Sunday, June 19, 2011

Failure to Disappoint

I don't know if I've been clear on this point before or not, so I'm just going to lay it out there:

I'm terrified of disappointing God.

And because of this, I do not let Him speak lovingly over me.  What I mean by this is that I will gladly take direction from Him.  I will walk the way He asks me to walk.  I will do the things that He has asked me to do.  I will confess and repent of the things I have done wrong.  I will make adjustments in my attitudes and behaviors (or at least try to, anyway).  But, if He opens His mouth to tell me anything other than what falls within the above parameters, I, as they say in preschool, turn off my listening ears.

In the sermon today for Trinity Sunday, my priest was discussing one of his favorite icons.  It is one that depicts the Holy Trinity, each part seated at a rectangular table, with one seat open -- for us.  It is the representation of the invitation God so graciously gives us to enter into relationship with Him.

In the midst of the sermon, I caught myself sitting at the table, surrounded by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  My mind continually bounced from being present with words coming forth from the mouth of my priest and being enraptured by the thought of sitting at a table with the Most High God.  The next thing I know, Father Parker begins talking about never being rejected in His presence.  He held up the offertory plate and asked, "Have you ever seen us hold up the plate after everyone has given, looked at what was brought forth, and said 'This is not good enough?'  No, of course not.  It is the same way with God.  God will not reject you."  (paraphrasing here)

And then, upon hearing these words, I was immediately back at the table.  God's mouth opened and He said,

"With you, I am well pleased."

And as much as I wanted to say that this couldn't be, and that I didn't deserve any type of praise, and that I must be hearing voices, I didn't.  As much as I wanted to get up from the table and flee, I stayed put.  For those moments, with the affirmation that God does not reject me, despite my shortcomings and my failures and my issues, I just accepted with a humble heart.

I had failed to disappoint.  Who knew failure could feel this good?

Linking with the LOVELY Michelle at Graceful.
Oh, and don't forget:  Soli Deo Gloria link goes live Monday night at 8pm.  Hope to see you there!


  1. You've heard the song: "you make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?" You are loved by the King!

  2. it still amazes me to hear you talk about this "not good enough" place in you...only because, if you could see you the way I see you, you would NEVER think that you would be a disappointment. you are so amazing, jen, in SO MANY ways. i will continue to pray and agree with God's work in this season, with His lavish, lavish love-outpouring and for you to have the courage to just sit there and take it.

    love you.

  3. I'm with Jenny, astounded that you would have this fear and hesitance, this reluctance, especially given how generously you give all of yourself to God and his people. But then, I get what you are saying, too. It's a little bit like what I wrote about today, too -- that it's hard for me to comprehend a God who loves me so deeply, me personally. I am just beginning to contemplate this, and it's an awesome thought to wrestle with!

  4. I suffer very greatly from the not good enough syndrome so this post really spoke to me.

    Your posts always do, Jen. I never leave here unconvicted or uninspired.

    I so want to fail to disappoint Him.

  5. So much of what you said at the start of your post resonated with my own experience... in the past, thanks be to God. But I became very attached to Psalm 139 (Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me... etc...), and read it faithfully at least once a day until its truth sunk in. And then I realized - deep within - that God knew in advance every sinful, evil, spiteful, and ugly thing I'd ever do, and that He loved me enough to create me anyway. When I had no faith in Him, He had faith in me.

    What a wonderful God we have!

  6. powerful post and message! I never thought of fear of disappointing God before. will ponder that. I think this resonates with me too.

  7. "As much as I wanted to get up from the table and flee, I stayed put."...oh Jen, I'm so thankful for your humble heart. Stay at the table He has prepared...of course we don't deserve it...that is Grace and all we can bring is a heart open to Him.

    What disappoints, according to scripture, is when we murmur, grumble and complain about what He has provided for us.

  8. oh sister, first, didn't know you were at a Catholic church (I think?) sweet and encouraging, really. So, do you love Henri Nouwen? I always wonder how people from a Catholic background read him...(sorry for the tangent)

    I love all of this and how your priest put it. And you did read 'the way of the heart' quotes? It is such a good read...and how silence taking us to the fullness of God and resting in His love...solitude that leads to silence that leads to's been so precious and centering on Him...healing prayer (theophostic, have you heard of it?) is also an amazing thing I experienced this week--getting to the roots of some of our lies/ powerful, well, i was 'silent' at my blog, but clearly not in your comments! sending you love!!!

  9. Hi Jen
    I've never thought about my relationship with the Lord like that before but I think I do the same thing. Ever practical but back up when I am offered His love. Don't want to disappoint! Excellent. A lot to think about.
    God bless

  10. I so get this. I'm the exact same away. When He speaks lovingly of me - tells me how beautiful I am - how proud He is of me - it just doesn't feel right (although my heart absolutely longs for those words from Him).

    But I'm learning - slowly but surely - that He does care. He does love. He is pleased. And that is a wonderful feeling.

    Love your heart in this post.

    xxx M.

  11. A lovely reminder. If you have not read Brennan Manning's _The Ragamuffin Gospel_ or Nouwen's _The Return of the Prodigal Son_, I think you would like them. They have helped me in this same area.

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ!

  12. What a beautiful post. I love the picture of the icon shown above (not sure if that's the correct terminology! I'm not from a Catholic background). Art quite often speaks to me in ways that a sermon can't. The visual of the Godhead inviting me--broken, sinful me, to come to the table is completely humbling and almost unbelievable. I am well acquainted with the feelings of not being good enough. The Gospel is such good news, though! It's not about our goodness, but His perfect sacrifice. Thank you for this encouragement this morning!

  13. I understand your feelings completely! I tend to be somewhat of a "perfectionist" and therefore feel that God does not want to accept me when I fail (mainly because I can't seem to accept myself!)
    These are all "human" feelings that I have no business putting God into those boxes! He loves me unconditionally period!!

  14. Love confirming words such as, "With you I am well pleased"! ...Oh, the kindness of the Lord! Slow to anger. Abounding in love!

    Just became your newest follower,
    Jen, at

  15. Beautiful post ... my priest, Father Andrzej talked about the same icon Sunday. It was an amazing thought, sitting at the table with the Most High God. The homely I heard did not revolve around this idea of disappointment, however, and I was filled with a feeling of awe and excitement!

  16. Oh dear Jen, what a vision God gave you. I love your open heart and with that, God is doing a lot. Stay tru and open to His mighty love sister. xo

  17. I have the very same fear. I want to deserve the unconditional love that I receive, and I want to pass it on.

  18. I had to come back and read this again, Jen. It occurs to me that in the literal sense God cannot be "disappointed" in us, because that would mean we failed to live up to His expectations. Which would mean He did not know what we would be like or what we would do. (Impossible for the Omniscient God!)

    Maybe you will find Psalm 103:13-14 encouraging, as I have: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."

    The Lord bless you, as your transparency and your teachable heart have blessed so many!

    Love you.


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