Do you ever ask yourself “Is God disappointed with me?” I know I do, or I have, a lot…especially lately. Recently I had the blessing of being invited to a fellow camper’s trailer for a movie night. This great family, only at the campground for the weekend, had a sheet hung to catch the image of the projector. I did not even know what we were going to watch, but the kids were excited, because they had kids, so we went.
I’m so glad we did.
The movie we watched was Mom’s Night Out, which I have wanted to see for months, but not yet had the chance. If you have not seen this movie yet, go find out where to rent it now. It. Is. Hysterical.
I laughed so loudly, I probably annoyed the camping neighbors, but wow, it was funny.
I related to the main mom, Allyson, in a way only a mom can. Hiding in the closet from the household mess. Eating whole bags of chocolate to feed her aching soul.
Had I watched this movie only a few months ago, though, I probably would have been crying, not laughing, from the reality of those feelings.
Is God Disappointed with Me When I Struggle?
Last year when we moved into the trailer to make ends meet, I had a different vision of the realities of “small space living.” I envisioned that we would (all 8 of us) enjoy cuddling up on the single couch to watch a movie, or read a book; that we would see the sights of the local area where we were staying, and frequently move to new lands to enjoy.
This has NOT been the reality of our situation, though.
The reality of small space living with such a large group is that we frequently get on each other’s nerves. Even small noises, like humming, can be like nails on a chalkboard, and when the weather outside is either stormy, too hot, or too cold, the indoors can feel more like a coffin than a retreat.
For months I struggled with my feelings about our situation. I struggled with the normal parenting battles with growing tween children, and their various sibling issues. I struggled with feeling so helpless and empty in the whole process. I just struggled.
And, then I felt like such a failure and disappointment for God. The voice of fear would whisper once more: Is God disappointed with me?
I would cry out to Him in sorrow, because He picked the wrong vessel to do this mighty plan in, because I was just screwing it up. I was not glorifying Him when curled up in a ball to escape the madness of the day. I was not bringing any blessing or amazing honor to Him when I would lose my temper with the tiny children nagging each other because they have no where else to go.
For months I wept with the emotion of it all. How was this a blessing for us? How was this honoring Him? How? Is God disappointed with me, because I am too weak for this life, or to do it all “right”?
Somewhere along the way, the Lord began to soothe my soul and speak to my heart. He wooed me closer to Him to reveal that the reason for my struggles and emotional heart-wrench was that I expected more of myself and my family than even He did. I expected that my husband and I would trust Him enough that we did not ever doubt or question or seek answers or cry out in agony and fear.
I expected that TRUE faith would mean that we would simply believe that the Lord will provide, but when you watch your bank account dwindle, and know that there are so many mouths to feed, fear sets in like a thorn bush at the ready.
I expected that the Christian life would be a pleasant environment and thing to behold, never filled with anger, fighting, or troubles of any kind.
Isn’t that what everyone else seems to present as true?
He, however, reminded me that it is in my weaknesses that His strength is made perfect, and in order for that to happen, all my weaknesses needed to be revealed. Well, here they were, plain as day.
He reminded me that He never commanded for us to raise children who never fight, complain, or bicker, but that we simply live as examples of righteousness before them and teach when applicable.
He never placed the burden of faith for our children upon our shoulders, but that He has left is resolutely in each and every one of their hands. We were simply to be examples of grace, justice, mercy, and Truth.
He never commanded that His people never question Him or His reasons, but that even in the face of those struggles, that they continue to follow Him, even with “faith like a mustard seed” (I understand faith like a mustard seed better now than ever).
He reminded me that it is in our struggles that we turn to Him even more, and recognize our implicit need for His guidance, wisdom, and grace every moment of every day.
He reminded me that it is in my struggles that I am made perfect in Him.
…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Cor. 12: 9
Talk about being blown over by the Lord.
He reminded me that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and that when I follow His Ways, and trust Him, even when things are dark, scary, and seemingly hopeless, that He will lead me to still waters and green pastures…but I have to keep walking. Is God disappointed with me because I struggle? No. Emphatically, no. It is then that He again picks me up and carries me.
For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” ~ Psalm 103: 14
Releasing the Belief of the “Looks Good Life”
Somewhere along the way of “learning Christianity,” the message planted in that God is only pleased with those in His flock who never struggle. I think that this seed is a weed in disguise.
Many times we do not struggle because we keep ourselves in a safe zone of life, doing only what we are secure in doing, and never allowing the Lord to really move us into uncertain life. We make choices and take jobs that protect our perfect picture of “Christianity” but are nothing like Peter jumping out of the boat into the water to follow Christ.
Yes, he sank, for a moment, but it was through his trials, THROUGH his struggles, that he walked the journey of sanctification through Christ and became a powerhouse for the Kingdom! He became a mighty figure for the faith, even with tear-stained clothing.
Maybe my life is not as pretty as I thought it was supposed to be. Maybe my our story contains a bit more rubbing up against the struggles of the world than I would have otherwise liked.
But, maybe, just maybe, this is exactly how it is supposed to be.