Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Honest With God

Nobody likes disappointment.

It makes us feel, well, disappointed.

In my Proverbs 31 devotion, Faith Over Feelings, that is running today, I talked about a recent experience I had with being disappointed. I had worked long and hard on a project, expecting a certain outcome, only to have those expectations crumble before my very eyes.

I honestly believed that God had called me to work on that particular project and nurture that dream, so I could not understand why He was not blessing it.  I not only felt disappointed in myself, and disappointed in the situation ---- but in all honesty, I felt a little disappointed in God.

I thought I had heard God's instruction clearly, and followed His lead. I had worked hard, put in a lot of time and effort, and trusted God. I felt I deserved for God to bless my efforts. So when things did not turn out the way I had hoped,  I felt unfairly treated. 

In fact, I felt a bit like one of those kids you see in a toy store who were just told they could not have the most awesomely awesome toy ever to take home with them.

You know the ones I am talking about. You can hear them clear across the entire store, screaming loudly for all to hear, while flailing and flopping around on the floor as their embarrassed parent unsuccessfully tries to pull them up by one arm.
Have you ever felt somewhat like that little kid?  Immensely disappointed? So disappointed that your emotions were out of control?

Have you ever wanted something so badly, that you could almost taste it? Do you see other people enjoying the blessing that you so desperately want, and maybe not even appreciating it, and feel disappointed that God is not blessing you too?

Does it seem that other people have fewer problems than you, and feel disappointed that God is not removing some of your hardships? Have you recognized answered prayers for friends, and feel discouraged because God does not appear to be answering your prayers?

Do you sometimes feel like thrashing on the floor and yelling "it's not fair!!!"

Have you ever felt a bit disappointed...... in God?

It's okay to admit if you do, because God wants us to be real with Him. Psalm 139:1-3 reminds us that God already knows how we feel - so why not be honest? This verse says, "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up.You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do." (NLT)

God already knows our every thought, and so He knows the emotions we struggle with  -  including disappointment. He understands and has compassion when we are hurting.

Yet, we need to remember that God is God, and that our emotions must come second to our faith, even when we do not understand His ways.

When I was thinking about this subject of faith over feelings, I couldn't help but consider the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.   In Matthew 26:39, we see Jesus telling His Father how He really felt - vs 39, "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus was so sorrowful about the torture that awaited Him in Crucifixion, that He pleaded for God to change His mind - He wanted to be spared from dying on the cross. However, in the same breath, He also conceded to trust whatever God's will was.  Jesus told God how He really felt. In fact, He told Him three times.

Yet, despite His disappointment in the coming events, Jesus did not allow His emotions, to undermine His purpose or His faith in His Father, who always knows best.

If you are feeling disappointed today, be honest with God. If you are feeling weak, tell Him so. If you are feeling discouraged, tell Him so. If you are feeling hopeless, tell Him so.  If you are feeling ashamed, tell Him so. If you are feeling mad or upset because God does not seem to be answering your prayers, just tell Him so.

If you are coveting someone else's blessing, wondering why God is not blessing you - tell Him so.

We may be able to put on an good mask for everyone around us, hiding our pain and our disappointment, our anger and frustration. But God sees, and His desire to love us through those hard times.

Disappointments happen to everyone, but not everyone will trust God in the  midst of their disappointments, and learn to trust His plans over their own.

Not everyone will allow their faith to take precedence in their hearts.  But choosing faith over feelings is a choice we have the power to make.

Not everyone will make the right choice, but those who do, will be blessed.

God sees our hearts, and when we are real with Him,  He can become real in our life.

Getting Honest With GodSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Jennifer said...

Thank you, Tracie. This TRULY spoke to my heart. . .and gives me the right perspective and Psalm to really allow God to enable me to choose FAITH over feelings! Thank you!

Tracie Miles said...

That's great to hear Jennifer! Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts! Take care -

The Calm of His Presence said...

Great devotion & post today Tracie. I love that we can go to God and tell him exactly how we feel. Knowing He already knows our thoughts releases me to be honest with Him. I am able to lay it all out at His feet ~ my pain, my sorrow & my frustrations. When I do I feel so much closer to Him.

In His Calm,

Auntie Bliss said...

Long comment alert! LOL.
I have deleted Prov. 31 emails like crazy recently b/c they stacked up and I was behind. Today I had questions for God which is NOT like me...I usually see His ways pretty clearly...not this time. So I read yours and it is SO like God to be there and He was.
A local couple who speaks in churches for the Gideons lost their baby daughter yesterday in childbirth. 10 lbs...not c-section. I'm trying to resolve why a faithful know...I'm thinking of Job...does God want to show people this couple won't fail to worship Him?...etc. normal feelings I know God understands and that He wants asked. Back to basics...rely on Him, His grace IS sufficient. And that is wonderful.
Thanks for the assistance and helping me wrap my sorry little brain around a tragedy.

mem.michelle said...

