I feel bad even admitting this to you. I was disappointed with God the other day. He hurt my feelings. I really need to brand myself: Andy Lee, author, speaker, and work in progress. This is authentic, real, and genuine faith right here. Broken and hurting, though wanting to be past these growing pains I found myself in an all too familiar place.
Maybe you’ve experienced disappointment with God too. Whether it’s the death of a dream, calling, or loved one (this time it was another death of my calling) death begets grief. This is where I sat the other day. I refused, however, to allow this feeling to fester. I had to take these steps.
I don’t want you to let disappointment with God to grow roots either, so let’s walk together as we talk about what we need to do when God has hurt our feelings.
5 Steps to Take When You Are Disappointed
Yep, repent. This word means to change the way we are thinking. It also has a confession and forgiveness component we need to employ. I repent of my hurt feeling toward God and envy toward the one who received what I have prayed for. I’m also going to take my confused thoughts about God and turn them to His goodness and grace. He is a good, kind, and loving Father. His plan is better than mine.
2. Be thankful.
Callings and purpose are like hair. Let me explain. Most of us wish we had the opposite of what our hair is. Mine is thick and wild, and I’ve always wanted thin, straight hair. But the other day a lady at church walked up to me proclaiming how fortunate I was to have good hair. I laughed. We rarely want what we have. Maybe we’re disappointed and don’t want what we have, but we must keep focused on all the good things He has given us.
3. Pray to trust God’s goodness.
I may never know why the vision I had in my college dorm room has never turned out the way I thought it would. But I do have to trust God has good reasons. Maybe He is protecting me. Maybe He is blessing me in ways I’ll discover down the road. More than likely, I need more heart work before I’m ready.
4. Confide in a trusted, praying friend.
We often need perspective. Talking with a trusted, praying friend can help us. That friend’s prayers are vital. Praying friends can help carry the burden of grief.
5. Spend time in Prayer and Study
Journal your heartache. Pray for healing and direction and study the scriptures. The Word never fails to bring healing to my hurting heart. Read through the reading plan this month everyday and journal what you hear God saying about your purpose/calling.
Our First Call/Purpose is to Walk with God
As I wrestle with my call, I’m reminded of all the people in the Bible who didn’t want to do what God called them to do. Moses is the first who comes to mind. When God approached him within the burning bush, Moses gave many reasons why he wasn’t the right candidate for the job. Eventually, however, he grew into the role.
I think Moses failed at his first attempt to help his people (when he killed an Egyptian) and refused the call from the burning bush that came forty years later because he did not know God. He had not walked with Him. But Moses grew into this call one day at a time. One day after another of watching God do what he said He would do.
It wasn’t easy, but freeing God’s people and forty years in the wilderness walking with God changed Moses, and he grew into his call.
Growing Into Your Purpose/Call
Esther also grew into her purpose. Rather than coming face to face with a burning bush telling her to save her people, Esther found herself chosen to sit on a throne. Her adopted father admonished her to action when her people faced death. I wrote in my new Bible study, Radiant Influence: How an ordinary girl changed the world:
“Can you imagine being an ordinary girl one minute and a queen the next? Usually, queens and kings rise to such power through their family line. They know it’s coming. They’re groomed to step into such position, but this was not Esther’s story” (p.91).Radiant Influence
Esther said no at first, but she did eventually step into her call after prayer and fasting. I don’t think she wanted this calling. Esther probably dreamed of marrying a nice Jewish boy, but she found herself in bed with a gluttonous king and chosen to be his wife. No, our calling isn’t always as we picture or want.
Did I Miss It?
I’ve often wondered if I misinterpreted my call. What I’m doing now (writing about God, speaking, and teaching which I do really enjoy) really could be what the call was thirty years ago, but this hasn’t healed the wound that still bleeds once in awhile despite my best efforts. As I walk daily with the Lord, however, He has been faithful to lead me to just the right book or message that remind me He loves me and is working in my life. One such message was by Jill Briscoe who reminded me to carry my cross.
Ya’ll, even Jesus asked if there was another way He could fulfill His purpose. Crosses aren’t comfortable. They’re heavy, splintered, places of death. Why do we always think our calling will make us happy when not one biblical character experienced complete bliss and joy in their call? Calls come with crosses.
God calls us to die to ourselves every day.
Crosses are Heavy
I don’t know what your cross is, but I can guess it’s a place of pain and possibly disappointment. In my disappointment the Lord keeps reminding me of Sara and Elizabeth who waited so long for God to give them their heart’s desire, to fulfill their call to be a mother. I know the timing of those baby boy’s births was essential in the story of God and the fulfillment of the coming Messiah. Yet, the wait was a place of pain for these women and their son’s lives were also a place of pain as they walked out their purpose.
Maybe the birth of the fulfillment of our call is still a long way off. Maybe our call will never look like we dreamed. Keep watching for His faithfulness every day. Let’s die together to ourselves and live with more of Christ and less of us. As Oswald Chambers admonishes:
“We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease”My Utmost for His Highest, Sept. 1
Sisters, He loves us. Raise your hands to Him in prayer and worship. Close your eyes and picture your arms raised as a little girl asking to be picked up by her Father. Let Him lift you up. Kiss His face. Pull on His beard. Hear His laughter. His plans are perfect. Give your disappointment to Him. I will do the same.