Monday, January 24, 2011

Divine Disappointment


It's an interesting word... the positive word "appoint" appears in the middle of a generally negative statement.

Appoint: "to name or assign to a position, an office, or the like; designate."

It makes me smile knowingly to myself when I think about all the positions I've assigned the nouns of my life -- people, places, things, each one having their identity ascribed in my mind. They've all got a designated role and office. They are neatly organized. They are assigned a purpose and a power. I purpose them for myself, and I give them power ... over myself.

(But in actual fact, perhaps I've appointed myself in relationship to things? I've said, "I will serve you. I will respond to you with my emotions. I will believe what you tell me about myself, about life, about God." Or maybe it's a back-and-forth, reciprocal servanthood status.) 

People, places & things begin to determine my steps, or so I hope. I try to control, but I'm spinning out of it.  This person suddenly seems to have forgotten their sole purpose that I've assigned them. This thing is not living up to my standards of conduct. This place seems to have forgotten to read the tour guide I wrote, for it's missing all the satisfying touristy enjoyments. 

Maybe it's not that cute. Maybe it's a failed endeavor, in which I'd placed all hopes for fulfillment for secret lifelong dreams. "By such-and-such a day and age, I will be or do this or that..." Maybe it's a person that I just cannot manipulate or change, no matter how hard I try. They just won't be everything I've expected demanded dreamed for them to be! Well, that's a disappointment.

Dear God, I am so disappointed. 

Disappoint: "to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate.
Oh, hey, who needs the dictionary for that one? 

With this, as with many other internal struggles we fight, knowing is half the battle. I told my mom with thousands of tears pouring that whatever happens next in my life, I am so, so SO disappointed. I could not snap my fingers and line up the details of life in perfect order. As much as any one else has disappointed me, I have truly disappointed myself -- I am not who I wanted, expected, demanded of myself to be at this point. 

I am a failure -- but it's okay. I am appointed to arise from failure before my Heavenly Father, to walking in step with my Brother, my Friend, my Savior. 

Listen to what the One who makes all the Divine Appointments says about Himself, and our destiny:

Thus says God, the LORD, 
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
 who gives breath to the people on it
   and spirit to those who walk in it:
"I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
   I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
  to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD; that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth

   I tell you of them."
I'm sorry (no I'm not), but HALLELUJAH ("a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude")! Did you just read that? I cannot even wrap my mind around it, but there are a few facts that I know:
1) It is easy, even second nature, for me to attempt to make those divine appointments for earthly things. I become an idol worshiper whenever I believe that my life, my breath, my soul derives its power from a created thing. This, I have done.
2) God will take me by the hand, even so. He knew I would do this when He called me by name. He will keep me! I am "a keeper" to the Creator of the Heavens! I never have to worry that He is not going to pursue me hard enough to make our relationship last. There are no more words...
3) He has promised to give my life meaning and purpose as I walk in the footprints of His Perfect Servant. He will make me a useful part of His church, His bride, and I will be an instrument of God's own intention to end injustice and degradation.
4) As long as I attempt to appoint His glory to a created thing, I can be sure to find myself disappointed again. He has too many NEW THINGS to do to let that carry on.

Let me be disappointed then. And then, declare a new thing. Hallelujah.


Saundie said...

I love this. Your blog is such a blessing to read. It's an encouragement to me every time I read it. Love you!

Kimi said...

I'm a failure too! Hallelujah!! :)

James said...

"I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness."

This passage sticks out so much to me. He's not giving TO us, but giving us. Giving us to others, to those who are still in darkness. Sometimes we all (myself super duper included) need to stop thinking about what God is giving TO us, or taking FROM us, but let Him USE us. The power and blessing of being a useful tool in the hands of an all-knowing God is unfortunately underrated by me. Thanks for sharing this, SJ.

Sydney McFearless said...

James, awesome insight! I am so encouraged. I think I am going to keep writing about what I am learning, because inevitably smarter people build on my understanding with greater understanding. :)

Rachel3Lynn said...

How hard it is to keep the idols of the heart at bay...they demand from us worship and sacrifice which, as you so wonderfully related, belongs only to God. I'm walking with you, following (but very crookedly and with many bumps and bruises to show for it) the Savior as He is leading the Way.