Last week I was in Bogota, Columbia enjoying a beautiful city with it’s rich and engaging history while attending a conference. By the end of the week I was both exhausted and exhilarated. Have you ever felt a such a mix of emotions where it becomes hard to tease out what’s really going on inside?
While we there we had several heart-to-hearts with discouraged, disappointed and weary Christian ministers. One of them reflected on the state of his life, “I am so disappointed with God, I have served Him my whole life and now my life is crumbling. I never thought it would be like this. I don’t know why God has let me down.”
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. I can remember in the middle of my darkest days of grief pouring out my heart to my mentor “I feel so disappointed in God.” Thoughtfully and thankfully she responded, “Honey, it is impossible to be disappointed in God.” Then she went on to explain that we can be disappointed in others, our circumstances, ourselves but that it is impossible to be disappointed in God. Romans 9:33 says “He who believes won’t be disappointed” and Romans 5:5 “Hope does not disappoint”. God never disappoints. Ever.
So then, what are we to do when we feel the sting of disappointment and it feels like we are disappointed in God? First of all, allow yourself to feel the depth of your discouragement, grief, defeat and failure for from it flows the comfort and healing you are so desperately needing and longing for and second, allow God to be in your disappointment with you…so you are truly disappointed with God instead of being disappointed without Him. Once you allow yourself to feel it ask it (the disappointment) to show you where your true pain lies. Perhaps you are disappointed with yourself for ___________ (you fill in the blank) or in someone else for _________________(again, you fill in the blank). From this place of honesty and truth can flow forgiveness and healing. Owning your disappointment means you can feel it, name it, heal it and move on with your life.
Staying “disappointed with God” keeps you away from the healing you are so desperately needing and it’s also quite entitled…yuck, right? It means you are saying “God owes me” and/or “He should treat me differently, I deserve better.” It’s the workers in the field mentality found in Matthew 20:1-16 or the older brother syndrome in Luke 15:11-32, both of these stories are about disappointment.
Staying disappointed also robs you from heartfelt gratitude which is the key to a joyful and abundant life and is gratitude is God’s will for your life. It’s impossible to be disappointed with God and at the same time feel gratitude for all He has done for you.
Once I was able to admit I was disappointed in myself and in others I was able to forgive myself and the people who had hurt me. This goes back to the concept of living your truth in light of the Truth. The truth is there is lots of disappointment in life, if we are honest it is just a normal part life. If we can own it, we can change it. If we blame others or God we stay stuck and broken. We can only change what we own…if someone else owns it it means I can’t change it. If you are disappointed ask God to be with you and then ask yourself who or what you are disappointed in, feel it and then forgive yourself, the other(s) or your circumstances and then most important fill your heart and mind with gratitude towards God that you have the ability to heal, forgive and to grow! Truly, He has made you amazing.