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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trading Disappointment for Identity

The goal of the process of dealing with disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment is to replace them -one of the great mysteries of the Kingdom. We trade disappointment for out identity in Christ Jesus. We trade discouragement for God’s courage. We trade disillusionment for God’s hope and purpose.

When our dream dies we are disappointed, in our emotions. It can also seem we’ve been dis-appointed, removed, from our actual appointment in life. The dream dies. Now what?

I struggle with remembering my identity and knowing my appointment when I revert to trying to figure everything out. I lose my identity when it was tied to my dream instead in Christ alone. I don’t always walk by faith very well. I like things very planned. I like to know what to expect. I have learned to walk by faith in many areas and in many seasons. When a dream dies it seems to shake me and cause me to question everything, or almost. Maybe that is good. A refocusing, realigning process.
The trouble comes when we confuse the disappointment in our emotions for actually being disappointed or removed. In the very real and powerful emotions of grieving we can think our identity has been lost, but it’s only the dream, and possibly only for a time. We have a God of resurrection.

I think we see this with King David in the Psalms. He expresses his deep disappointment and hurt even to despair. In the end he always comes back to the goodness of God in His promises. He goes through the grief and the pain of a dream dying. He expresses his disappointment but comes back to his divine appointment. He remembers who God is and what God has appointed him for and the promises made to him. We must grieve and go through that process when a dream dies. Even though my dream has died and I'm hurt I have not been disappointed. I still have purpose. I still have calling. I still have good works to accomplish.

God knows who he designed us to be and what he designed us to do. You have an unchanging identity in him. You may have specific verses that remind you of this, hopefully you have words of hope and encouragement others have spoken over you to remind you who you are. If you don’t know what you are appointed for ask God to reveal who he made you to be, find people who see more in you than you see in yourself. And here are some verses to get you started or to add to your list.

We have an identity in Christ and are appointed to do certain things. God appointed you and empowers you to bring Him pleasure.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
He appointed you to everlasting life and salvation.
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:15-17
He has appointed you a minister of His new covenant, signed in Jesus blood.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
If you’re like me you want a written plan of specific steps, details of your appointment. Go to this class, follow this career, or get involved in this ministry. The verses I listed don’t give that kind of detail. They do give a greater perspective though. God has an appointment for each one in the work of His Kingdom. Knowing that in the general sense gives hope for seeking the specifics. Faith is required to please Him, knowing every step and detail would make faith impossible. 

To learn your specific appointment there are many helpful tools like personality and strength tests. God has placed passion in each heart for different things, those help, too. Other people can give you direction. Most importantly seek the Father. He speaks to you. He knows you. He knows your strengths, weakness, and passions. He alone must be the final authority on your appointment.

We are appointed to praise. We are appointed to encourage one another, build each other up.
I have a great God to glorify. I have a great commission to fulfill. I have a family to love.

I'm realizing as I reread this I did not include verses for my identity in Christ. I'll try to come back and add some. What are your favorite?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Processing a Dead Dream

What does processing a dead dream look like? The process needs the right tools and the right environment for healing. Dead dreams must be dealt with so we are no longer defined by them and so we don’t stink. I’m no expert but here’s what I’ve got so far.
1. Grieve.
2. Repent if needed.
3. Refocus on God. Remember God’s promises, they haven’t changed.
4. Seek wisdom.
5. If it was a dream from God ask for a resurrection. If not ask for a new dream.
Grieve. Every dream that dies is a loss, likely more than one. Going through the process of what we lost, or perceive we lost, can teach us a lot about ourselves, our faith, and our relationship with God. Grieving may reveal people we need to forgive – ourselves, others, and even God. It may also reveal places we were off track in which case we must…

Repent. Sometimes we go after God’s dreams our way, or in our time. I’ve often told my children doing the right thing at the wrong time is wrong. It’s true for us, too. We need to repent of going on our own schedule. Maybe it was entirely our dream. Then we need to repent of going our own way. We get back on track by…

Refocusing on God: Our identity, our worth, everything is in Him alone. Deeper understanding and believing of this truth will anchor us through our healing. He is faithful. He keeps his promises. Life will not be perfect, but He is. Praise Him with a truly grateful heart for the blessings you have, even when a dream has died.

Seek wisdom. God’s wisdom can reveal ways He is working even the death of your dream for your good and His glory. Dead dreams still speak to you; or rather Satan speaks for them. They accuse us, remind us of failure. They speak lies against the character of God and His promises. They make circumstances seem more real than the promises of God. Learn from your experiences with dead dreams.  True friends and God can give you wisdom for next time.

Part of processing a dead dream is to see which part of it was God’s. Maybe God’s part of the dream was the mission and the vehicle was or own thinking.
The process of dealing with disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment is to replace them -one of the great mysteries of the Kingdom. We trace disappointment for God’s appointment. We trade discouragement for God’s courage. We trade disillusionment for God’s hope and purpose. I’ll write about how to do that next week.

I'd love to hear how you have dealt with your dead dreams.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What's in My Heart?

I want my children to know and experience the God of heaven. God who cares about them enough to speak to them. One way He speaks is in our imagination, through words or pictures. Listening for His voice takes practice and discernment. This is an exercise we do from time to time. I've used it in classes of children as well as with my own. It can be a great opportunity to connect and minster to their needs.
We made a very simple book of folded paper (8.5 x 14) stapled at the edge, no cover, no binding. I love the creative options of making books, but today the focus was on our hearts. 

