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Tag Archives: overcoming disappointment

Becoming Vulnerable Again

Ten years ago I was at a good place in my life.  At this time, I felt like I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do.  I was in the prime of my teaching career, mentoring students on and off the golf course as a coach and serving on the board of my church as an elder.  Then, a series of trials left deep wounds to my soul.  When the dust settled, I lost my job, several friendships and the desire to become vulnerable.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

Whenever I endure hardship, it becomes difficult for me to allow strangers back into my life.  Whether this is a defense mechanism, fear of being disappointed again or signs of depression, I tend to withdraw.  Part of me is jaded, hesitant to invest time and energy without knowing what the future holds.  Yet after years of being in some sort of spiritual fog, a moving worship experience a few Sunday’s ago has led me to realize it’s time to open up.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, James 5:16.

During one of these songs, I had a vision of clay being molded and fashioned by a potter.  This imagery was a subtle reminder of God’s nature as a heavenly Potter.  All of my heartache over the last decade is symbolic of the imperfections within clay.  If I can only trust God while I go through the furnace called life, I will become whole.  May the message that I am learning inspire others to become vulnerable to others again.

by Jay Mankus

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Healing or Humility?

If you have ever been disappointed by a promise that was broken or unfulfilled, you know what it means to become jaded.  Maintaining faith or trust in someone or something becomes difficult, not knowing when or if you will be let down again.  This is where I currently find myself, some where between healing and humility.

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health, Psalm 41:3.

A part of me still holds out hope that the condition of my eyes will be restored.  Passages in the Bible like the one above provides assurance of my desire for complete healing.  Yet, the apostle Paul did not have his thorn in his flesh cured.  Instead, this ailment humbled Paul as he was forced to make the best of things without complete healing.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted, Luke 14:11.

Jesus provides a different perspective on life.  God humbles the proud and lifts up the humble.  Thus, as I continue with my battle to see, the Lord knows my pain.  However, in my anguish God does not honor those who complain or pout.  Therefore, as I endure this trial praying for healing, I have to accept the fact that humility may be the final outcome.

by Jay Mankus

The Disappointments in Life

If birds of a feather flock together, then misery does love company.  Playing the victim card allows individuals to dwell upon their disappointments in life.  Like the shark encounters scene in Jaws, people often engage in stories to one up the other.  The ultimate goal is to seek pity from others, to buy your sob story.

And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless, Job 22:9.

When you read the account of Job’s trials within the first two chapters of his book, its hard to find someone who has endured such heartache.  After three friends come to support Job, each begin to wonder why would God allow all these horrible things happen to such a great guy.  The more each reflected upon Job’s disappointments in life, their reasoning changes.   Supportive friends, soon became critics, urging Job to confess a hidden sin at the core of his hardships.  Surely, this must be the reason for disappointment.

That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, Job 22:10.

The one mistake Job does make is blaming God for all his troubles.  I guess Job fell into the trap most do, believing life is suppose to be full of blessings once you commit your life to God.  Unfortunately, the contrary is true as difficult times serve as a refining process.  Tests create an environment to promote growth, maturity and perseverance.  Therefore, the next time disappointment comes your way, consider it a pure joy, James 1:2-4.  Developing this mindset will prevent you from blaming God as well as make you a complete person.

by Jay Mankus

Faking Holiness

If your life was placed on a chart or graph, there would be peaks and valleys with plateaus somewhere in between.  High points mark periods of success and victories within life.  The low areas represent failures where doubt and disappointment often attack your soul.  Unfortunately, human nature causes many to assign blame for their valleys rather than finding fault from within.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Since salaries and wages are normally based upon the services or work provided, its easy to say, “look what I did.”  Yet, the apostle Paul reminds individuals that salvation is not based upon human efforts.  Rather, God’s grace opens the door to eternity, providing access to the undeserving like me.  Sure, I can put on a good face, pretending to be a godly Christian.  Nonetheless, I find myself going through the motions way too often, lukewarm and faking holiness.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

