Unmet Expectations Podcast Episodes

Unmet Expectations Part 1  

More often than we would like, our expectations go unmet. Unmet expectations are unique losses that give rise to unique grief. From significant to trivial issues, unmet expectations are all too familiar and commonplace. The first episode of the three-part series will construct an awareness of unmet expectations and an understanding of the loss and associated grief that rise from them.

Question: What is an unmet expectation?

Answer: It is a hope and desire that goes unrealized.

Question: Is an unmet expectation a type of loss?

Answer: Yes, it is a special type of loss called an ambiguous loss.

Question:  What is an ambiguous- loss?

Answer: It is a type of loss that is not obvious to other people.

Question: Should unmet expectations be grieved?

Answer: Yes, such grief is called “disenfranchised grief” because the grief is not linked to an obvious loss that other people can see.

Question: What does grief over unmet expectations look like?

Answer: It looks like grief of all kinds. The cycle may include denial, anger and bargaining. In the end, acceptance is where we want to land.

Question: What challenges do ambiguous-loss and disenfranchised grief pose?

Answer: Knowing when to start grieving and when to stop is sometimes hard to know. Disenfranchised grief lacks the clear closure that open grief has.

Unmet Expectations Part 2   

Solving the problem of unmet expectations is impossible, if the solution requires meeting our expectations. However, if we position unmet expectations in a larger understanding of the gospel, we find them redeemable. Episode two is the second of a three-part series on unmet expectations that carefully lays out this larger understanding.

Question: What are some practical ways to handle unmet expectations?


  • First, reorient yourself to God. Consider His attributes.
  • Second, understand that our world is fallen and therefore will include unmet expectations.
  • Third, find your identity in Christ. Unmet expectations often undermine a healthy self-worth.
  • Fourth, rest in hope: the hope of God’s higher purposes.

Unmet Expectations Part 3

The Bible is full of examples of expectations going unmet. When we peer into these examples we find a common redemptive theme – God uses our failed expectations to meet His expectations for our good and His glory.

Question: What examples do we have in the Scriptures for those who experienced unmet expectations?


  • Job had an unmet expectation regarding the provisions of God.
  • Mary and Martha had an unmet expectation in the healing of Lazarus.
  • David had an unmet expectation when God refused to let him build the temple.
  • Moses had an unmet expectation in not being allowed into the promised land.
  • The disciples had an unmet expectation when Jesus did not win political freedom for the Jews.

Question: What do we learn about unmet expectations from these examples?

Answer: God uses our unmet expectations so that He might exceed them.

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