So many times I file my hurts and disappointments away to be dealt with later. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Maybe I'm just overreacting. A little time will take care of it. Nope. Weeks, months of procrastination only cause the feelings to grow stronger. Especially when I feed my negative feelings by talking it out with a close friend. How many times have I realized, up in the middle of a conversation, just how bothered I really am?
I use unfulfilled expectations to foster feelings of self-pity. Coveting isn't just wanting your neighbor's car. Sometimes it presents itself in a much less obvious package like an unhealthy desire for your worship leader's ability to lead beautiful prayers or your friend's great relationship with her sister. How many times have I thought "it's just not fair", or "why can't I have that too"?
And when I desperately need someone to listen and understand me, I turn to close friends or to my husband. Knowing full well, yet ignoring the fact that my ranting and raving is influencing their opinion about the source of my struggle. How many times have I wished I could call on my grandmother's wisdom, for her ability to listen to my heart and then say exactly what I needed to hear?
But God revealed something to me today- these feelings are blessings that are only dressed up as hurts. Underneath the wrapping, they are opportunities to experience a deeper relationship with Him. In Him, I have the freedom to face them without guilt and shame. He doesn't shake a scolding finger or wrinkle His eyebrows in displeasure. His face is a picture of empathy and tenderness. His love draws me close and I see the power He has to heal me, to give me His heart. I understand that the Comforter, a very part of Him, dwells inside me. Through Him, I have the power to overcome. Through Him, I can see people as He sees them. Through Him, I can love as He loves.... without favoritism, without judgement, without obligation.
My hurts and disappointments become an opportunity to encourage. My unfulfilled expectations become a mission field. My need to be heard is met in the confirmation of love on Calvary and the presence of His Spirit that is always present inside me.
Praise God! As Ann Voskamp says "All is grace." Truly.
Some teens sang this at church this morning. So encouraging.