How to Disappoint God

I don’t want to fail God.

I think about that. Do you?

Perhaps my greatest fear in life is disappointing God. Which is crazy when you think about it because He knows the very worst things about me. Things I wouldn’t confess to you if you held a hot poker to my face. Things I barely admit to myself. Things He still hasn’t revealed to me. Things I lock away in hidden rooms of my soul where only He has broken the passcode so that He could prove to me that because of Jesus, there’s nothing that will stand between me and His love.

And yet, I fear letting Him down.

There’s an aspect of that fear I should drop. There’s another aspect I need to release in a way that propels me forward.

Allow me to explain.

The world withholds its applause from each of us until we accomplish a worthy performance. We live on stage and too often the boos and catcalls that mark our early efforts ring longer and louder than the ovations when we occasionally get it right. The world is stingy with accolades or reacts with awe at the wrong things. When we perform on the world’s stage, we serve a fickle crowd at best.

Grace, however, isn’t allotted on performance. God’s appraisal has already found us lacking. Still, He sacrificed His Son so that soul-achievement beyond our reach would no longer come into play in our final review.

To enter into relationship with Jesus is to go completely off grid, to exit stage left, to enter a new matrix where success and approval are based on a revolutionary standard, one the world can’t grasp even if it tried.

So, this performance anxiety is what I must drop. God cares less about the cheers of the crowd and more that I have faith to dismount the stage. He bids me come live my life and abandon the playing of roles. The only ovation that matters is His. I need to let my fear fall away the way the stagehand releases his grip on the rope so that the curtain falls on the mass approval I once treasured.

There is, though, another aspect of this fear of disappointing God that isn’t about performance but about trust.

People have attempted through the years to teach me to jump off a dock and learn to dive. Each one would place him or herself in the deep end of a pool or pond, a short distance away, and beckon me to release enough fear to propel myself into the air and into their waiting arms. I never succeeded in doing that. I clutched at the fear like an anchor that might save but really all it did was keep me secured to the dock. Safe, yes, but excluded from the adventure.

Freedom is found in releasing fear in a way that propels us into God’s waiting arms. I need to be more afraid of clinging to the dock than I am of leaping in faith toward the call of Christ, whatever that call may be. I need to be more afraid of not being in His arms than I am of whatever might happen when my feet leave the solid staging.

When God spoke to Gideon, Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, hiding from the enemy. He was hiding. Fearful of being discovered. Jumping at every sound. Eyes darting as he worked the wheat on which they relied.

And yet, the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and greeted him with these words: “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

Gideon’s people were losing to their enemy. They weren’t victors, they were victimized. They weren’t the heralded, they were the hunted, the hiding, the harmed. In a tribe of oppressed peoples, Gideon’s family was among the least.

In that conversation with God, Gideon had to a) drop his fear of what everyone else thought of him (including what he thought of himself) and b) release the fear that kept him hiding in the winepress to let it propel him into God’s idea of Gideon. In God’s arms, Gideon was a mighty man of valor and He was with him.

Reading this, I realized the only way I will disappoint God is if I let fear keep my feet pinned to the dock, anchored to the world’s idea of me, the world’s measure of success, the world’s battery upon my soul.

I will find freedom, not in the place of sure footing, but in the air as I release my fear and let it propel me toward His idea of me, the idea He had when I was formed in His imagination. I can only realize that idea in His waiting arms.

I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t this spell sure failure for someone who never learned to dive into a pool? How can someone like that hope to adventure with God? It’s all about the waiting arms, loved ones. He is perfect love and that perfect love will cast out all my fear. As I cast it off, it will propel me forward and I will learn, not only to dive, but also to fly.

“For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;  but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:37-39

We are not of those who shrink back. Think on that, loved ones.

Greetings, Loved Ones, I hope you’ll prayerfully consider inviting me to speak at your next event or for your small group. Visit my Speaking Page. Choose from Thriving in Troubled Times, Why Dwarves Need Elves, or several other topics. I can’t wait to meet you in person!

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    The Conversation

  1. Wendy Percoco says:

    thanks Lori – I am preparing for a mission trip to India in February and this comes as encouragement to me as I wrestle with those fears of remaining on the dock or jumping into the arms of the Savior. It’s an image that has been present in my mind lately. Knowing that i am about to leap, there is still fear but excitement too, and a trust that is not yet fully trust ( if that makes sense…).

  2. YUP. I knew it. You gave me some old habits to confront and repent.
    Gotta drop that performance anxiety and fall into that reliable embrace.
    Aaaaah, it feels grand already.