Do We Disappoint God?

Perfection is a tall order on this broken planet. This becomes very clear in the middle of January when goals for improvement start veering off the course we charted for 2017. We cheat on diets, take a break from the gym, skip a weekend at church, spend money when we shouldn’t, drink too much caffeine, stop trying to meditate…(um, feel free to contribute at any time so I don’t feel so alone).

We are an odd species. One day we are full of optimism and vigor, and the next we are easily derailed by unexpected challenges or our own behavior. Letting ourselves down by breaking resolutions can easily lead to some disappointment. Often, we even grow accustomed to this feeling and shrug it off.

But, what about deeper flaws in our character that persist over the years? What if we make some big mistakes that change the course of our life and maybe even the lives of those around us? What if our mistakes are considered sins? How do we cope with those levels of disappointment? Does God feel disappointed in us too? Will he give up on us if we make a really big mistake?

God understands how hard this life is.

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 New Living Translation (NLT)

When God chose to reveal himself as Jesus he took on the hardships of human life. He sympathizes with our feelings and temptations because he endured them as well. He knows firsthand how difficult this life is to maneuver. He provides us hope because he faced the things we face, and he got through them without sin. We can look to his life for encouragement and strive to follow the example he set.

God chose to forgive us.   

Christianity believes that God wipes away sin and reconciles his relationship with us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Certainly, not every setback or mistake is a sin. Sin is an ugly, tough word. I don’t like the way it feels when I write it. But, the fact is we all sin. Jesus was the only perfect person to walk on Earth. It was his sacrifice that brings us forgiveness when we acknowledge, confess, and repent our sin to God.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

Jesus took God’s wrath on the cross and called it done, finished, paid in full. Sin no longer separates believers from God. Trusting in his care provides a fresh start and secures our future with him.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 New International Version (NIV)

God loves us. He has plans for us.

What remains for us as a result of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for sin is God’s unconditional love. We can’t earn it. We can’t change it. We can’t lose it. We don’t deserve it, but we have it. Forever.

We cannot surprise, frustrate, or let God down. Because he already knows what is ahead.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

God may be disappointed for us, but not in us.

 

Of course, we have free will and therefore, we will probably make choices that lead us off course from time to time. In those instances, God may be disappointed for us, but not in us. He wanted something better for us because he loves us. But, in those moments when all we see is failure, God still sees opportunity. He uses our trouble to bring about good and to draw us closer to him. He extends grace.

And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

We are flawed, but not forgotten.

God never forgets or dismisses us in times of trouble. It is never too late to seek his help and reassurance in our lives. We can start viewing problems as alerts for prayer and build a stronger relationship with him. An insightful look at our past experiences will show us how his good works pulled us through. We can reference Scripture for wisdom in any circumstance, temptation, and emotion we face. Lastly, we can obediently act when we sense his guidance encouraging us along a certain path.

This year, like every year, difficulties will come our way. We need willpower, forgiveness, and stamina among many other things to make it through. Sin, mistakes, and unwanted flaws will persist. We will make choices. What a blessing it is to be able to make choices!

One choice we have is whether or not we will work on our relationship with God. We can choose if we allow our trouble to lead us further away from him or draw us closer to him. He has a preference in that choice, but he loves us either way.

God will always pursue you. You are not forgotten.

 

A Prayer for Your Week:

Dear God,

Thank you for seeing me as I am and loving me unconditionally. I sin, make mistakes, and I am full of flaws, but you never forget about me. When I feel disappointed you stand beside me and encourage my heart to constantly seek more of you. Help me find the reassurance I need through past experiences, prayer, Scripture, and the opportunities you send my way. I trust you and patiently wait as you work in and through me, ultimately bringing all things together for my good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 A Few Scriptures of Hope to Battle Messages of Defeat:

  • When we say: “I really messed up today.”

Scripture tells us to try again tomorrow: Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23 NLT

  • When we say: “Everybody is doing more or better than me.”

Scripture reminds us of our unique abilities: Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4 NLT

  • When we say: “I’ll never get it right. I can’t do it. It’s too hard.”

Scripture offers a lighter load: Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NLT

  • When we say: “I’m confused, lost, broken, and giving up.”

Scripture provides hope: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Matthew 10:27 NIV

Inspiring Resources:

Unearth Your Gifts

Unearth your gifts

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 New International Version (NIV)

My seventh grade English class took place in a portable classroom trailer. The room was sparsely decorated because it was seen as a temporary space used only when enrollment increased. Situated near the parking lot, there was a grassy patch behind it where some kids forged their way to coolness by smoking cigarettes before the 8 AM start bell.

A long sidewalk from the portable led into the junior high school. Back in the icy winters before parents sued schools for negligence, many students, myself included, took terribly embarrassing falls in front of their snickering classmates. It was in such a place that I first heard I should use my life for writing.

I remember the pride I felt as my teacher encouraged me and told me how she felt inspired by the words I wrote. She said I should really consider being a writer. I remember this place, these words, and the experience in that room vividly. But, I did not go on to pursue writing. Although I loved books, I had never met an actual writer who could model the career for me. In the world I lived in, business careers were the path to follow for success. So that I did.

I worked at having it “all”, but never felt like I did. I worked for big corporations, started a consulting business, and taught marketing classes at a university. I got tired of trying to keep it “all” together, so I changed course and became a stay-at-home mom. Life got easier in some ways and harder in others. While I was no longer stressed about finding care for my children, I found myself missing the learning, recognition, and challenges of the work place. But, I pushed that emotion aside and forged ahead, concentrating on my two young tasks at hand.

My two tasks are grown now. The youngest left for college this fall. For the first time in a long time, I find myself wondering what lies ahead for me.

Do you ever feel a yearning to do something that you do not know how to start or how you will ever finish? A yearning that stays with you through the years even though it gets blanketed with other responsibilities and false ambitions.

Have you ever stopped long enough that the clutter of your life clears, and you feel this desire that repeats itself like the beats of your heart? And, you know that ignoring it any longer will leave you feeling unfulfilled.

That is where I am, and it is why I write. Deep inside all of us lies a gift waiting to be shared. Do you know what it might be for you? What is the unique way only you can share it? 

Perhaps, in a moment you are overtaken and write a heartfelt letter. You create something beautiful on a canvas or in your garden. You cook something so fabulous you claim your tastebuds can sing. You connect the dots for a winning deal or keep researching a problem until you find a solution that makes sense. Maybe you explain a concept to a child in a way that you can see the light of understanding click on in their brain. These moments are God’s glimpse into the gifts we are meant to seek out and share. 

We may not feel qualified, but like my seventh grade English teacher, God encourages you and waits for you to unearth your gifts. He is ready to open the door for you and to light your path. Knock, wait for the door to open and the light to shine in. Take the first slow step outside and begin the walk with him.   

Prayer for This Week:

Lord, help me listen for your voice in all that I do so that I may identify my gifts and know how to use them to work good in the lives of others. Give me the confidence I need to display these gifts to the world. Lead me when I am too scared to follow. Remind me to humbly bestow the glory of my work upon you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Additional Scriptures to Apply:

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (NIV)

Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (NIV)

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV)    

Questions for This Week:

What activity or talent in your life causes you to lose track of time while you are busy doing it? When do you feel like you are working for a purpose greater than your own? How can you use your gift to help someone else in a way that works well with the other demands of your life?