Written by: Katie Hess

I want to share a few pieces of “advice” my husband & I were given before we got married, during my pregnancy & throughout the first few months of my daughter’s life. (Please don’t check out if marriage, pregnancy, or babies aren’t relevant to you right now. This isn’t all about that, I promise!) The advice went something like this…

“Marriage is great and all, but it’s really hard!”

“You know an easy pregnancy means a hard labor!”

“You might not want to get your hopes up for the next pregnancy…”

“The first year of marriage is the hardest!” (After this one we’d respond by saying how great our first year was, & then that was met with, “Oh, well the first five years are the hardest!”)

“Have you guys fought yet?”… “Nope!”… “Well, you will!”

“It’s not always this easy.”

“Just wait until you hit the next stage…” (*said in an ominous tone*)

“An easy first child means a wild second child!”

“You got lucky this time.”

How are you feeling after reading all of those? Probably not super encouraged, right? When hearing this kind of advice, it’s really hard to not feel discouraged or to let your expectations of what’s to come become negative. My husband, Brian, & I found ourselves literally bracing for the impact of negative advice after a while because it seemed like that was a majority of what we were receiving. But it really got me thinking, & I decided to start asking the Lord about all of these things. My question to Him concerning all of these statements was, “WHY?”

Why is there so much negativity surrounding marriage and pregnancy? Why does marriage have to be hard? Why does it seem like it was decided that the rule for everyone is that an easy pregnancy means a hard labor? Why, so often, do we have the expectation that things will be difficult the next time around if they were easy the first time? Why is it that when things go smoothly we think, “Oh, I just got lucky.” Why are we constantly finding ourselves preparing for something bad to happen? New levels, new devils, right? *insert face palm*

WRONG. Here are some of the truths that the Lord pointed me to when I was asking all of these questions. 

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for GOOD & not for disaster, to give you a future & a HOPE.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply EVERY NEED of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

Proverbs 10:28 “The HOPE of the righteous brings JOY, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us WITH CONFIDENCE draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy & find grace to help in time of need.”

These are just a few of many verses that tell us to have HOPE & to EXPECT goodness to come from our Heavenly Father! He is love, & He is GOOD. He is for us & not against us. So as believers, have we forgotten these truths or have we unknowingly fallen into a pattern of thinking that doesn’t actually line up with what the Word says?  Of course I know that the Bible also talks a fair amount about suffering & trials & struggles, but personally, I don’t think that Jesus was beaten & died on the cross so that we could expect our lives to be hard & constantly worry that if things happened to be good this time around that they’ll be terrible next time around.

I think that our Kingdom thinking has been deceived & stripped away by what many people refer to as “just being realistic.” Our God is the God of impossible things, not the God of “being realistic.” As children of God, our lives are supposed to look different, & I would even argue unrealistic. We’re called to walk in favor. We are called to higher places. We are called the light of the world. So what sets us apart?

The answer to that question is many things, but I think a huge part of what sets us apart from the world are our expectations & our thought patterns. These two things have such a huge impact on our realities. Here’s a simple example… Imagine you wake up in the morning & before even putting your feet on the ground, you start to complain & grumble about how terrible this day is going to be. Odds are, your day is going to be pretty terrible because you’ve approached the day with a negative mindset. On the other hand, if you wake up & decide to partner with the Lord, agree with Him that the day is going to be amazing & claim the favor that is already available for you, then not a lot can stand in the way of your joy!

Here’s a real life testimony of mine of some positive expectations coming to life… When Brian & I found out we were pregnant, we decided right in that moment that we were going to speak life & health over my pregnancy & declare all the good things over our baby girl. We commanded any fear & feelings of doubt to leave in Jesus’ name & we stubbornly refused to accept any negativity having anything to do with our baby. So anytime things like I shared with you above were said, we would kindly say, “Oh, we actually don’t receive that,” (Sometimes out loud & sometimes just to each other, depending on the situation). & what do you know, I had an incredibly easy pregnancy! No complications. I slept well throughout the whole 10 months, I was only sick for a few days in the beginning, & I felt amazing. Brian & I never felt any fear concerning our baby’s health & we didn’t allow doubt to be a part of our lives. Even more importantly, our daughter, Norah, arrived perfectly healthy. She is a super content & fun baby. She’s seven & a half months old now, hasn’t been sick once, & she is one of the most consistently joyful human beings I have ever met in my entire life.

It’s real you guys! Our expectations are SO important! If my pregnancy & birth story taught me anything, (which it really taught me a million things) it taught me that God is so REAL & He hears us when we pray & declare things over ourselves & our situations! And like I said before, whatever situation you’re in right now, the same victory can be yours!

When we have positive expectations that God is with us & He will come through, we are giving the Lord permission to bless us, prosper us & lavish us with his blessings & goodness. When we have negative expectations, we are actually choosing to partner with doubt & fear, which gives the enemy authority to work in our lives. 

So, how do we avoid giving the enemy a foothold & instead step into Kingdom thinking & align our expectations with what the Lord has promised us? I’ve put together a few tips that might help get us on the right track:

START SMALL - Don’t feel like you have to completely revolutionize your thinking overnight. 

DECLARE, DECLARE, DECLARE - Declare the goodness of the Lord over your life. Whether it’s scripture, prophetic words, or simply saying “It’s going to be a great day!” Your words have power! If you want to see a change, speak it out!

MOVE ON - Stop wallowing in negative past experiences & instead cling to & believe in the hope that is in our Jesus!

PRAY WITH EXPECTATION TO RECEIVE - And pray into things that seem “too good to be true.” Since when has anything from the Father had limitations? 

MAKE A DREAM LIST WITH THE LORD - Write down things that you would love to have happen in your life, then re-visit it & add to it often.

ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN THEIR EXPECTATIONS - If you hear someone talking down about themselves or their situations, speak into the opposite. It’s easier to be kind to yourself when you’re kind to others.

GET THE LORD’S INPUT -If you’re having trouble finding a good expectation towards something, ask the Lord what He thinks about it.

“I DON’T RECEIVE THAT” - If negative advice/expectations come your way, politely say, “I don’t receive that.” 

EXPECT BLESSING - Stop waiting on the next bad thing to happen & instead wait on the blessings that our Father has promised us.

READ THE WORD - His book is full of amazing expectations & positive declarations that, as His children, we can claim as our own.

The only thing that can hold you back from the incredible love & blessings that the Lord has set out for you is yourself, so get out of your own way & expect Him to do what He does best. Expect goodness. Expect undying love. Expect friendship. Expect what the world says is “impossible”. 

Like what you’ve read, or looking for more information, posts or connection? Give Katie a follow on instagram at @ktiris2