During my recent Daniel Fast, conviction of this fact has consumed me.  Despite my flaws, I am thankful for the passage above.  Jesus died for imperfect people like me, a demonstration of God’s agape love.  May those of you who reach a similar low point embrace biblical promises by accepting God’s free gift by faith.  Don’t pretend to have things all together.  Rather, confess your sins and pray for healing so that reconciliation will begin.

by Jay Mankus

I Choose to Believe

One of the names ascribed to Lucifer in the Bible is the angel of music or song.  This nick name has led Bible scholars to claim the Devil uses secular music to corrupt the hearts and minds of countless individuals.  While this may be true to a certain extent, there are plenty of wholesome songs that I have come across which do just the opposite.  Several of these contemporary artists either elevate the faith of Christian or encourage some to believe.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you, Ezekiel 28:14-15.

In my life, music plays a vital role in the ebbs and flows that I experience.  Although I go through periods of disappointment, unable to find the right song for the difficult stretch in life, artists, ballets and songs can arrive just in the nick of time.  As I struggle to come to grips with my son’s Diabetes diagnosis, I was reminded of an album I purchased earlier in the year.  When I heard this Phillips, Craig and Dean’s song on my birthday, I knew just what to do.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11-12.

The ballet “I choose to believe” talks about how one phone call can change your life.  One day everything is fine and the next your world is turned upside down.  Yet, within the emotions of the trial standing in your way, everyone has a decision to make.  In the case of a woman caught in adultery, she was on death row, about to be executed when a young lawyer named Jesus intervened.  I don’t think she was hopeful early on, yet at the end her life was saved.  In the same way, I still have my health and my family.  While I may not have the money to cover all the added expenses, I simply choose to believe.

by Jay Mankus

Where Do You Go From Here?

Everyone will hit that proverbial bump in the road at some point in life.  This moment of inconvenience could be a quick pit stop, a rough stretch or turn into a dead end.  If the latter is you, its hard to start over, especially if you’re not sure where to go from here.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me, Philippians 3:12.

Upon receiving the news of my most recent rejection from Hollywood, fourth in five years, I’m starting to have second thoughts on my writing career.  Part of me truly believed my latest script Dragged Behind the Devil’ s Door would be a box office hit, but now that reality is setting in I wonder if I’m on the right track or simply chasing some improbable fantasy.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13.

Perhaps the apostle Paul went through a similar phase during his first century mission trips throughout the Middle East.  Instead of seeing progress, Paul experienced failure, persecution and suffering.  While writing a letter to one of his favorite churches, Paul had a vision that gave him direction for the last portion of his life.  May the words above serve as a message of hope to those ready to give up, quit or abandon your calling.  Although I’m not sure what role writing will play in the next stage of my life, I need to forget past disappointments by straining toward what is ahead, eternal life with Christ my Lord.

by Jay Mankus

 

After a Loss

Whether situations in this life or the actual grieving process following the loss of a life, neither is a pleasant experience.  In the moments afterward, raw emotions are stirred causing an individual to teeter between depression and frustration.  How you handle disappointment will influence the person you will become.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, 1 Corinthians 13:5.

Last night I was a substitute baseball coach during the final scrimmage of the preseason.  Over matched by better athletes, competitors and talent, I think the final score was 24-0.  The game was called in the bottom of the third after the opposition stole home on 3 consecutive wild pitches.  Its bad enough to get beaten, but when you have to wave the white flag to surrender, its a hard pill to swallow.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2.

During my final year in Chicago, I spent most of that time working for Michael Jordan Golf, serving as a sales associate before being promoted to Assistant Manager and Store Manager.  This allowed me to rub shoulders with people close to Michael.  While I never met him directly, no one hated to lose more than Michael.  Thus, he was relentless, coming back more determined than ever.  Although this has nothing to do with the Bible in particular, this is the mentality you should possess after a loss.

by Jay Mankus