Exploring the Deep

Passionately pursuing life, faith and adventure…

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When disappointment interrupts your attitude.

Last week I found myself in a different sort of head-space than normal: I was perplexed and confused and annoyed. It was not a fun space for this girl to find herself in. There wasn’t a single thing I could pin my feelings back to, but rather a series of smaller things that culminated with a general sense of uneasiness.

As a friend of mine from college would say, “Stop the world. I want to get off.” Ok, I didn’t really want to stop the world and I didn’t really want to get off, but I did want to hit the pause button and spend some time thinking about what was going on around and within me!

This new head-space I found myself in was causing a shift in my mood. It was causing me to question my motives and attitude. And it ultimately made me ask myself: what am I supposed to do when disappointment interrupts my attitude?

When vacation plans change…
When opportunities are offered to other people…
When family doesn’t respond the way you anticipate…
When a relationship comes to an end…
When jealousy creeps in…

To be honest, I had to sit with that question for a while. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I did know the answer – and I wasn’t living up to it.

Inside I was reeling and wanted to embrace it. I wanted to do all the things I knew I shouldn’t – hold on to the hurt, be upset, say something harsh, eat a handful of bon bons. But none of that would ease the disappointment or help my attitude (or my waistline). I knew I needed to take a breath and remind myself that I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, but that I’m to “put off [my] old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of [my] mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

But even more than simply adjusting my attitude, which is often short-lived and always a work-in-progress, I knew I needed to recall the One who holds my life in His hands. It’s a difficult lesson I’m learning – that I don’t hold the map of the master plan for my life. This lesson is uniquely and simultaneously both humbling and empowering. My life isn’t filled with the same giants the prophet faced in Habakkuk 1:1-4, but the same word God spoke to him holds true for me. And His promise in 1:5 excites me: “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

And with that word lingering in my mind, I breathe deeply in and out. I’ve found the answer to my dilemma. And I’ve found myself ready for the world to keep turning.


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Amazing Grace: fresh revelation or stale experience?

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now, I see…. The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.”

The lyrics to this well-known song have always brought me a deep sense of peace, comfort and hope. As a 19-year-old new believer they rang like a bell in my soul – clear, bright and loud. They spoke to my places of hurt, the dark corners of my heart, the grimy places of my soul that needed cleansing. They said, “It’s OK. Forget the past and the stupid things you’ve done. God’s amazing grace has taken care of it. You’ve got a future now.” I’ve clung to that promise ever since.

Years later, the new chorus added by Chris Tomlin added a fresh layer to the story. “My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy rains. Unending love, Amazing grace.” It was fresh revelation for this maturing soul.

How often do we (how often do I) live the past? How often do we live at a spiritual peak that is so far out of view in our rear view mirror that we don’t notice our new surroundings? Recently I felt like I was slapped in the face with the understanding that grace and mercy aren’t just for the things I’ve done in my life, but also for my mind and attitude. I am changed. I’m not the same as I was at 19; I’ve matured spiritually. The Lord has deepened my walk. My chains are gone. I don’t live with the same doubts or fears as I did when I first came to faith. I’ve been set free. I can walk in confidence as a more mature believer.

At each new level of spiritual maturity, God is eager to extend His grace (His generous offer to give me what I don’t deserve: His love and compassion). He is eager to extend His mercy (His offer of not giving me what I rightfully deserve: separation from Him and a life of pain). All I must do is trust in Him, walk with Him, and allow His hand and voice to guide and grow me.