High Expectations and Idolatry – Session Three
High Expectations and Idolatry – Session Three
In this session explore the danger of having very high expectations and how that can translate in your prayer life into idolatry.
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From the book….setting the scene

Back in the day, when our parents or grandparents were deciding who to marry, there was far less dating. They just picked someone. Someone who could offer stability. A suitable match based on faith, geography and finances. These days we still want compatibility on those levels, but they also have to be our best friend. They have to dress well and get on with our friends and enjoy the same activities and not pronounce words weirdly and eat with their mouth closed and not smoke and be close (but not too close) with their family and be open to owning a dog at some point in the future.

In my years BC, I took myself off to The School of Life in North London for a seminar called ‘How To Make Decisions’. The main takeaway from the session was: the more options you have, the harder it is to choose. I continued researching, and not only do more options make it harder for you to choose but, according to Barry Schwartz’s TED Talk, ‘The paradox of choice’ (2005), they also reduce your level of satisfaction with the choice you eventually make. This could mean that, having made a decision, when you realize that choice isn’t absolutely perfect (and what in life is?), it’s too easy to run through the array of options you turned down and imagine them to be superior. This regret retracts from the option you went for, whether it was good or not. Barry Schwartz explains this is because the more options you have, the higher your expectations are for the one you pick.

Expectations are a killer. In recovery, they say ‘expectations are resentments in the making’. Perhaps it’s time to be realistic and take another look at the options you have rather than expanding your database. With this in mind, here’s your challenge: if you had no way of meeting anyone new and adding to your pool of potential suitors – who would you ask out? Pop a bookmark in this page and drop them a line . . .

Is love addiction a thing?

MEGAN: There’s no doubt in my mind that love addiction is real. I wouldn’t say that I was a year and a half ‘sober’ from love addiction if I didn’t truly believe that. I was consumed by the idea that I had to have someone else there so I wouldn’t be alone. It’s drummed into us as children that you’re not successful if you don’t have a house, a husband, a child and a good job. I felt like, if I didn’t have one of those things, there was something wrong with me. I believed that if I met someone, all my problems would be shared. If I had someone there, suddenly I would be OK. In every new relationship I got these tremendous highs. I felt like this was finally going to be it. I would say things like, “It’s you and me against the world” and, “You’re my everything”. I honestly thought all the issues we had would be OK if we were together. The deeper I went with that person, the more I felt like I was on a high. I would share my innermost thoughts, knowing this is the person I’ll be with for the rest of my life. I’ll never be alone. I’ll never have to experience loneliness or pain. There’ll always be someone there . . .


Bible Verse

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Exodus 20:3-4 (ESV)

As marriage is the expected ‘life goal’ in the Church single people have huge expectations of what a relationship should look like. Sometimes you can end up with such a list of expectations that you are waiting for a fantasy partner and fantasy feeling of love. However, there is no such thing as a perfect partner or relationship. In reality you choose someone you can build a life together with. It takes commitment and hard work – it is a journey not a destination.

God doesn’t always give us a ‘zap’ moment to answer our prayer. God offers a slow change and the right tools to use to along the journey to the answered prayer. Maybe God is telling you to take action and use the tools given to you to answer your prayers.

Sometimes as we wait for an answered prayer we can get so caught up that it becomes and idol. Anything that takes centre stage in our lives and puts God to one side poses a threat of becoming an idol.

Discussion and Questions

  1. Is there any prayer you are so convinced God will answer with a ‘zap’ that you are ignoring the tools He is offering?
  2. What unnecessary expectation is God telling you to let go of today?
  3. Is there anything you have made an idol of in your life? Is your focus on that thing affecting your decisions or even your standards?