We looked at what was in our heart and entered it in our newly made journal.
I saw doubts, failure, and confusion raining down.
Then we asked God how he saw our hearts and entered that in our journal.

God sees through the lens of Jesus, not my sin
God saw he sent blessings as water for me to grow and all is for His glory.

I drew and wrote. One son writes, one draws. My daughter draws.

Heart of negative emotions, but God sees a strong man of God.

How they saw their heart.
How God saw their heart.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vocabulary Spelling City Review - Part 1

Practicing spelling words can be a boring task. It also can be quite time consuming with three children who need practice. Since we homeschool it is sometimes good for someone other than me to help them with things.
I have used some of the free features on Spelling City in the past. I like to enter my own list or just to change things up a bit with some learning games.
Now I'm excited to try out all their new features. You'll see why and how in the following disclosure:
I've been given a Premium Membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.
VocabularySpellingCity helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Unscramble, Hangman, WordFind, and Crossword Puzzle. Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as Multiple Meaning Words and Possessive Nouns . Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.
There might be more free memberships available for bloggers. If you're interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com

Looking forward to trying it out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Disappointment, Discouragement, Disillusionment

My family and I are taking a class at church using Dream Journey by Andy & Janine Mason. I didn’t know about the class before I chose my One Word. It gives me a great opportunity to work through some of my issues with dreaming. Sometimes I feel like I need a daily course instead of weekly. The topic of what to do with dead dreams brought many insights.

When a dream dies we are affected by disappointment, then discouragement, and maybe even disillusionment. 

Disappointment can mean not meeting expectations or being removed from office. Dreams die for a number of reasons. Things didn’t turn out like expected. People didn’t understand or cooperate. We are hurt. We question who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. “Who am I?” “What am I appointed for?” “Have I been removed from my appointment?” 

Discouragement is the lack of courage. We can’t go after God’s dreams without courage. When a dream dies it may seem like it took all our courage with it. It didn’t work this time, do I really want to try again? It doesn’t seem to be working, do I want to go on?

Disillusionment is filled with confusion. It’s a hope stealer, sometimes even a faith killer. Who am I? What am I doing? Did I misunderstand God’s plan or purpose? What do I do now? Why try again?
I think processing, dealing with; healing from dead dream restores hope, courage and sense of purpose. It may even resurrect a dead dream.

Your dream may not be dead. It may just appear dead to you because you had an expected outcome or an expected route to travel. Part of that disillusionment. God’s plan may be quite different than ours. There may be an element of the dream God gave you that you then took off with and missed where He intended you to go. God’s results don’t always look like ours. God may indeed have given the dream, but without all the details. I think of Bruce Olson, a missionary to the Motilone people of Columbia. He had a love for languages. He thought he was meant to go to lots of schooling to use that love a languages. God gave him a commission to the Motilone people. He couldn’t even understand them. Eventually God used Bruce’s love and knowledge of languages to help the Motilone’s write down their language and translate the scriptures for them to read. It was God’s dream, but did not look the way Bruce expected. There were certainly times he thought he's dream was dead and so was he, for that matter.

We must work through our disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment. More on processing a dead dream next week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When Dreams Die

I have asked before what to do when a dream dies. This week in my Sunday school class I gained some insight into the answer. It seems fairly straight forward, but still I had obviously missed it.

What do you do when anything you love or is important to you dies or is taken away? You grieve. See that was obvious. So the dream is dead and I’m sad, mad, and confused. Perhaps in moving on, trying to be positive and grateful the grieving process gets cut short. Unfinished grief leaves little room for new dreams. A dead dream raises so many questions. Why didn’t it work? What do I do now? Who am I? I thought I knew but it didn’t work out. Where was God? I thought I was pursuing a dream, an assignment from God, was I wrong? I thought I knew His voice, don’t I?

I saw in class this week that I have many dead dreams, too many of them not fully processed.
Borrowing from the analogy in class, dead things stink. Trust me on that one if you have no first-hand experience. I don’t mean like freshly harvested meat, I mean it died and was left to rot. When our dream dies we know it and we hurt, we are aware like we are aware of the stink of something rotting. 

If we’re not careful we can stink to those around us, too.

After a time the rotting thing dries up and doesn’t smell anymore. Our dead dream stops hurting so much and we forget about it. It’s still there. Satan knows about our dead dreams and he uses them to speak to us. “You can’t do that. Remember last time you tried?”, “God wouldn’t ask you to risk that.”, “Who do you think you are?”, “Why would God ask a failure like you to do that?” I’m not sure but I think a properly grieved and processed dead dream won’t give Satan any ammo.

I have many dead dreams, as I’ve said. One is a child. A child I never held alive in my arms. For a time Satan had a heyday with me over my loss. Over the years I grieved and processed the loss of my son. I still miss him. I still can be overcome with longing and sadness. I no longer question who I am or my purpose in life because my son died.

I have other dreams that have died that have left me in a tailspin about who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. Those are the ones not fully grieved and processed. Having realized this I am in the process re-established God’s truth in my soul about those dreams.