When You Feel Disappointed with God's Plan
When was the last time you felt disappointed with God’s plan? Last week? Last month? Last year? Yesterday?
The reason I ask is that we’ve been having a year in the One Foot community. And because of that, we’ve been talking about this. A LOT. What happens when we’re disappointed with God’s plan? What happens when the life we imagined is nowhere near the life we’ve been living?
In our little group, we’ve been experiencing some things. Aging parents who need care. Families that need reconciling. Saying goodbye to babies and sisters who’ve walked with us all our lives. Financial setbacks and incurable diseases. Hearts still waiting for an answer and milestone birthdays (which are always a mix of congrats and how did I get here).
The hard part to all of this is that there are no easy answers. Sometimes God answers right away and sometimes God allows us to wait with a lingering hope of heaven.
I’ve been pondering this lately for a couple of reasons. A young friend at church recently lent me this book.
My friend and I share a love for all the writing things from Annie so she thought I would like it. She wasn’t wrong. the book is Annie’s beautiful story of wrestling with God - of finding herself disappointed with the things God was doing in her life - and answer the question, “Is God kind to me?”
I’ve also been pondering this as recently as today because my pastor is preaching through a series called The Content Life. This week, his message was on belief and the reality that we will all be unsatisfied this side of heaven.
And as I ponder, I think of my One Foot friends who are in the trenches with their people. And their jobs. And their expectations for what life would have been.
What it could have been…
So what’s a girl to do when the life she thought she would be living is not her actual everyday life? I don’t have answers and solutions. Instead, I’d like to invite you into a journey of sorts.
It’s okay to be real and messy
Sometimes we can be afraid to be real and messy. In fact, it’s way easier if we have all the things together. If we live in a place of optimism. If we don’t admit that we can feel disappointment with God. If we can say all the right faith things. And believe it’s just around the corner - whatever it is.
But real life? Real life can sometimes put us in places where we can no longer hold it together. Things can deteriorate. The prayers we’ve been praying seem to be ignored. We’re still waiting for the desires of our hearts to be fulfilled.
If that’s you today, I encourage realness. I encourage you to let it out. To have a conversation that matters with God. To allow Him to speak to your heart where you are instead of where you wish you were. To get messy. And to allow your relationship with God to get messy so He can bring healing to your heart even if your situation remains the same.
Grab your posse
Annie has been doing a lot of interviews on this new book. And in each one, I hear something that is important. Community. Her people. She not only wrote about it for us to read. She had real-life people who were walking with her through this season in her life when she was wrestling with deep disappointment. People who are now looking back with her and seeing the work of God in her life.
The bravest thing we can do is grab our posse. It requires that we be vulnerable. It requires that we admit that our faith may be wavering. It requires that we be a mess in our current season and let others be the ones that have it all together.
Ask God to show up
I think we can forget that God wants to show up for us. Not always in the ways we expect. At the end of the book, Annie tells her own story. She received a word for the year that she thought was from God. The word started as hopeful and ended with disappointment because what she thought it meant was not coming true. And just before she ended her story from the reader, she asked God to show up. She flew to Scotland and in the middle of a random Friday night church service, God showed up and spoke to her and spoke love to her. Not in the ways she expected, but in ways that were undeniably God.
As I closed the last page, I had tears running down my face. Tears that God loves us in ways we can never even imagine. That God wants to show up in the middle of our mess. Tears because He loves us even when it doesn’t feel like it or when we’re disappointed.
The book didn’t end like your favorite 30 minute sitcom. All was not wrapped up in a bow. That thing that Annie had been waiting for, she was still waiting. But she ended her story walking with God with a limp and learning to trust. As i discussed with my friend this morning, I reflected that I loved the way the book ended.
You see, that’s really how life is. Sometimes we don’t get the life we had imagined. Sometimes we are left wanting and waiting and not understanding. Sometimes God is asking us to love who He is more than what He gives us. And sometimes, He’s asking us to let go of our dreams and our timelines so he can write His dreams and His love on our hearts.