When someone thinks they will constantly disappoint you, they will eventually withdraw. As I write this statement heat rises to my face and chest. I know I have made others feel this way in the past. When this realization truly sunk in for me it was a major catalyst for personal change. However there is another disappointment I grapple with – When I think I am disappointing God, I can withdraw from Him.
Rm 5:5 “This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
Disappointment is a feeling of failed expectations. I have had expectations of myself personally, spiritually and professionally and when I haven’t see those things come to fruition by a certain age it made me feel disappointed. I’ve wrestled to accept where I am, but it has, at times, left me feeling like a disappointment to God. I’ve felt ungrateful, or incomplete. When I feel like I’ve failed God, I can turn to my own or others expectations of me, falsely thinking they are more attainable. More often than not those expectations are my own. They are not God’s expectations of me or even others expectations of me. When I looked for scriptures that reference disappointment I couldn’t find one that explicitly states God’s disappointment in someone. However, the scripture in Romans 5 is so powerful as it refers to the fact that God will not disappoint us. There are a few scriptures like the one above when God speaks of disappointment. He is the subject, not me. All the references I found stated how God will not disappoint us, how His love will always exceed our expectations, even though we do not deserve it. This is the grace of God. I can feel disappointed in myself but when I turn to Him, he reorients my reference point for the expectations I can sometimes have of myself.
One author, Beth Moore, referenced a quote on grace that really resonated with me, “Grace outruns me, and treats me like I am already the very person I fear I will never become. Grace is power to go, to leave my past behind, it is not permission to stay the way I am.”
At work I want to achieve 100%, but I can’t. At the gym I want to be stronger and faster, but the standard I am looking to is often unrealistic. I can fear I will never be the woman I so desperately want to be. I can fear that I will disappoint as an employee, manager, friend, athlete etc.
Rom 14:12 “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
We all struggle with wanting to be better than we are. Grace says, “It’s ok that you are not perfect, if you were, you wouldn’t need God.” Grace has been incredibly empowering for me in accepting the various things I can hate about myself or my circumstances, so that I don’t get stuck in my own shame, and instead pursue being the best version of myself. When the motivator is no longer shame or disappointment but rather God’s love and acceptance, I am free to just be who I am and focus on what He has given me. With God in the right perspective there is a healthy tension between contentment with what is and desiring what I want or hope for. I have enough for today, enough strength for today’s workout, enough knowledge for today’s work, and enough love for those He places before me today. I may not meet everyone’s expectations, and I will always fall short of my own crazy, but when I give my best to Him, He is pleased.
Rom6:14 “For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.”
There is something incredibly powerful about accepting that I cannot disappoint God. He justifies me. In Him I am more than enough. This truth takes the pressure off and gives me a correct reference for the expectations I can have. And when I fail to meet my own warped expectations, instead of running from God it can send me deeper into His arms. Obeying the Law, God’s word, keeps me on the right path. God’s word by itself does not save me, but it is critical to saving my life.
There is a difference between the things I would have once let define me having influence on me versus having authority over me. I can still let them influence me occasionally, but they no longer have power over me. Grace is the ability to stop and act differently as I reorient my reference point. Grace gives me the ability but I must do my part. God is a God of personal responsibility, he calls us to assess the circumstances we are facing and use the gifts he has given us accordingly.
Heb10:36, 39 “36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. 39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.”
I can’t shrink back from faith. God is who he says he is, and He says that I cannot disappoint Him. Grace isn’t something that “falls” on me, it’s something I actively choose daily to influence my thinking and decisions. It gives me the strength to change my thinking more quickly. Right thinking leads to right actions, despite emotions.
2 Pet1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
What I believe changes the way I live, think and feel about myself and others but most importantly, God. How much I internalize how loved I am by God comes out in my actions towards others and realignment of my expectations of myself at work, in the gym, in my relationships. I fail to disappoint Him because He cannot be disappointed by me. He accepts me as I am, but because He loves me, He does not let me stay there.