Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘disappointments’

Forgive? NO! Blame? YES! Heal? NO!

SOURCE:  Living Free

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

We all experience setbacks and disappointments in life.

Sometimes small ones that we shrug off, learn from and move on. But sometimes disappointments have more impact. They stay with us, causing the past to haunt our present—and future.

The setback could be anything—bankruptcy … a failed marriage … termination from a job … a friendship gone sour. Or it might be losing a parent at a young age. Or the death of a spouse or someone else we cared for deeply.

A natural tendency when we have suffered a severe disappointment is to place blame. Perhaps we hold another person responsible. Sometimes we blame ourselves. We might even get angry with God.

God has promised us a future and a hope, but unforgiveness can block our ability to experience all the freedom he has planned for us. As long as we are unwilling to forgive, the disappointment of the past has control over our lives, and we cannot move forward.

It’s time to forgive those who have hurt us. It’s time to forgive ourselves. It’s time to open our hearts to the love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father. And then it will be time to move on to the wonderful plans he has for us.

Father, help me to truly put the past behind and look forward to what lies ahead. Forgive my sin. Help me to walk in forgiveness—of others and of myself. In Jesus’ name ….


These thoughts were drawn from …


Free to Grow: Overcoming Setbacks and Disappointments by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min.

Bad Choices: Forgetting the Past — Looking Forward

SOURCE:  Living Free

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

God loves us so much that he gives us the freedom to make choices. Some are of little consequence, but others are life-changing. This freedom of choice dates back to Adam and Eve. They made a bad choice, and sin entered the realm of mankind.

The freedom to make choices brings responsibility. We have all made poor choices at times and have suffered the consequences of those bad choices. The good news is that no matter what poor choices we may have made in the past, there is always hope for a better future. God knew that we would make some bad choices, but he loves us so much that he sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin and to provide a way for our relationship to him to be restored.

Some people go through life carrying the load of some wrong choices they have made in the past. They believe they have messed up so badly that nothing good can ever come of their lives. Do you ever feel this way?

Good news! If you want to be set free from the past, Jesus is the answer. He has already paid the price for your sin … for every wrong choice you have ever made. Talk to him. Ask him to forgive you and to help you make better choices from now on. He is ready, and he is more than able.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

Remember, you are very special to God. He loves you no matter what you have done. He is there for you. He wants you to put the past behind so that you can become all that he has designed you to be. Ask God’s forgiveness … learn from your mistakes … and look forward to a future filled with hope.

Lord, thank you for forgiving my sins. I have made so many wrong choices. Help me now to put them behind and to look forward to the future you have planned for me … one filled with hope. In Jesus’ name …


These thoughts were drawn from …

Free to Grow: Overcoming Setbacks and Disappointments by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min.

Suffering: Struggle In Gethsemane

SOURCE:  John MacArthur/Grace to You

“Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’”
– Matthew 26:38

In His time of greatest distress, Jesus realized His human weakness and His need to depend on the Father.

As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James, and John, He experienced a more profound anguish over sin and death than ever before. His deep and desolate distress was made more severe when He considered the many personal disappointments that confronted Him. First, there was the betrayal by Judas, one of His own disciples. Then there would be the desertion by the Eleven and Peter’s threefold denial of his Master. Jesus would also be rejected by His own people, Israel, whose leaders would subject Him to all kinds of injustices before His death.

It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that Christ tells His three trusted disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.” A person can die from such heavy sorrow, which in God’s providence did not happen to Jesus. However, the magnitude of Jesus’ sorrow apparently caused the blood capillaries right under His skin to burst. As more and more capillaries burst from the extreme emotional pressures Jesus endured, blood escaped through His pores, “and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). Such sweating was just one outward result of what our Lord felt at the excruciating prospect of His having to become sin for us. His holiness was completely repulsed by such a thought.

It was because Jesus did keep watch and look to His Father in prayer that He endured and passed this test in the Garden. Right up to the end, Christ lived His earthly life in total, sinless submission to the Father. As a believer, you also will face times of severe testing and trial when only direct communion with God will give you the strength to prevail. And you also have the added encouragement of Jesus’ example in Gethsemane, the climax of His experiences through which He became a High Priest who can fully “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

What to do When You’re Waiting for God to Deliver You

SOURCE:  Ron Edmondson

Over the years, I’ve observed countless people who become derailed by the circumstances of life. Speaking as one who has failed many times, the key to long-term success is often in how you respond during the darkest days of your life.

I’ve always enjoyed the advice God gave His people when they were in captivity by a rival nation. Immediately before He told them they would be in captivity for 70 years, He told them to:

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters.  Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Jeremiah 29:5-7

He told them to keep living! In time (70 years in this case), He would deliver them, but in the meantime, they were to live life as they already knew to live.

