She said, “I know that you are a mature believer. I know that you passionately love the Lord and are very in tune with Him. That’s a really good thing. But what I am seeing is deep and hidden disappointment.” To which I balked inside and thought to myself, “Not me. I don’t carry disappointment, I surrender it immediately to the Lord.” She continued, “Mature believers are often so quick to send disappointment away. They think that it’s not holy to be disappointed so they don’t acknowledge it and move on.” “Oh,” I thought, “That sounds kind of familiar.” She went on, “What I’m seeing is the Lord reaching deep into your heart, pulling out the disappointment, and placing it in his pocket.” She was miming as if God had on a coat and was putting it inside his chest pocket, close to his heart for safe keeping.
My heart was guarded in that moment, I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to think about what I may or may not be disappointed with in my life. I didn’t want to go there. It was much easier to keep my eyes on Jesus and operate in grace – lots of grace. I had spent so long learning how to see people and circumstances from the Lord’s perspective that at the very whiff of hurt, anger, disappointment, or anything else that may cause me to sin, I would cut it off at the pass, forgive, surrender, and bless. I LOVE to see people and circumstances from the vantage point of heaven. I LOVE to ask the Lord how He sees things and then align with that truth. It is one of the most powerful practices and has become a way of life for me. That’s good, right?
So what was the deal with this lady?! Was she just wrong? Was I harboring disappointment, and did the Lord want me to acknowledge it? I was confused and so I put it on the discernment shelf (the place where I put things on hold as I seek the Lord and wisdom from others I trust).
A month or two later I was in the car with one of my dear friends. We were driving to a retreat and out of nowhere she said, “So, have you figured out what you’re disappointed about?” “Uh, no! I don’t think I am disappointed!” She gave me a look and then said, “Well, I think I know what it is. Do you want to know?” This friend is a wise and kind person, she was not trying to hurt me or force me to face anything. I knew that she had gentle revelation from the Lord and I wanted it. “Yes, I want to hear it.”
Gently she brought up a few things that were very delicate. She acknowledged that I had done so much work to support, encourage, and remain consistent with my love for a few people in my life. She also knew that I would probably never freely admit that there may actually be frustration or disappointment, even resentment lurking under that effort. She was right. For the shear sake of grace and love I wouldn’t or couldn’t admit that on my own. So she brought it up.
With permission from the Lord and because of my friend’s boldness, I was able to begin to process my disappointment towards those people and circumstances. I had the opportunity to invite the Lord into the areas where I was blind and allow him to reveal his goodness and grace. I was the one who needed grace.
I was so quick to grant it to others but I wasn’t giving myself the grace to feel. I needed to feel the pain and disappointment associated with reality. Contrary to what I believed, the feelings were indeed necessary to acknowledge and sit with for a moment in order to really surrender them to the Lord.
God doesn’t need me to be a super hero.
He created me with feelings and none of them are bad. If I don’t feel my way through them, then what I do with them isn’t comprehensive. Feelings need to be felt not just identified
Have you read the book of Psalms? What I love about the 150 different songs, poems, and hymns included in scripture is that they record just about every human emotion there is. The good, the bad, and the ugly….the real ugly. So why are they in there? I have come to truly appreciate the psalms because they give credence to the complex web of human emotions. They give us permission and voice to express ourselves to the Lord even when it seems down right wrong! Who would ever say those things out loud!? Well, apparently we can, and should say them to Him….that’s key in many instances.
We are not a surprise to the Lord. Our emotions are not wrong, neither is the honest expression of them to Him – our creator and lover of our souls. I believe that the Psalms are included in scripture for our permission to exclaim to the Lord ALL our feelings, and then, like so many of them model, come back to the truth that God is good no matter how we feel.
I felt what I needed to feel, even though it was a bit scary, and I surrendered that disappointment to the Lord. As I did this I was reminded of Psalm 43,
Declare me innocent, O God!
Defend me against these ungodly people.
Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
O God, my God!
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
You have permission to feel. The Lord wants you to invite him into all your feelings and trust that his love and goodness will remain. You can have disappointment with joy.
The feelings we have, no matter how extreme or raw, never have the power to remove our joy. That may seem contradictory, but joy is not an emotion – it’s a state of being based on our relationship with God through Jesus. No matter what we are feeling, who God is never changes, therefore our joy can remain.