Friday, October 17, 2008

On Being a Disappointment

Hmm... It's 2 in the morning and I can't sleep. This has been kind of rolling around n my head for a while, but tonight, it is keeping me awake - at least I think it's what's keeping me awake. "This" is the idea that we have disappointed God.

For me, I have spent my life feeling like I was a perpetual disappointment. This stems, at least in part (okay, probably almost entirely) from the emotional and other abuse as a child. I have always felt that my parents were disappointed in me - and that God was disappointed in me - that I was not living up to my potential. Sigh. How to put this in words - because of what happened to me (in my mind, it has always been more what I did than what happened to me - until recently), I felt that I had ruined my potential. I was raised with the idea that I could be this or that great thing - if I had the dedication to do what it took to accomplish these great things. But I was also told, in subtle ways, from early on that I did not have that drive. So, set up for feeling like a perpetual disappointment.

This has translated into my view of how God sees me. I think it is also something that religion has used to control people's behavior - if you do this or that - or don't do this or that, God will be disappointed in you. This is sick, abusive and messes with people's relationship with Jesus and with Papa God. Here's what has been circling around in my brain tonight...

What is disappointment? What is required for someone to be disappointed? It requires that we do not live up to their expectation of us. It means that they expected us to do A and we did B or C or Z. It is easy to understand how that happens between humans. But God? Hmm... in order for Him to be disappointed in us, wouldn't He have to expect us to do one thing, when we do something else? In order for that to happen, wouldn't it require Him not to know what we are going to do? Let's see if I can get this out in words. I don't think it is possible for God to be disappointed in us because it is not possible for us to do something He does not expect. Hmm... this leads to other thoughts and questions, but I think, for tonight, it is enough to look at the concept that God is never disappointed in us - it would require Him to be something He is incapable of being... caught off guard. 

Anyway, middle of the night thoughts....


Sue said...

"the concept that God is never disappointed in us - it would require Him to be something He is incapable of being... caught off guard."

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.


What lovely middle of the night thoughts for you to be having! :)

Tracy Simmons said...

Katherine, I love it! I'm not sure if I've shared this before, but it's so fitting that I'll share it again. Graham Cooke once said that God can never be disillusioned with us because he never had any illusions about us in the first place! He knows us completely, far beyond what we know about ourselves, and He still loves us thoroughly :).

Erin said...

Oh this is wonderful, Katherine. Yes yes yes. As Sue said.

And I have also heard the quote Tracy quoted and have always loved it.

I think the minute we begin to think that God can be disappointed in us, the whole thing breaks down.

Amy said...

My sweet sister, I first want to say how much I honor and love your complete rawness of your thoughts and emotions here in this post. Beautiful.

I think disappointment stems from a place of creating expectations for ourselves and God that we are not meant to do/that only hurt our relationship with ourself and Him.

I actually posted 5 blogs relating to much of what you mentioned in your post. I hope you'll take a bit to read them. I hope they may bring encouragement and hope to your spirit.

1. "You are Accepted" 9/29
2. "Learning How to Be Secure in Papa's Love" 10/5
3. "The Nature of Living with Expectancy" 10/12
4. "You are Not a Liability" 10/16
5. "Those Years Were Not a Waste" 10/17-Today

~Amy :)

Katherine Gunn said...

Sue, thank you. ;-)

Tracy, thanks I had not heard that before. It is good.

Erin, yeah, when we think He can be disappointed, we have turned Him into something He is not. There s a verse in Isaiah that says when we try to picture God, we reduce Him. Thinking about that, no matter how hard we try to imagine what God is like, we cannot grasp the whole - our concept is a reduction of the reality.

"So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me?" Isaiah 46:5 (Message)

Don't believe any man (or woman) that tells you they have the low down on who God is - this is the way He is and you better get in line with it. None of us can see clearly - we only see a part. Even Paul said that we see through a glass (in a mirror) darkly - not enough light... yet.

Well, that got me going. lol.

Amy, thanks for the kind words and references.

Joel B. said...

My thoughts are along the same lines as Tracy's. To be disappointed means that you had expectations. God never had expectations of us in the first place, so how could He be disappointed in us? He's come to dwell in us, and it's His life that we're living from, not 'our own' life. All the other stuff is rubbish that will burn, but I think He's quite intent on us living from His life, producing His own fruit that will last forever. :)

Cinder Ella said...

I think, too, that being disappointed in the choices we've made is different from being disappointed in us. As in many ways, God's description of Himself as our Father helps me here.

At times, I am disappointed in the choices my children make, but I'm not disappointed in them -- meaning in who they are. I'm also sad they've made those bad choices because I know there are consequences. Still I know even bad choices are an opportunity for learning and growth, and I do my best to help them with this.

It's unspeakably difficult for me to grasp the concept of love, but I think love is the key.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Sue said...

Such a good point, cinder ella. Imagine if us, as imperfect beings, could see through the eyes of omniscient perfection for a while - if we could see us in our impefections making the choices we do, choosing the very opposite of what we really desire much of the time - I'm sure it would blow our minds.

Katherine Gunn said...

Joel, thanks for your thoughts.

Ella, thanks for dropping by. I understand what you're saying, but for Him to even be disappointed in our choices, He would have to have expected or hoped that we would choose differently, which implies that He did not know what we would choose, which implies He is not omniscient. I guess I am coming at the whole concept of disappointment from the ground up and wondering if it is even valid. I am still working on this internally and don 't know where it will lead, but I think it may be important, at least to me. ;-)

Sue, yeah, I think even a fraction of a second seeing completely through God's perspective would definitely blow our minds. I don't know if we will ever be able to do that fully.

traveller said...

I will just one more "yes" to the multitude of those already said.....

placeofgrace said...

And I will ad my "Yes" to all the Yesses you already got. He cannot be disappointed in us, He made us, He know us, He know the choices we make, He even make provisions for it. He just loves us. It does not mean He approve of all our stupid choices, but He expected it, and loves us despite of it!

Katherine Gunn said...

Thanks, Traveller. :-)

Anette, yes. That is the direction I am going with this, I think. ;-)

Tyler Dawn said...

Oh honey, I am sorry I was so self-absorbed and gone for so long. Big hugs.

You are beautiful in my eyes and in his. Far from being a disappointment, I am in awe of how you have changed just in the past six months or so.

Katherine Gunn said...

Tyler, thanks you. Big hug back.I will take your word on the changes. those are hard for me to see from the inside, I guess.