By the way, that’s the passage from which we get a favored verse…one we love to cling to and offers us hope:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

If you are in a season of captivity…if you can’t seem to find your way these days…if you are waiting for God to deliver you…don’t stop doing the good things you know to do. Don’t stop moving forward with what you have today. Don’t neglect the relationships you have now during your mourning of the relationship that you’ve lost.  Seek ways to bless others as you wait for your blessing.

Don’t give up! Push forward, clinging to your faith, while you wait for God’s deliverance.

What you do and how you respond during the difficult days often determine the degree of success and enjoyment of the good days. Learning to navigate through droughts, disappointments and failure is a key towards enjoying the best of life and living as a person of faith.

Protecting Your Cross-Cultural Marriage: 10 Tips

External stressors are magnified in cross cultural marriages because of disappointments when cultural assumptions are unmet. Developing a shared identity is the key to growth.

 

My wife Dalia and I met in our senior year of college. And, for much of that final undergraduate year, I was on my best behavior to win her over. When she finally said “yes”, my youthful naiveté led me to believe I had gotten through the toughest part. It wasn’t long after our nuptials that I realized just how wrong I was.

I expected some bumps on our marital road. I knew marriage comprised constant adjustments and difficult compromises. But nothing (neither our parents, our respective churches nor our college education) prepared us for what we ultimately would find most challenging – thriving in a cross-cultural marriage! On the day that Dalia, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Panama, and I, an African-American from the rural south, wed, “culture clash” was furthest from our minds. But, it wouldn’t be long before its presence was felt.

Disappointment: The Threat to Your Cross-Cultural Marriage

My first clue that Dalia and I were going to stumble over some cultural differences came when she lovingly offered to fix me chicken with gravy. “Excellent!” I replied. I could almost taste my grandmother’s succulent smothered chicken with biscuits.

But, when Dalia served dinner, I was visibly disappointed by the chicken entrée. Instead of the flour-based brown gravy that I was expecting, Dalia used a tomato-based gravy common to Panamanian dishes. This was certainly not what my grandmother would have prepared. After a few rounds of clarification, the misunderstanding was clear. Dalia and I used the same term “gravy” with a completely different set of expectations.

Disappointment associated with unmet expectations is a drain on many marriages. However, the threat of unmet expectations to cross-cultural marriages is more pronounced because of differing cultural idiosyncrasies. What makes the pain more difficult is that the disappointment often extends to your parents and others who are most important to you. Generally, the more dissimilar the cultures, the more pronounced the disappointment.

For Dalia and me, cross-cultural conflict has revolved around the authority of our parents, financial decisions and social interaction. Whether your expectations come from your family of origin, the social context in which you live or simply your ingrained attitudes, fundamental differences in beliefs and behaviors often impede the sense of covenant that God expects. What are your examples of unmet expectations in your cross-cultural marriage?

With twenty years of experiences in a cross-cultural marriage, I have learned that culture influences nearly every important aspects of marriage. To a large extent, communication style, boundary setting, elderly care, parenting, gender roles, food preferences, biblical interpretation and even worship style are negotiation points for the cross-cultural marriage.

When you married your spouse, you married his or her culture too. This is both the challenge and opportunity of cross-cultural marriage. Just as the kingdom of God is enriched by the diverse background and experiences of the people that worship Jesus Christ as Savior, diversity enhances marriage. Though from a different culture, your Christian spouse and you are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). This shared identity, enabled by honest communication, transforms your differences from liabilities to assets by leveraging cultural strengths. Your marital diversity covers one another’s weaknesses, broadens your ideas, models healthy conflict resolution and extends your reach for ministry.

Ten Tips for Protecting Your Cross-Cultural Marriage

Despite the stressors and disappointments in your cross-cultural marriage, if you desire God’s gifts for your marriage, He promises you a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31). As you and your spouse attend to the following ten tips, I am convinced that you will see each other and your marriage the way God sees it – a vessel of honor:

  1. Prioritize your spiritual identity as a Christ follower over your cultural identity.
  2. Prioritize understanding over judging.
  3. Do not minimize what your spouse maximizes. (If your spouse thinks it is important, it is!)
  4. Everything important to you should be explained to your spouse rather than assumed.
  5. Honor and value your spouse’s parents and extended family.
  6. Negotiate boundaries with your extended families that are acceptable to each of you. (Caution: In a healthy marriage, parental loyalty should never exceed spousal loyalty.)
  7. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. (Grace asks that you assume the best of your spouse rather than the worst.)
  8. Embrace your identity as a cross-cultural person. (Value the fact that you represent the fusion of two cultures that enhances your perspective.)
  9. Integrate elements of your respective cultures in your daily living (e.g. food, language).
  10. Pray daily for the wisdom, grace and patience necessary to treat your spouse with trust and respect.

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