand that there are things we are responsible for and people are responsible for their own decisions in life which are beyond our control. We can only control and respond to the things we are responsible for. Instead of being reactive, we have to know how to properly respond. Instead of trying to respond to the things we are not responsible for, we should respond to our own responsibility.

Encouragement for the listeners.

Ptr Jeng:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 3:12, NLT)

Don’t run from reality, face it. While facing it, do not lose hope because hope comes from God. This hope defines and molds your values and priorities. This hope makes you see and appreciate the transformation that God is doing in your life. My prayer is that your dreams will be fulfilled and this dream is not just our dream, but also God’s dream for us. Let us continue to hope and expect what God can do in and through us.

Today on Campus is hosted by Dave Estrera and Jello de los Reyes. In this episode, they are joined by the ENC National Director, Jeng Aguinaldo.

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