Have you ever had that experience at church, where it seems like the pastor is speaking directly to you. It's almost as if he followed you around all week and customized the message just for you. That is how I feel right now. There are things going on that "feel" so unfair to me. I "feel" like I am the only one going through what I am. All the while others are enjoying what I perseve as "simiple" blessings that I so desperately want to enjoy. Thank you for reminding me of God's faithfulness and His presence. I truly believe that ALL things happen to bring God glory.

"My Letters to God" said...

Hi Tracie....I've read your P31M devotionals. I love your "bare bones reality". Today, in particular, I found myself writing it down practically word for word.... and then I moved to your blog. I wish, after being God's girl for so many years....(um, like 60) that I would learn something.Soon. I write to God for my devotional conversation with Him....and that is great....but when I am disappointed, in a failed project, or, a faithful friends comments or, life in general....I find it hard to finally say...."Okay God, what in the world are You trying to tell me. My word heart attitude. Pick one. I'm sure I can accomodate." I can be too real with Him at times.How much is He going to take? I need to spend more time memorizing scripture before all hope is gone. Thank you for the wake-up call, Tracy. Corrine

Tracie Miles said...

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and feedback.

I wanted to say Auntie Bliss - that my heart is just breaking for your friend who lost their baby. That is such a tragedy, and it does make us feel like asking one fo those questions to God, like 'where were you?'. And 'why?'. But its okay, God understands heartbreak, and I will be praying for your friends as they recover from this loss. I also want to share this link with you to a devotion that Lysa wrote a couple years ago. It is encouragement for times such as this, when tragedy strikes and we cant understand it, or accept it.

(I'll also send it to you in email just in case you are not getting the comments trail). Sweet blessings.

Linda from Texas said...

Your P31 devotional hit home with me too. I've just been totally disappointed with a service group God planted in my heart for over a year. Like you, a whole season of diligent hard work went into doing what He asked me to do. The next year, it went into action. But then, like you, I saw it fall apart and go nothing like I had imagined. Disappointed is an understatement. But what God taught me through this is the only thing I need be concerned with is my obedience to do what He said. The rest is up to Him. I no longer ask "why" but "what's next, Lord?". Even if the next 10 things we do out of obedience to the Lord's direction fails (in our eyes), it's not a failure in God's eyes - if we keep trusting Him and obeying Him. Thanks for being vulnerable, Tracie, sharing your experience with us. Helps to know we're not in this alone!

Melissa @ Half Dozen Mama said...

Your P31 devo and this post are just echoing the Lord's message to me these last 2 days. Thank you for being his voice to me. (just subbed your blog!)

Laura said...

Thank you, Tracie, for both your devotion on P31 and your post today. They were exactly what I needed, at the time I needed -- God spoke to me through your words. I did just what you said and told Him everything on my heart today.

God Bless,

GDHosting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia said...

Oh Tracie, how this article rang so true for my current situation! Thank you for blessing me with your words and scriptures. Please pray for my current situation and that I will be able to trust in God's timing, not my own timing! Thanks again and blessings to you!

Donna said...

"Trust Me"...truly two of the most comforting, frustrating, and difficult words to hear from God....and the two words I seem to hear most often. Thank you for your honesty. Letting others know that we sometimes struggle helps because it reminds us that the Christian walk isn't always easy, but it's definitely worth every walking.

Colleen said...

I am struggling with making important decisions about my career path. I have so needed some quiet time to withdraw and pray, but in the midst of moving a son to college and all the other obligations of life, I have found it impossible to find the time.
I need that time with God, and your devotional (which I just found time to read) is exactly what I needed to hear. My feelings (fears) are overriding my faith. I know this is normal when change awaits, but I just want time to pray to know God is in my choices and I am really hearing His voice.
I am taking my Bible and a copy of your devo with me out into the sunshine and this beautiful fall day to spend time with God in my heart.
Thank you for your words. I do feel like they were just for me. You see, Psalm 25:4-5 are my life verses. I breathe them. I have prayed this Psalm fervently. In my Bible it has sections underlined and vs. 4-5 is bracketed.
And, when I was at She Speaks 2009 and went up to the wooden cross to pick up a card, you guessed it, Psalm 25:4-5 was printed on the one I chose out of hundreds in the basket.
Thank you so much for your encouragement.

mizzbrizz said...

Tracie, I am so glad I checked out your blog today. Everything I have read has been such a confirmation of how things play out in my own head and the struggles I have been going through. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words which have been a blessing to me and others.

Patrice-Lou Thoamas said...

Thank you for posting this. Just wanted to say, it takes faith to acknowledge your emotions as they are, express them to God, fully allow oneself to experience the emotion, and in doing so, I believe peace and hope and divine solutions,will take over. Faith is not ignored by God but rewarded highly.