Living a Life of Disappointment….or Purpose?

John and I have a passel of kids – 10 to be exact. As you might imagine, our transportation options are fairly limited – there’s just not a lot to choose from. For weeks we’d been hunting and searching online – trying to find a vehicle that would fit our brood, be comfortable, fuel efficient for road trips – and it had to fit in our limited budget. With a 4000-mile, 4-week family vacation quickly approaching, we were starting to grow desperate, thinking we’d never find something before our self-imposed deadline.

Finally we came across a possibility. It mostly met our criteria, generally fit in the budget and was relatively close (in nearby Omaha NE). On a calculated whim, we took a road trip to Omaha – hoping to drive home our new vehicle. On the way, we worked out payment details with the seller and excitedly made plans for our new set of wheels. However, our excitement quickly unraveled upon arrival. The engine was gas, not diesel as we previously thought. And the payment plan was no longer acceptable to the seller. We left Omaha just a few hours after arriving, empty-handed, upset – thoroughly disappointed.

We’ve all experienced that type of disappointment, haven’t we? We’re hoping something would, or wouldn’t happen, but things don’t work out. Sometimes our disappointments are relatively trivial, but other times our disappointments cut right to our very core. How many of us have heard those dreaded words spoken by someone we love – “You disappointed me.”

If we were really honest, many of us live day to day, trying to avoid disappointment. We end up being overly cautious and hesitant when it comes trying new things and starting new relationships. You may hear about something that sounds interesting or exciting, but make excuses as to why you couldn’t or shouldn’t, and quietly step aside and miss out. As you meet someone new that might make a good friend – you remind yourself of all the times you were hurt by other friends in the past. It’s easier to just stay closed off and not put yourself out. And so it goes – you insulate and protect yourself from new possibilities and end up missing out on living life. And that approach becomes self actualizing, doesn’t it? The more you avoid, hoping not to get disappointed, the more you are disappointed with life, and how you’re living it. And the more disappointed you are, the more you want to avoid.

As I look back on my life, there are definitely things about which I’m disappointed. Decisions I made, words I spoke, things I did, opportunities I avoided. But for some, even bigger disappointments plague us. Is this all there is to life? Why am I alive ? Is there even a purpose for me being here and if so, have I missed it, or messed it up already?

If we look at the word disappoint carefully – it really is to dis- appoint. When we experience disappointment, we are literally missing the individual role we were appointed by God to live. There is a reason we now live in this time and place, with our personal set of talents, mistakes, history and temperament. Life isn’t random chance or even just whatever you make of it.

Our desire to find purpose and meaning in our lives is something God Himself placed into our hearts. We desire to live a life that matters. To live a life of significance. To, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “to leave the world a bit better.” Even the successful, wealthy, powerful, and knowledgeable elite of this world eventually need to know their lives matter on this earth, and if they can’t, they too die disappointed with life.

In the beginning God proclaimed His creation was very good. You, made in the image of God, are looked up on by God, and He proclaims over you – you are very good – you are my workmanship. You are my masterpiece.

The Good News of Jesus really is more than just fire insurance from hell, or meeting the entrance requirements for the pearly gates. It’s much more than following a set of restrictive rules. The Good News is about transformation and purpose – it’s about changed, purposeful lives. It’s about living with freedom and passion to utilize your skills and talents to impact the world. You have a calling with meaning and significance, but you first must acknowledge the Caller.

When you consider your own life today, perhaps you’re living in fear, worried you are actually a disappointment to God. But God clearly whispers back to each one of us, regardless of our choices and actions, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.”