High Expectations

A devotion on Psalm 16:3

As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.
–Psalm 16:3

Children often feel the burden of their parents’ expectations.

Stay in school. Go to college. Find a solid career.

Find the man or woman of my parents’ dreams.

Make something of myself.

The pressure that rigid, authoritarian expectations put on children may have opposite results than those intended: Rebellion. Separation from family. Perfectionism. Self-loathing, or a perception that there’s nothing you can do to win your parents’ approval.

Sometimes a parent’s expectations are so unreasonable that these feelings in their children are justified, but more often, high expectations stem from a parent just wanting the best for their kids. They want their children to remain safe and happy. They want to keep their children close and never to lose their love.

God — as echoed through the psalmist David — is a parent who delights in you. You are His saint, His holy one, set apart as one of His precious kids.

Does God have high expectations for how you live? Of course. But mostly, He wants to keep you close and He never wants to lose your love.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, you are already accepted as God’s child. The only expectation God has is for you to believe this is true.


Dear God, Thank You for calling me Your child. I want to be counted as one of Your “holy ones.” Help me to live in such a way that brings You delight. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


Are there any areas where I fear I’ve never measured up to my parents’ expectations? Does this affect the way I believe God sees me, too?

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