“I’m not ok with a mediocre job, I’m not ok with a mediocre apartment, I’m not ok with a mediocre life!!”
As I’ve mentioned before, I live my life through quotes from film and TV. I wonder if anyone knew who I was quoting with today’s opening line? Anyone? It was Bruce, from Bruce Almighty. Yes, before Bruce has his divine encounter and is endowed with God’s power, he’s pretty disappointed with his lot in life. Being overlooked for promotion, not getting the opportunities he thinks he deserves, not having a big enough apartment and to top it all off a dog who refuses to be toilet trained! Bruce decides his life is mediocre and he’s not best pleased about how things have turned out, he’s not exactly angry about it… Just sorely disappointed.
I wonder if the particularly geekily inclined amongst you can fill in the next line that follows Bruce’s rant, the line his girlfriend replies with? “So that’s what you think we have? A mediocre life?”
When we’re disappointed our world view suddenly becomes about a thousand times smaller. All we can see is us, our situation and all the crappy ways it’s hasn’t panned out the way we wanted.
Being bitterly disappointed can make us pretty selfish.
For the last year and a half I’ve been really disappointed. More disappointed than I think I’ve ever been in my life. At first I was angry, raging about how things turned out but that anger burnt itself out. I’m not angry anymore, just disappointed… And as any of us who has ever been told off with those words knows, that’s way worse!!
When you first fill in a job application, even before you get a interview, you imagine. You dream of what might be, what could happen, what life might look like if things go to the plans you’re beginning to make. If you then add it into that mix the feeling that God seems to be calling you to that position and others are confirming that feeling of call, and those dreams become bigger. The imagination goes into overdrive and the plans ever more elaborate.
Well then, what happens if the bubble bursts? If the plans don’t work out, if the many feelings that were there weren’t actually right and it wasn’t to be? What happens is gut wrenching, plummeting, bitter disappointment.
And as I said, suddenly your world, your view, your expectations get smaller. Suddenly you can’t see beyond the disappointment. All you can see is what was supposed to be, but isn’t. All you can think about is what should have been, but can’t be. All you can hold on to is what you wanted and needed, but won’t ever have. And it makes you selfish, not through wanting to be, but just because if you’re focussing on you and your shattered dreams, then there’s not much room for much else!
Time and time again over the last year and a half I’ve found myself almost quoting Bruce when praying. “God I had these amazing plans, I thought WE had these amazing plans, I’m not ok with mediocre, I’m not ok with how things have turned out.” And as I say that, I can almost hear God echoing Grace’s response “So that’s what you think I’ve given you, what we have? Mediocre?”
Disappointment forces you to focus on what you don’t have instead of all that you do. It is an attitude of want, need, lack, rather than one of gratitude.
So I’m challenging myself. Yes I’m not angry anymore but nor do I want to be disappointed. I am choosing to focus on the word: enough.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we are told that God’s grace is sufficient, enough, for us. For his strength is made perfect in our weakness, our lacking, our want, our disappointment (I may have added in the extra bits, but you get the idea). What are the messages of Psalms 23 and 73, if they aren’t of God’s care, love, providence, faithfulness, grace being enough for his people, even in the very real trials, and disappointments, they face?
So ok, I had plans, brilliant plans that would have been great, plans that I felt were God’s plans too, but they weren’t to be. But the life I’m living, the year I’ve had since and the future I’m stepping in to is far from mediocre, it’s just different. And I’m tired of being disappointed about that. I’m tired of being like a small child crying and holding out for a bit of toast they think they really wanted when there is a meal on offer!! His love, His grace, His plan is sufficient, enough, and is made perfect in my empty, disappointed hands.
And now my prayer turns to you, I wonder if you’re disappointed. I wonder if you’ve planned for something, only for it not to come to fruition. I wonder if you’ve dreamed and hoped, only to be told no. It may have been years in the past or yesterday, disappointment is a difficult place to live in because if makes you feel mediocre. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any mediocre people. I know wonderful, exciting, creative, people making the best of their situations. Today I pray that you would look at your lot, your life, your situation, your future and believe that it is enough.