The labor strike won't be resolved soon; the home improvement project will probably cost more than we budgeted; my spouse will never understand my needs; work is always the same old routine.
All those thoughts rattling on: what can't happen, what probably won't go right, what he or she will never provide, why you shouldn't expect to be happy.
When we continually harbor low expectations, we set ourselves up to be the victim of those expectations. What if you learned that thinking such thoughts all the time isn't so much about troubles out there as it is the trouble itself?
I remember a time, for example, when I resisted taking a job in a particular community because I could see nothing about the area that would contribute to my career or enrich our family life. Still, a company there offered me a position three times, and it wasn't until the third time that I finally, though still reluctantly, accepted. Good thing they persisted. During our time there, I learned more, and our family benefited more, than we could ever have imagined.
Another example is a friend of mine who loves music but put off learning to play a musical instrument for most of his life. He always wanted to play one but didn't believe he had enough talent or the freedom to open up and express himself. When asked to explain how that perception eventually changed (he is now learning to play several instruments), he mentioned a psalm in the Bible that summed up his prayers. It talks about crying to the Lord and says, in part, "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name" (Ps. 142:7).
Low expectations are a kind of prison. They become barriers that we set up for ourselves when our lives are governed solely by human perceptions and opinions. The physical senses, together with whatever limited concepts of our capacities, our strengths, or our opportunities we may be holding on to, conspire to suggest that we aren't good enough, that we can't do thus and such, or that we shouldn't expect too much good to come our way.
Such misperceptions of ourselves - which are also misconceptions of our Maker, God - need correcting. The Science of Christianity raises our sights and expectations, explaining our true nature as entirely spiritual and good and whole, made in God's image. Christian Science also provides the metaphysical rules by which anyone, like my friend in his "prison," can perceive and demonstrate this goodness and harmony more fully in his or her life.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the textbook of Christian Science, "Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; but distrust of one's ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one's wings and ensures failure at the outset" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 260).
Higher expectations are realistic expectations - when they are based on an understanding of "what God has already done." They are justified - because of what is already a fact about God's creation: that it is the infinite idea of goodness and intelligence and harmony, forever expressed in us. This fact is the basis for having the highest of expectations every time we want to accomplish something good or see good in other people.
The founder of Christianity showed by his healing and saving works that there's no limit to what can be achieved through understanding our relation to God. Not only that - Jesus had high expectations for all who adhered to his teachings, to the Science of Christ. He said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12).
There's good reason to have higher expectations. So high, in fact, not even the sky is a limit.
Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work
of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not
in vain in the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:58