What we do with disappointment determines the course our life will take, I said to my high school students yesterday in Sunday school as we wrestled with God about the life altering affects of our responses to disappointment.
1. My friends betrayed me; therefore, I can’t trust anyone.
2. My parents got a divorce; therefore, there’s no one in this life I can count on.
3. I failed; therefore, I am a failure
4. I don’t meet my parent’s expectations; so, I’ll never be good enough for anyone.
5. I’ve been abused; therefore, I’m worthless.
6. I’ve been hurt; so, I have to shut people out to protect myself from being hurt again.
7. I’ve been abandoned; so, I’m not worthy of love.
As we discussed the reality of dealing with disappointment I challenged the students to deal seriously with whatever it was in their life that has caused them the greatest amount of pain. If they don’t, it will deal with them and it will never be in a healthy way, but certainly in a way that will seek to destroy their own lives, their purpose in the kingdom of God and their deepest relationships in life.
Unhealthy ways of dealing with disappointment only distance ourselves from greater freedom and isolate us from deeper relationships with people. They build up walls in our hearts of distrust. They create caverns of deep hurt, with the hopes of keeping people out, so we don’t experience the same pain again.
This is a miserable place to be. I know this to be true, because for a long time, I lived there. I had been betrayed by people I thought were my friends, therefore, the message I told myself was Heather, you can’t trust anyone, all people are the same, so hide yourself from them and don’t let any future friends get too close. It took me years to break down those walls of mistrust that I had placed in my heart over the deep betrayal I had experienced as a teenager.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”…. (Hebrews 12:1)
The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to THROW OFF everything that hinders and keep our eyes steadied on the Lord Jesus Christ. As we do this, our mind begins to transform and God takes our distrust and fills it with His certainty. He rewrites the messages of our hearts, taking our deception and filling it with His truth.
Trust me, this is not an easy thing to do. As I told the students yesterday, we must begin to daily tear down the walls we have placed up in our hearts. Unfortunately, God doesn’t often work the way we want Him to, blasting dynamite into our lives, destroying our walls of protection in one fail swoop. Instead, He asks us to join Him in the process of tearing down and rebuilding, one slow brick at a time.
Maybe you’ve walked for 30 years believing the same old lie about your greatest disappointment. Don’t fear, God gives you the daily grace to begin the slow, but life transforming process of tearing down and rebuilding.
Today, start with just one brick, then tomorrow another and the next day, another, just don’t give up on the process. Let God transform your mind into a new being. Its there, in His grace that we find freedom. Its there, in His hope where our past is set free by His transformative love.
Abba, thank you that you don’t leave us as we are, you restore what the locusts have eaten. You redeem our lives from a places of anger, fear, frustration and despair. You don’t leave us as we once were. You, who began a good work in us, will carry it out until the day of completion in Christ Jesus. Lord, today, I give you a brick of fear, because I know that you can take my fear and turn it into fear, in Jesus name. Amen.