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Emotionally Healthy Relationships: Pt 1

Clarifying Expectations

If you would like to extend this over a week, you can easily do one of the points each day of your devotion.  Here is a printable version
Monday

Question:  Think of a time when reality didn't meet your expectations in a relationship.  What was the result of that unclear expectation?  _____________________________________________________
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Read:  Matthew 212:37-39 - Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  39 And the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  

Question:  What are the two commands that Christ gives us?  
1:  _______________________________________________________________________________________________
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2:  _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday

Question:  The mark of a growing Christ follower is a love for God and people.  If you were to evaluate your spiritual growth on those two principles, how are you doing?  What area do you need to ask the Lord for help in?  ___________________________________________________________
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The book of Proverbs is filled with practical wisdom about holy restraint and not jumping to conclusions before we have all the facts.  

Read:  
Proverbs 18:2 - A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
Proverbs 18:13 = He who answers before listening -- that is his folly and his shame.
Proverbs 18:15 - The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
Proverbs 18:17 - The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.  


Question:  Based on three of the Proverbs listed above, what are the differences between a fool and a wise person with a discerning heart? __________________________________________________
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Question:  Can you think of a specific situation when what you were thinking or feeling about someone was untrue, or you misinterpreted the behavior of another person without checking it out?  What did you end up believing incorrectly until you heard the whole story?  ______________
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Wednesday

Read:  Proverbs 18:17 - The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.  

Question:  What do you think this verse is instructing us to do?  ________________________________
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Question:  What do you do when your expectations of another person are not met?  In what ways would you like to adjust the way you respond?  ___________________________________________
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Question:  "Mind reading" is assuming what others are thinking, or telling yourself a story in your head to explain another person's behavior.  How do assumptions lead us to believe untruths about others?  How might "mind reading" be a way of bearing false witness?  ________
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Exodus 20:16 - "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

Thursday

Question:  Listed below is a 4-step process clarifying situations.  Which one do you most often get tripped up on?  _____________________________________________  Why?  _________________________
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1.  Conscious:  I must become aware that I have expectations.
2.  Realistic:  I must discern if my expectations are realistic.  Is there evidence for the expectations I have for another person?  Have they done what I want in the past?  Do they have the capacity or are they willing?
3.  Spoken:  I must express the expectation clearly, not just assume they understand what I want without checking.
4.  Agreed Upon:  The other person has agreed to the expectations by stating, "Yes."  Remember, expectations are only valid when they are mutually agreed upon.  

Friday

Question:  How will this process help you determine what expectations you have a right to hold?  How would it eliminate conflict in relationships?  ________________________________________
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Challenge:  Think of a recent, simple expectation you had that went unmet and made you angry, disappointed, or confused.  _____________________________________________________________
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Use the 4-step process to clarify that expectation.  Was your expectation valid, or was it missing a critical step?  Spend some time this week thinking about where else in your life you might need to clarify expectations or assumptions -- in your workplace, school, family, or with friends?  What might your next step be?  _________________________________________________________________
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