Expectancy Frees Us from Expectation

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Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

When I was in elementary school, two of my classmates were identical twins. Even their names were nearly the same: Arlene and Darlene. I rarely knew who was who.

As an adult, I’m learning the difference between two nearly identical words: expectation and expectancy. They are closely related but one is to be preferred over the other.

Expectation calls for a predetermined desire/event/goal that, if not acquired, can spawn disappointment.

Expectancy eagerly anticipates what lies ahead.

Expectation presses my foot on the accelerator because I need to arrive at an appointed time.

Expectancy allows me to enjoy the ride and respond to careless drivers without elevating my blood pressure—or hand.

When God reveals Himself to us, short-sighted expectation often follows: “Now I’ll get what I want.” Expectation stamps its foot and demands that God do things my way.

However, expectancy allows us to stand in awe of His grace and love. Expectancy acknowledges that He is sovereign and, more likely than not, will surprise us.

Scottish evangelist and teacher, Oswald Chambers, says in My Utmost for His Highest, “’What do you expect to do?’ You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing.” 

Perhaps this is what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. To put our trust in the God we are getting to know, the God Who awes us with His power, perfection, and mercy. The God Who loves us more than we will ever comprehend.

My plans and dreams for the year ahead take on a different flavor when I look toward tomorrow in expectancy rather than preconceived expectation.

What might God have in store for me that I hadn’t thought of?

What might He have for you?


It was by faith that Abraham obeyed
when God called him to leave home
and go to another land that God would
give him as his inheritance.
He went without knowing where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 NLT


What do you expect to do? Share on X

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Hugh hadn’t held a woman in his arms since the night Jane died. He’d clutched her lifeless body and cried like the baby at her side, praying that he could die with her.

That was his last earnest prayer—until the pit a week ago when he’d prayed he could get Mary McCrae out of it without killing her. He’d held her then, not knowing who she was, and carried her into the ranch house. But this—alone in the emptiness of a vacant home—this was different. He felt her sense of abandonment, the weakening of her steely resolve, her need for his strength.

His need to hold her. 

He was losing his mind. ~Hope Is Built



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4 thoughts on “Expectancy Frees Us from Expectation

  1. Nanci Carter Slattery

    I do believe, Davalynn, that 2022 has shown me that I do live with expectancy. If I only lived with expectation I fear I might have lost my faith. The loss of my Mom and my son have strengthened my faith, because I know that God holds the timeline and the blessings. I don’t know what the future holds, but God does and I trust Him.

    1. davalynn

      What a beautiful example of trust, Nanci. Facing hard things certainly requires depending on His faithfulness. I love your way of saying “God holds the timeline.”

  2. Expectation has a demand action I must go faster to get there I’m supposed to be. Expectancy is taking your foot off the gas pedal and put it in cruise control. Last week our oldest called and said that he has colon cancer. How should I react to the horrible news should my expectations be Lord you you heal him right now. Or should I have expectancy to wait for God has this and by His grace and mercy this will open the eyes of our family to see the awesomeness of who God is. Thank you for this Davalynn

    1. davalynn

      Amen, Tom. Trusting that God has the better way is sometimes hard. But great things come when we wait in expectancy upon Him.


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