So right, there in the middle of my dream of dreams vacation, I was
What I did not plan on was being surrounded at brunch by women whose husbands had left their careers midlife to go into full time ministry. As they asked about us (Ruling Elder or Teaching Elder?) and our journey I found myself sharing that my husband had completed one "trial" seminary class: Bible Survey and that we were seeing where this all would VERY SLOWLY lead, since I was a homeschooling mom and he has the supporting role of our families budget with his career. I was happy with the idea that Joe would take this seminary thing very slowly...part-time...and really not change our life very much...I would be quite unaffected for several years...and maybe we'd even discover that we had truly misunderstood and that neither of us was fit for full time ministry.
What I didn't count on and couldn't see was the VERY similar stories those ladies shared with me...that it sounded very much like what I was going through...and that Paul Tripp had apparently had a conversation with the Almighty about the priorities of my heart. I soon began to feel like God was using these things to mold my heart into complete submission...
So here are my notes from Paul's WIC brunch address (I often take notes in the first person...helps me think more personally about it and to apply principles a little better).
Disappointment is universal but not uniform.
- we live in a fallen world
- difficult things happen
- all of us are not disappointed all at the same time
- think about the times you say, "If only...then my life would be..."
- What am I doing with my disappointment?
- Where does my disappointment lead me?
Disappointment is a responsibility not an emotion. Disappointment is a calling!
Believing in the Sovereignty of God doesn't make things make sense. It is because of the sovereignty of God...that we feel at peace when things don't make sense.
Suffering leads to life never being the same again....life never being the same again is in of itself sometimes a wonderful thing!
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
DNA of sin = SELFISHNESS
Sin shrinks my world down to my wants, my needs, my feelings
Love of myself ... I have a wonderful plan for my life...I have my own dreams to accomplish...
The DNA of sin begins very young:
"My lunch is better than your lunch"
"I want...I want...I want"
Early on, we begin our comparison to others.
"It's not my party"...we don't always get to open the presents, but it's hard lesson to understand as kids why we don't.
We are born into the world for the glory and pleasure of another. It will NEVER be about me!
Theology forces us to grapple with this...we have the need to understand the struggle and disappointment. There is something in all of us that wants to be sovereign over our own lives...in control.
I will never understand disappointment until I understand that I'm actually suffering the fact that MY plan is not going to happen...my dreams for myself are crashing around me.
Even if my plan was accomplished, I would still be unfulfilled...there would still be a void in my heart.
You know everything you need to know about a person's heart if you know what causes them to celebrate and what causes them to weep.
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Contrast between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God.
Self is so deep inside of us.
Treasure = provocative word
assigned value (treasure's in our lives)...one man's trash is another man's treasure.
I am living for some kind of treasure
I attach my identity, meaning and purpose of life and well-being to that treasure.
The thing that is my treasure will control me!!
(education for children...financial security...a nice house...cars...vacations... even the people I love)
What controls your heart will control your behavior.
Your Lord will plunder your treasure...because He deeply fully loves you and that Earthly treasure stands between you and Him. By Grace, He pries open our hands so that we will hold loosely to those Earthly treasures and tightly to Him.
Disappointment, anger and envy are all bred from a heart holding onto Earthly treasures.
Earthly treasures are temporary, they rust...are stolen...be wary of attaching your soul to those.
My heart is only safe when it is held by Him--we give it away to easily to people...loved ones...ministries...jobs...children...houses...
(parents of teenagers: beautiful house that you don't want kids to sit on new furniture...where are the kids going to hang out...would rather have furniture they can be comfy on...feel loved that they are treasured more than a sparkly household)
Grace of refinement...God will take you where you do not want to goin order to produce in you what you could not achive on your own.
What treasure in my heart competes with Jesus?
Sovereign God is a savior---magnificent love---willing to take us through deep disappointments. Deep danger of our idolatry...Gift becomes more important than the giver...we are easily seduced.
We are never in the midst of our disappointments alone. He arrives there first. Prayer doesn't call Him into action, He's already active.
Graciousness gives for us in the midst of disappointment. Disappointment is always hard, but not always just about physical or emotional suffering BUT about the loss of Treasures.
Jesus...the suffering couldn't be better understood by anyone else. He endured rejection so that we would never see the back of God's head.
So there I was riding in the car on the long trip home from Florida...kids tuned in to the borrowed DVD player in the back with their headphones in place...and we were comparing notes. He shared with me some of his many thoughts during the many events he attended. Then he asked the question I was waiting for...he asked, "what do you think all this means...what are we supposed to do?" I replied quickly..."seminary full time...now".
I shared with him what I thought God had showed me...and without hesitation, I knew that God was prying loose my grip on all these earthly treasures...the things that I thought I wanted for us and for the kids...the things that I thought going to seminary and following God's call would cost us...
I believe all of this is in order that I could, somehow, during the journey learn to hold more tightly to Him, trust Him instead of men or myself, that I might learn to worship Him more fully, ...even if it means we go to Africa...even if we end up somewhere and there are no plug ins for my hairdryer...or there are big HUGE spiders...and I believe that if that is His plan, He will give me a passion and desire for those people that is bigger than any spider I might see. I will have to rely on Him for everything...hopefully I'm learning and He won't have to send me that far to learn my dependence is on Him, but there is obedience in the willingness...and to learn to hold loosely the treasures of this world for my true treasure is in Him.