Courageous Confessions#5: For Those Who are Deeply Disappointed in God's Plan
I’m a planner, always have been, and always will be. I remember in third grade completing my assigned autobiography with enthusiastic gusto. It’s funny to think now, but that little project set in my mind and heart expectations, dreams and even time-frames for life’s most exciting events. In my “younger” years I would travel the world and eventually marry at the mature age of 23, have three beautiful children, a golden retriever, and yes-a white picket fence around my house. Naturally.
I. had. plans. Illustrated and bound in a keepsake that would later become weighty as ever.
But life happened full of its unexpected twists and turns. With a heart committed and excited to follow God’s Jeremiah 29:11 promises for me, I was nothing but hopeful. I looked forward to my future dreams and plans unfolding effortlessly as I faithfully did the right things and served God obediently.
But then time passed. Another birthday went by and then another and still nothing. 23 was far in my rearview and I was still alone. No dashing husband. No darling kids. No breakthrough in all of my other secret dreams hidden inside. In fact, lighthearted jokes about singleness and falling behind on life’s milestone checklist turned to an outpouring of unwanted advice around every corner. I chose hope and tried to stay positive but with every sliver of advice or year that passed I found myself utterly heartsick. The well-meaning comments of others or fear that I had missed God’s plan bombarded my thought life in ways that made my head spin.
I remember not one specific moment, but many moments where the confusion and heartsickness overtook me. Why must I wait? Why did the waiting have to hurt so bad? What had I done wrong? As I watched the people around me marry, grow a family, and gain amazing opportunities I could only dream of, the pain got worse. I would cry out in prayer and desperation and I try my best to understand but never could.
I had always been taught and truly believed that God had a an amazing plan for my life. But in this place and stage of life, I was overwhelmed with the thought that His plan was a deep disappointment. I didn’t even want to admit to myself because it felt so wrong. Who was I to question the God of the Universe? How did I know better than Him how my life should unfold? I stuffed down the thought and tried my best to keep going, to be a “woman of faith” and hope which was frankly exhausting. I remember one night coming to God angry and full of accusatory questions. With my disappointment wildly on my sleeve, I listed out all of the reasons why things should be different, how His timeline was wrong and cruel and plans mistaken. I finished my rant and remember hearing such an unexpected response whispered to my heart.
“I know it hurts.
I know it’s hard.
But keep coming to me.
I love the way that even in your pain you keep coming back to me.
In your confusion, you keep coming back.
With questions and accusations and even disappointment, you come back to me.
I know this costs you, but keep coming. ”
I didn’t get any answers that day. I didn’t get the game plan of what was next. All of my dreams didn’t come true. My disappointment didn’t vanish or feeling of painful angst disappear. I WAS disappointed in God’s plan. I felt betrayed and let down. The pain that His plans had caused left me heartsick in every way. My breakthrough moment, however, was in realizing that God was big enough to shoulder it all. My disappointment, questions, accusations, and pain weren’t heavy in His hands. He wasn’t angry or let down by my raw honesty. In fact, He was pleased by it. He considered it a painful sacrifice that He received with tender care.
I wish I could say that looking back I can understand the “why’s” of God’s ways and timing in my life and in those around me, but I can’t. I gave up the desire or effort of finding the overly-spiritual reasons for God’s mysterious ways long ago. What I can say is that God was near in the mess of it. He was pleased by my coming to Him. When I had a choice to have a bitter, hard heart, I did my best to keep it soft. I chose honesty before Him on my good and bad days and leaned in closer when I wanted to run away from the pain and confusion of it all.
Maybe you are disappointed today in the way your life has turned out. Maybe the Jeremiah 29:11 sort of promises have felt like a slap in your face, leaving you heartsick like I’ve been. Just know today that God sees you. He is aching to have you come to Him just as you are. His ability to shoulder your weighty emotions and heartache really does change things. If you’ll let it, His nearness can steady your heart and mind on the achiest of days even when the answers don’t come. Stay soft. Lean in. Let God shoulder it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As I read this confession, I thought of all the dear hearts who would read it who are harboring their own deep, secret or not-so-secret disappointment in God’s plan. I wish, here at She.ology, we had the fulfillment to your hopes and dreams, but you already know we don’t. What we do have are listening ears. Leave a comment or email us if you need prayer or someone to tell your story to. Thank you, dear contributor, for sharing and thank you dear reader, for believing He will be faithful in the dark times. -Bo