Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Expectation

After my last post, I have finally got my thoughts together and have been trying to learn where I went wrong. In a nutshell it's this: I have been disappointed in our church. I have felt impatient and annoyed because certain things that I felt should have happened were not happening. I have felt disappointed because my giftings have not been used. I have felt disappointed because friends keep leaving the church - and I have blamed the church (wrongly). I have felt discouraged because I did not attend church for months (due to my special needs son) and I did not receive any pastoral care of any kind for months and months. I have been disappointed. I'm a wounded church goer. I'm one of those "Offended" church-goers - the ones I used to make fun of!

Being disappointed is ok - but it's what you do with your disappointment that really counts. I did not handle mine well at all. In fact mine turned into bitterness and I developed a critical spirit. This is an incredibly ungodly and destructive attitude to have and I have exercised ungodly and destructive behavior as well. I did not realize until recently just how dangerous I have been! I have failed miserably! But I am not discouraged! I read a great blog post by Plumbline (awesome blog by the way and I highly recommend it) and she said:
"Even in the failure, there is a redemptive quality - when the failure is an open door for God to begin afresh in us what we could not do through "mental determination"
I am at the end of myself. I can't make myself into this amazing, gracious, person. But God can! This is part of the refinement process and I am more than happy for God to do the work. God is reshaping me and molding my thinking to be more like his. Over the next few blog posts, I want to share with you what God has shown me and how he has had to change my thinking.

Unreasonable expectations of the church and leadership has let me down

DISAPPOINTED: Adjective
(of a person) Sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfill one's hopes or expectations.
(of hopes or expectations) Prevented from being realized.
 photo tumblr_m71pnb5ue41rataypo1_400_zpsf408703b.jpg

Nicely said Shakespeare. Expectation is the root of all heartache. I can't believe I didn't get this earlier! I have experienced someone else's unrealistic expectations on me. The person is perpetually disappointed in me because I don't know about these expectations or I don't let them control how I live my life. Expectations are annoying!!  But yet, I have had expectations in our church and Pastors and they haven't delivered. Big surprise? Well looking at it from this angle - I can say that no, it's not a surprise. But while I was in the thick of it, it was a great source of frustration to me. How could they muck it up so badly??

Years ago I left a smaller church where I had more input and influence to go to a much larger church where I was a nobody. I was used to how things ran in the smaller church and I don't like how things are run in this much larger church. This is my own problem and attitude - not anyone else's. I have to learn to adjust, submit to my leaders and trust that God is working even though I don't understand it. They are doing their best and I have to recognize that and stop being such a know-it-all! It's not the Holy Spirit that is telling me that everything they do is wrong - it's my critical spirit!

Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit {Hebrews 13:17} It is in my best interest to submit to my leadership and trust that God is using them. They have such a huge responsibility (one that I wouldn't want!) and that is to watch over the congregation and help them grow spiritually. My daughter sometimes can be quite difficult. She is stubborn, sassy and can be quite argumentative. Trying to guide and train her can become wearisome. At least she has an excuse (she is on the spectrum too) - what kind of excuse do I have for behaving like a child? The answer is none!

My problem was I wasn't trusting in God. I was placing expectations on men and women who are human, who are going to make mistakes, and probably have no idea that I have these expectations! This is what the Lord says:“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. {Jeremiah 17:5} My trust was not placed in God, but in humans. It was only a matter of time! I have had to shift my expectations off the church and it's leadership and place them on God who will never let me down or disappoint me. Why? Because God is faithful. God keeps his promises. God is Good. “My soul, waits silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

MY PRAYER
Lord I messed up! I placed my faith in man and not in you. I have been hurt and disappointed - not because I have been attacked or hurt intentionally - but because I had unrealistic expectations. Help me to recognize when I do this. Help me to submit to my leadership and trust that you are working all things together for good. Lord when I don't understand what on earth is going on around me, please help me to rest quietly in you. Help me to accept the authority that you have placed them in. Help me to be a support, not a hinderance to those you have annointed and placed in our church. Amen

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