If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Dismissing Disappointment

I have often heard, and come to believe, to know, that God is not - never was - mad at me. And there is something else just a little beyond that that is so freeing. It's so obvious, but many times we really do not see what is right before us!

Back to "God is not mad at me." This is not a notion that I grew up with. To my way of thinking, if I did something wrong, as in sinned, even if I just "kind of messed up", God had a punishment waiting for me. And always, there was that backwards spelling of my name to remind me about myself. I was going to get what I deserved when I did wrong, and "being good" only meant there was no punishment forthcoming. Blessings . . . well, blessings came by some other way that I apparently didn't know, but I did figure out that it had nothing to do with "being good". God's blessings were meant for someone other than me. That was OK. What's His is His to give to whoever He wants. If I don't get 'em, He has good reason for it.

It took a while . . . years, decades even . . . but I did come to understand that God never was mad at me, which means that nothing in my life happened as a result of any anger on God's part. Recently, last week actually, He told me something else . . . something life changing. He's not disappointed in me either. You see, I could understand that God doesn't get mad at me, but, I had to be a disappointment to Him at times, right?

I was wallowing in some sin, telling God how sorry I was to have disappointed Him, and telling Him how sorry I was to be a disappointment in general. I went to sleep that way. The next day, as I was preparing for the Sunday School class I teach, and feeling quite unworthy of that, He showed me something that let me know that I cannot disappoint Him! It was an eye opener, a joyful moment, and, like I said, a life changer! God was not disappointed in me. He was disappointed for me!  

Nope! I can't disappoint God. If anything, He is disappointed for me. When I fall or fail, I don't fail Him. I fail myself. He has so much better for me. He wants so much more for me. And I believe that He is disappointed for me that I don't accept that and I don't get that or receive that.

Something else I discovered is that once I accepted that God will not be disappointed in me, I can't be disappointed in anyone else. Talk about setting you free! I can truly say that disappointment in other people has not been a huge issue for me. There are disappointing circumstances and outcomes. I have been disappointed in or by other people at times, but I really don't hold anyone else to standards I choose to follow. I live my life, they live theirs, and I love them just the same. BUT, there have been those times. I never realized what a weight wrongly placed disappointment was!

Disappointment in another person is a judgement that I have realized we don't get to make. Saying, "You disappointment me" is saying "You don't measure up", "You apparently are not the person I think you need to be",  which is to say. "You are not as good as me." "You are not good enough for me in this instance." If it is our own standard that we expect them to seek, then we are setting the bar too low. If it is God's standard we expect them to seek, then we are setting a bar for them that we ourselves have not achieved and is not ours to require of any other human being.

When you think about it, being disappointed in someone is rather selfish, if not just out and out self absorbed. Being disappointed for someone is selfless, maybe a bit generous. Do I want something better for me from that person? Do I want something that I can be more comfortable with and accepting of, or do I want what God wants for them? Can I make them a "better" person? Should I, under my own power and initiative, try to make them a "better" person? Should I be concerned with making them the person that God wants them to be? (As if!)  Or, is that God's job, albeit perhaps through me?

I'm not saying that I will never again be disappointed. I am saying that my decision to redirect my disappointment to a different word, for rather than in, is a life changer.    

The very next day, I suffered a huge disappointment along with a lot of other people. I tried to say how very disappointed I was in some people. I couldn't. I don't like the circumstances surrounding a certain event, but I found myself wanting something better for those involved. I had made the decision and the Holy Spirit instantly reminded me. So there you have it. Another new freedom!

There is a lot of "I" and "me" in this post. If any of this touches you then please look at it in light of you rather than me. If you are not a follower of Jesus this will probably not mean a lot to you. If you are then let me say one more thing:

Disappointment in another person, no matter the circumstances, can only inhibit your ability to offer the love of Christ to that person. Disappointment for someone else propels that very same love from you to them, no matter the circumstances.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians13:4-7