Tag Archives: transformation

a disappointing perspective

3 Dec

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

 

So, do I believe God is going to work all things out for good? Sure. But who’s good are we talking about here? Mine? Because if its MY definition of a good outcome, things are going to turn out a certain way, just how I want them to, when I want them to (ASAP), because that is what I think the best outcome would be. So I desire this outcome, I put my hope in this outcome, and what do I get? Disappointed.

Ouch.

But why am I surprised?  I know God’s plans are 2834720394 times better than my own.  I mean, lets be serious, He actually knows the future, has all the facts, and is ALL-knowing. Omniscient, if you will. He knows my needs, hopes, dreams, passions, and deepest desires of my heart.  He created me with those things.

So yeah, I should know better. But the truth is, I like to be in control of my own life. Shocking, I know. So as I keep trying in vain to get God to do what I want, I become more and more disheartened, disappointed, and discontent with, well, my life in general. Then I begin to feel broken and worthless, getting swallowed up by frustration and paralyzed by my own emotions.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12

 

Hope deferred. Hope that is lost, unfulfilled, delayed, not realized. It hurts. It makes the heart ache.

How do you survive this state? Not with the snap of your fingers, the turn of a page, or good night’s sleep. It’s a process. A long process that involves a digging deeper into the Truth of who God IS. Maybe you have to change your perspective a little. Take Him out of the box you smooshed Him in and learn something new about who he REALLY is, not just who you think He is or want Him to be.

Moving beyond disappointment is a continual decision, a determination, and a perseverance of moving deeper into the foundational truths of hope in Jesus Christ. It is choosing to believe that nothing is impossible with God. It is to believe persistently that God is able to turn negative situations into positive outcomes. It is to believe and hope for God’s best to result in any given circumstance. It is to believe the truth of God’s Word over the disappointment encountered. It is a trust built upon hope in the promises of God Who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or hope! – Shirley Frey

 

God is an expert at making good out of bad. Transformation is kind of His specialty. So even when I make a mess out of things, He can and will be working behind the scenes with wise and loving motives to use my mess for His glory. His intentions are not to bring us harm or abandon us, but to love and care for us. He wants to give us the future we hope for (Jer 29:11).

When my hope is in Christ, it will never disappoint. God is a God of hope (Romans 15:13). When I take a step back and think about why I am disappointed, it is not because God failed to come through for me. It is because of people, circumstances, communication (or lack thereof), my own thoughts and my skewed beliefs and perspectives. When my hope is in these things, when I trust in these things, have expectations of these things, look forward to these things, desire and dream about these things, then I WILL BE let down. But when I hope, trust, expect, look forward to, desire, and dream about the things of the Lord, then I will begin to discover the truth of who He really is. And as I trust Him more and more for who He really is, I will be able to trust and abound in hope during the most challenging and difficult times.  

Its amazing what a change of perspective can do. Disappointment is really an opportunity to understand God more and to change our mindset about how He works.

Nuff said.

embrace your tomb

2 Apr

So I haven’t posted in a while because school has been kickin my butt and I didn’t really have anything to say… but now I have too much to say, its ridiculous. I blame all my extra thinking time on the fact that I’ve had what I like to call “pseudo-spring break” this week, (I go to 2 different schools, therefore the spring breaks are not the same, but this week I have no daytime classes) leaving me lots of time to think and (prepare for shock) read! *GASP* I know, I know, its just insane. I hardly ever, ever… ever read. Not that I don’t like to, but I just don’t make time for it and, quite frankly, it usually puts me to sleep. But alas, I have been. And it has been gloriously filling my head with all kinds of thoughts that shall now be shamelessly shared with the blogging world. Woah, check out that alliteration stunt I just pulled and didn’t even know it. Such a nerd.

 

PAUSE:  Today is April Fools Day, and I hope to be pranked at least one good time. I love it. I’ve already told a friend I was meeting for lunch that my car wouldn’t start after she already got there, and I texted my parents saying I got more body piercings while they’ve been gone on their trip, which was great. I was going to go with tattoos, but that will probably actually happen one day, so I decided not to press my luck there. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are generally very cool and supportive of my random and sometimes impulsive “cosmetic changes” but there are some things that still make them squirm. Ah, but I love them for it.

 

UNPAUSE:  So check this out. Growing up around a bunch of “Christians” (or those who claimed to be, hence the quotes), I understand how easy it is to slip into a clichéd type of Christianity. I get it, Ive been there, I realize that after a while it’s almost natural to just start going through the motions of what you think (or have been told) the Christian life should look like (or not look like), and that includes using that “Christianese” language with each other. Here, I found this short video that kinda explains what Im talking about:

 

Haha, its sad but true. So yes, I understand it, but I hate it, because that’s not the way it should be. At all. Christianese is not the full truth. It’s a feel-good language. It’s over-used, superficial, empty phrases lacking in power and genuine, authentic, life-as-it-is truth.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but it doesn’t speak of how life really is – it stays far away from the pain and disappointments and hardships of the realities of life. Just cliché words used to worship our cliché version of God.

Sometimes Christians try so hard to lead such uber-spiritual Christian lives where everything is all good and fine because “God is good all the time” and we shouldn’t ever worry about anything and everything will work out in the end, blah blah blah… and don’t get me wrong, those things ARE true, but it doesn’t mean we should pretend that depression and despair don’t exist in our lives. Are we not supposed to speak of the realities of the spiritual life? It’s not all sunshine and roses, kids. Life is painful and ugly sometimes, a lot of times, and we feel overwhelmed, crushed, betrayed, hurt, trapped, depressed, etc. The author of the book I’m reading refers to those times as “when life feels like a tomb.” But here’s the thing: we need to embrace those times when our life feels like a tomb.

A religion that does not embrace the tomb is only a feel-good religion, not an authentic relationship with God…  If we fail to address the soul-stirring questions that the tombs of our lives ask, if we pretend that tombs don’t exist, and we ignore the difficult parts of life and faith, then we will settle for something far less than authentic transformation. (Smith)

 

Authentic transformation. That’s the goal here.

Paul wasn’t afraid to embrace his tomb as he wrote about his hardships. He knew all about feeling crushed and afflicted – and he shared the truth about the way life was for him:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (II Cor 1:8-9)

 

Paul told it like it was. He had a black belt in keepin it real (thank you Denise). He didn’t hide behind Christianese feel-good language, instead he freely expressed his tomb-like thoughts.  Because when life feels like a tomb, you come face to face with those soul-stirring questions, and that’s when you start to discover more about who God truly is. God is not our cliché version of Him – the one where we have Him all figured out. Who God is will not disappoint us.

 

The transforming moment in Christian conversion comes when we realize that even God has left us. We then discover it was not God, but our image of God, that abandoned us. This frees us to discover more of the mystery of God than we knew. Only then is change possible. (Craig Barnes)

 

Change. Transformation. It all comes back to that. But we cannot experience that powerful transformation or complete abundant life that Jesus offers if we avoid facing the dark places of life. The dark tombs in our lives become the places where God does what only God can do – transform us. Beauty from ashes. Wholeness from broken pieces. We must embrace our tombs. We must die to have life. The tomb is where resurrection happens – it’s the only place where resurrection happens.

 

The end is never the end. The end is the beginning.