Sometimes you think you have dealt with something and then ‘booooom’ it pops up again. You think the disappointment you experienced way back has gone. Disappeared. Vam-mooshed. But it is there, hidden beneath all that has gone on since then. There, where you forget it. There, where it is nestled secretly. You think you have sorted it. And in a way you have. You have sorted out the dross and packaging that went with it. You’ve drawn a line under it – physically. You’ve dealt with the people, the place, the actual sharp end of the disappointment. You’ve taken what you want from the experience. The people you love. The people who have stood by you. You’ve sorted through and gently closed the door. Not slammed it shut, but gently closed. Without a sound. Creeping away. Creeping away to rebuild. To reconnect. To move forward. You’re gradually building new dreams. And then something comes along to up-skittle you. Perhaps it is more than one thing. A group of incidents. That is where I find myself. Living with the disappointment.
Putting it right.
Some will tell me to ‘pull yourself together’. To ‘get over it’. To ‘accept it, it’s happened’. And I have tried. Believe me I have tried. And to a certain extent, I’ve succeeded. I’ve started a course. A qualification. A qualification to let me use all my crafting gifts within the social care network. I continue to volunteer with the elderly, and with dementia people – both young and old. I’ve been sorting through my many crafts to hone them down to the one I really, really want to do personally. I’m not quite there yet, but the WIP (Work In Progress) is slowly heading in the right direction. So I am doing the so-called right things. Finding my path. My new path. A new path that God is quietly, slowly, patiently, leading me down.
But then, you hit a patch of weeds. Of overgrowth. The path narrows even further and you have to tip toe through it. To hold the hand that is guiding. Or to lose your balance and tumble. To hook your foot in the tangle. To pull up some of the layers. To come face to face with that disappointment again. To realise how deep it went. To re-live it, – again. To grieve the loss. In full. People, place, the consequences and impact of it all. Is that wrong? Is that a bad thing? Some would say ‘Yes’! You have to forget and move on. But I’m not like that. I have to work through things again. That is the way I’m made. Frustrating for on lookers, I know. Hard for those who care about me. Who love me and support me. And will help me through it all again. But there maybe another reason why it isn’t always a bad thing to do.
My bible is very precious to me. It is God’s Word. It is how He speaks to me. How He helps me through times like this. How He puts out His right hand firmly to help me through the narrow bits. And through studying it you begin to heal and understand His guiding. Today with Steven Furtick I have been studying Luke 13 v6-9. ‘Dealing with disappointment.’ Three short verses.
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.
And He told this parable. A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for a fruit on it and found none. He told the vineyard worker, ‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’ But he replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilise it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year, but if not you can cut it down.’
The whole passage says a lot about being disappointed. About being disappointing. About being dysfunctional. But it was the ending that spoke. ‘Leave it this year also. Let me dig around it, fertilise it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year.’
Picture a huge tree. It is growing well. Making lots of leaves. Strong green leaves. But something is missing. The fruit is not there. The blossom has not flowered. It is just a mass of green. Now I like green, but I love colour even more. And my tree has no colour. No blossom. So there is a problem. I have tried all sorts. Developing a new branch. It has grown so far and then stopped. So I try again. Grow and then stop. Every time there has been no blossom. Where do I look to sort the problem? In the roots. Deep down in that hidden place. Deep under the layers of living. Deep, where you have buried that disappointment. Just like the vineyard worker, the roots of my tree need healing and to do that I have to dig around them. To accept my disappointment. Not to deny it. To deal with the root cause, not the leaf symptoms. To dig deep and fertilise it.
Think about what fertiliser is! Chicken droppings! Cow manure!! Rotting stuff. Smelly stuff. What happens when it is applied? Growth. What are disappointments? Messy stuff. Hard stuff. Maybe smelly stuff. So when God allows disappointments to happen and come back, maybe, just maybe, He’s applying that fertiliser. Maybe He’s digging deep. Maybe, when the disappointment returns, He has needed to add a bit more fertiliser. So He digs deeper. “If you can, – learn to see that what He’s doing while He’s digging, is not to make you die, but to make you fully alive. He digs because you are worth it!” (Steven Furtick). Once He has dug deep and nurtured you, He allows the living waters to flood in. Waters full of His grace and mercy.
In the vineyard.
We are all trees in His vineyard. All full of potential and purpose. All being tended and nurtured in the soil of grace and mercy. All being anchored to help us through those difficult times. God is waiting to see what we make out of disappointment. He is waiting to see what I do. I can only make something if I stay in His presence. To read His Word. To praise in His glory with everyone near by. To be grounded in His grace. To grow in His grace. To be fruitful with His love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. And to see His purpose come to fruition.
So when next I have this overload of disappointment, I’ll know, God is just adding a bit more of His special fertiliser!
With thanks to Steven Furtick.