Have you ever faced something so big or something has impacted you so deeply, that in order to face it you have to scale mountains? Life isn’t always bright, so what about the dark parts? What about the exhausting and dis-hearting seasons? Discouragement has kept me thinking it’s more like rock climbing than it is hiking. The techniques are different but still in either situation the goal is the same and that is getting to the top. It requires courage to go on in the smallest of movements when you’re disappointed or wounded. I have found with courage and grace from Heaven I have been able to face anything that has come my way that has broken my heart. Today I share part one of my three part series, How To Face Anything specifically anything discouraging. Of course, since this is part one, this post is on the lighter side of disappointment. Follow with me the rest of this month and I’m confident you’ll find encouragement on our journey together.
It was Spring and I was 17 just sitting and waiting for the bell to ring so that I could leave school. I can’t remember what exactly I wore but I remember being dressed up and my hair was done nicely. I packed my bag during the break before my last class so I could hurry to my car and not get stuck in the student parking lot. I drove to another church in town for a conference that I had high expectations of. I remember wanting to hear from their guest speaker. I prayed in the car “Lord, I want to learn from this man’s life experience. Please teach me.” I walked in and having missed the previous sessions due to school, I made it just in time for the last session, feeling rushed but ready. Ready to takes notes and learn.
My friend stopped me on my way to my seat and said “He left.” It felt like everything focused in, the “rushed” sense left me and I listened to her words just echo in my mind. The guest speaker left?! In the middle of the conference?! I remember thinking “But everyone is here to receive from him. I’m here to receive from him.” I found out that our guest speaker heard of a church that found themselves in a tough situation, so our guest speaker left to go be with them, to help them, lead them, or serve in whatever way he could.
I remember being frustrated and cried during worship. It felt like I made such a huge effort to get to this session for no reason, like my effort to get there and heart to learn was wasted. I sat down nine rows back from the front, taking notes while someone else spoke. The meeting was good but it wasn’t what I had expected. Let me be real, I wasn’t being selfish, I sincerely looked up to this individual and wanted to learn and be a better leader. Yet, I just felt left behind and forgotten and honestly, ripped off. If I have ever felt like I was a lamb who was apart of the 99 that the shepherd left to go get the one… it was in that moment! During the call-to-action time I just sat in the pew and mumbled “Holy Spirit, I wanted to learn from this man’s life, and he’s not here.” I was so disappointed by how the day had turned out. The Holy Spirit was so gracious to reply “Steph, what can you learn from this decision he made?” I sat there and began to think and the Holy Spirit began to show me what true humility looked like in His Kingdom, why this man had the pulpit, why this man had effected thousands, if not millions in his life-time. I saw what true leadership looked like. So in fact, in that moment, I did learn from our absent guest speaker, through the Holy Spirit himself.
I’m an observer. I always have been, but any chance I get to take notes and learn I’ll take it. Less time used up and still something is learned. I like efficiency in learning if it’s possible. Although sometimes learning from experience is the only way.
As an adult in the ministry and looking back on this memory I have learned so much more! In my disappointment I saw that even though I wasn’t on the receiving end of a man’s ministry in that moment, I was on the receiving end of the Holy Spirits message. I learned that being apart of the “99” isn’t a bad thing if you are surrendered to a sovereign God. Sure it hurts, but you heal, and are smarter about your choices and how they effect others.
I have looked back and remember how I thought this leader’s choice was disrespectful to those who showed up to hear him, and maybe it was or it wasn’t, I mean commitment is a principle at play here too, somewhere. But my point is when you are a great leader and a humble leader, people will be disappointed in you, they will misunderstand you. I’ve taken this lesson to heart, not just to be a humble leader, but to be sensitive about my decisions and the platform, that maybe I’ll remove myself one day on my own initiative so that the Holy Spirit can have his way, just like I experienced that day. And finally, I have recognized my example will ripple the waters of opinion either way, so I should do what I believe God is asking me to do.
Maybe you have felt disappointment, expecting a leader to pour into your life one way, and it turned out totally different. I’d like to encourage you from my own experience, I know the feeling of not being “important enough” or that “something else is always of the urgent” but if you tune your ear towards Heaven, you’ll receive wisdom you weren’t expecting and you’ll be better because of it. Your ear will be so fine tuned because in those moments your relationship with Jesus is all you have. The Holy Spirit is near. Trust that He is leading those that are leading you, and He has your best in mind always, even amidst the fear of rejection or the pain of missing out. God is so good and He desires to share his loving-kindness with you.
Have you ever felt not important enough or just not the NBT? (next big thing) If so, does it still resinate with you? Consider this verse in Isaiah, chapter 26 verse 3. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.” Reply in the comments how I can pray for you and don’t forget to subscribe for a chance to win a $25 amazon gift card for my blog’s birthday on November 3rd.