Expectations and Disappointments
November 30 04
Yeah, it's been one of those weeks. It's not like any one thing happened to get me down. It just seems like nothing is going right and when that happens, it adds up real fast. I've been disappointed with so many things lately. I used to think that my expectations were too high. Now I know that my expectations are high for a reason: God always expects us to do our best. I expect myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ to always strive for excellence. I have come to realize that that attitude is not the problem. High expectations is not the problem. My problem is that when I fail and when others fail, I get disappointed, sometimes to the point of wanting to quit everything. I have had to learn to change my reaction to disappointment.
Yeshua is the only one who will never disappoint me. I disappoint myself. Other Christians disappoint me. I want so much for ministry to go forth and for people to hear the Gospel that when those efforts are squashed, I get angry. I especially get angry when I see Christians supporting heretical ministries but not Biblical ministries. Some would say that that "righteous anger" is okay. To a point, I guess it is, but what if it cripples me? Then I know that I've let it go too far.
How can I have the heart and mind of God when it comes to expectations and follow-through? I've been learning that patience is the key. God has been abundantly patient with me. I have to remember that God is patient with others. I don't have to like what I see in myself or others, but I have to love others as I love myself. I am my own worst critic, yet I find a way to give myself second chances. How? By accepting those second chances from God. Now if I could only allow others to have second chances.
Sometimes I find myself questioning my life. I know why I'm here, I just don't know why God makes it so hard for me to live out that purpose. And that's when it hits me. How much more effective I will be in living out my purpose when I can do it with Christ-like character. Paul says that we can do many things for God but if we do not do them with love, they amount to nothing. Love and patience -- part of that fruit of the Spirit. And that fruit only gets ripened through many trials and tribulations. Obstacles build character.
So what to do when expectations aren't met and disappointment sets in? Love and patience are cultivated in prayer. God always has the answers. He loves, He forgives, He encourages, He guides. When it seems that the world is crashing in and there's nothing to do but walk away from it all, God has the answer. When I feel like moving to another state and changing my name, I have to remember that God knows my name and everything about me and He still loves me. When I feel like calling it quits and just ending this life, I have to remember that Yeshua gave me life, a second life, a new life that does not belong to me.
There are several ways to be encouraged. God has provided me with a couple of friends who will set me straight when I get off track. Of course, God is always there. I just have to make the choice to talk to Him. Perhaps the greatest encouragement is to listen to God's words. The Bible has the answers to everything we will ever face in this life.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're feeling disappointed, I would encourage you to listen to these verses. The Psalmist says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (46:1) "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?...It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" (118:6,8). "I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears...Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him" (34:4,8). "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds...The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked down to the ground" (147:3,6). In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (14:27).