I’ve been having  some intriguing conversations lately about the difference between hopes and expectations.   Last year I wrote about the difference between unmet hopes and unmet expectations.   These recent conversations had a different focus though.

One of the people I was talking with said expectations are always bad, while hope is always good.

I don’t agree.  I do agree  that when I’m too invested in the end result of what I’m hoping for or expecting ~ I’m often disappointed.  Disappointment can feel bad.  I don’t think it’s bad, though.

Another person told me that hopes are spiritual and expectations are worldly.  Can’t completely agree with that either.  Many of my hopes feel very, um, worldly.

When I look up the definitions of hope and expect,  it’s no surprise that they’re very similar.  Ugh.  So that didn’t help much.

Even after all of the conversations and research, I can’t quite put my finger on the difference.  I know they FEEL different though.  Physically, when I hope, my hands are open.  When I expect, my hands are clenched (and there’s often the stomping of a foot involved).

What’s the difference between hope and expect to you?


4 thoughts on “hope-v-expect

  1. Interesting question to start off my day…particularly since I just found out the daughter of a friend was diagnonsed with leukemia on Monday and is starting chemo today. Lots of hope and expectation going on there, let me tell you!!!!

    After reading the definitions, I’m hoping (there is that word…..) I can provide an articulate explanation of my view on the matter!

    It seems to me that expectation involves a sense of what I want to happen WILL happen. When I have an expectation of something, I pretty much know it will happen as I anticipate.

    On the other hand, when I HOPE for something to happen, I am not at all certain of the outcome. It is a 50-50 or less chance that things will go as I would like. In HOPE, I have no sense of anticipation of an intended outcome.

    Simply put: Expectation seems to be like making a pretty sure bet at a horse race and Hope is like a playing roulette.

    In my prayers, expectation prayers are usually “please let such and such happen and thanks in advance for doing so”. Hope prayers are left in the hands of my God: “please give so and so the strength to face what is coming and to see Your plan in action”.

    So, I guess I feel I have some control over expectation but I trust in God with my hopes. Which brings me back to your hands analogy, Lisa. When I have an expectation, my hands are clenched and there is no room for anything other than what I want. When I hope, my hands are wide open and I’m “open” to all that can occur.

    Thanks for making me think this morning! And I HOPE everyone has a great day! (Which includes accomplishing all that we expect to do today!)

  2. More about expectation: I never EXPECTED steel cut oats to taste so good! They are certainly better that rolled oats!!!!!!

  3. A man I respect very much says, “The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.” I think sometimes we dream and we hope, but we often don’t have a true plan to make things happen. We often “hope” things will work out, and we sometimes just wait on things to happen….without taking definite actions ourselves. I’m never exactly sure when to just “let things be and let them happen”, and when to get off my duff and MAKE them happen. Seems we can only ask for guidance, then truly LISTEN…and take the actions that guide us. I guess our biggest mistake is that we don’t listen enough….to the right messages.

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