Archives For disappointment


November 11, 2012 — 1 Comment


For a lot of people the future is unclear. It’s like we get a glimpse of what could or should be, but it’s only that – just a glimpse.

Sometimes we have a good couple of weeks – the car doesn’t break down, things on the job are smooth and you don’t hit every red light in rush hour.

Most of the time though we need help and we need it now.

Sometimes it’s a relationship issue, sometimes it’s a bill that came due that there’s no way to pay. Maybe it’s a call from the doctor that you don’t even want to take.

Sometimes life and the future can seem so foggy. Who can you trust? Who can you call on? Who has the answers you need – not next week, not a year from now, not even tomorrow, but right now?

We need a God that’s bigger than all that. We need a God that stands outside and above everything. We need a God that’s in control.

That’s the kind of God we have! The question is do you trust him? We all have the right amount of faith – it’s just that we misplace it. We trust ourselves to provide the unprovidable. We can’t be our own source of anything – except disappointment.

I’ve spent so many years disappointed in God and that disappointment was misplaced. I was upset at myself for not being good enough or strong enough or talented enough. My faith was in me, in my abilities, in the people around me and again and again I was let down and again and again I blamed God.

I blamed God for my shortcomings, and the hole I was digging for myself got deeper and deeper, until I couldn’t see any light at all.

What changed that? I learned the truth. Over a period of three years, I learned to see God for who he really is, and me for who I really am. I am strong, smart, stubborn – which is why it took so long. God is love, he gives grace and peace and he forgives and chooses not to remember.

The peace I have – right now – is what keeps me going. That little nugget of faith that I have – it’s moving mountains because I have it focused on God now. The result of that is blessings and peace.

Peace – that’s what you need too! In all those situations that pop up in life. When the unexpected happens, you can have peace, regardless of the situation. That’s what God wants – and he wants to give it to you now! The question is, will you place your faith in him?

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

“I’m so disappointed.”  Have you ever heard that phrase?  Ever said it?  When I was a kid, it was always directed at me.  From a parent, a grandparent, another kid’s parent, a teacher, ad nauseum.  It’s because I was always in some kind of trouble!  Now, I catch myself wanting to say it to my kids, or actually saying it before I have time to stop myself.  My little Zoey is a lot like me – she finger painted the entryway to our house, used crayons all over her walls, used a sharpie all over a wall we had just repainted…”UGH!  I’m SO disaPOINTed!”

Sometimes life kicks us around a bit – health, marriage, work, finances, ad nauseum.  None of it seems to work out right, and when it does work we wait for the other shoe to drop.  “Something bad is going to happen – I just know it! Things are going too good right now!”

Five years ago, I was a church planter.  Things were going pretty well.  We had a nice little launch team, we had funding, we had a launch date.  We were all so excited!  Then one little thing happened (ok, it was a big thing) and it got a little (lot) hard and I walked away.  Just quit.  And for 5 years, I was so disappointed in God.  For letting it happen, for not having my back, for forgetting about me and my family.  So, I forgot about Him.  I got a new job, I worked hard, I became hard, I became wordly.

Always in the back of my mind I knew the blame I was placing on God was misplaced.  It was my fault!  I didn’t pray enough, I didn’t trust enough.  I relied on my own giftedness too much and forgot about the giver of the gifts.  What I recently discovered is that the disappointment I felt all that time was disappointment in myself.  I was pushing the blame off onto others and not accepting responsibility for my own actions.

And what I learned was, God is not disappointed.  He is loving, forgiving and kind.  When he sees me, he sees his son, not some burned out failure who got scared.

After the church plant, things got even worse.  We all started getting sick a lot – sinus infections, lots of colds and flus, stomach ailments.  I blew out my Achilles tendon, just walking across the street and was off work for 6 weeks.  Cheryl lost her job and was off 6 weeks during that same period.  We got into a big hole financially and actually had to declare bankruptcy.  Everything fell apart.  Because of me!

When disappointments abound, when everything is falling apart, when life sucks and you don’t know what to do, what do you do?  There was not one thing going on that I could fix.  It drove me further from God.  And it kept getting worse.

One Sunday, on a whim, we decided to go to a different church.  It’s a big church, several campuses.  We drove up, not expecting much, really.  God hadn’t shown up for us in quite some time.  We were in the desert, alone.  We walked in, found a seat, sang some songs, and one of the pastors came up and started preaching.  It was the first sermon in a series on being in the wilderness.  Cheryl and I cried tears of pain that had been hidden in our hearts for years.  We cried the whole time.  Sobbed out loud.  The lady in front of us had to get us each a box of kleenex.

What I learned that day was God is here!  Always!  He knows my name, he has a plan for my life!  He loves me and he’s not disappointed!  And if God is not disappointed, I don’t have to be either – not in myself, and definitely not in him.

I still have a ways to go.  I’m not there yet.  There are still things I need to deal with.  Last week I had another breakthrough.  God’s not done with his healing work in my heart and in my mind.  Just knowing he has a plan though – that gives me hope that I didn’t have before.

There is one thing I need to do – I need to ask forgiveness for walking away.  I walked away from my calling.  It’s not revoked, it’s not taken from me.  I abandoned it.  But, my loving, forgiving Father has kept it and it’s waiting on me to get my head straight so I can reclaim it.

So – to Cheryl Nifong, Jennifer Riedel, Kristen DeFaller – especially you 3 and of course to all of the others who are no longer around and whose names I can’t even remember now – I’m so sorry for what I did.  I let you down, I gave up, I quit, and I hurt you.  Please forgive me.