I don’t do risk because it might fail. I don’t like making plans if I can’t see most if not all the outcome.
This is how I’ve operated most of my life, even when I stated categorically that I have faith, I trust God. I hate failure (well, who doesn’t?). I hate disappointments (always have).
I hated as a kid when my parents would make plans for the weekend and then on the day nonchalantly change them. Had they been changed to something better it wouldn’t be so bad. But it was usually a meeting, they forgot, or just good old “I am tired”.
It was no better when I had to sit out a year and not go to college. I desperately wanted to get out and see the land of freedom. But with no scholarship and no investment of money from my parents I went to work instead.
Recently I made plans to attend this year’s Press Service International Conference in New Zealand. I was amazed at the opportunity but was cautious not to say too much or make big plans.
You see the thing with disappointment is the pain of a missed moment or lost opportunity. It’s the shame of living down unmet expectations and lofty declarations. No one wants that. And because I didn’t want it, I carefully “curated” expectations and what I tried to accomplish.
So, the last thing I was going to do was travel across the globe without making sure everything was in place. Initially when the opportunity to go to New Zealand was presented I disregarded it. I certainly didn’t have the money to go. As time proceeded and different support persons came along, I believed it could be a reality and began to actively invest in it.
We all know that point when something goes from a passing thought to actual possibility. I began actively investing; I began researching tourist hot spots; I began making connections with friends and new acquaintances. I planned, prepped and pre-checked. Documents were put together, outfits planned. I was ready to go.
I never arrived in New Zealand.
Not so silent treatment
Sitting at the terminal watching others board and not boarding is unexplicable. I knew no one in the city I was in. All the emotions came at once and I couldn’t fix it. And everyone knew. It felt like a public breakup.
Talking to God at these points is mechanical. There is a consciousness that He is good and loves you. But there is the thickness of disappointment making it too difficult to connect. The thing I feared most had happened. Head and heart struggled but God was still present.
He was present in the locating of relatives at the midnight hour for me to stay with. He was present at the ticketing counters when they gave baggage allowance on my way home. He was present in provision for ticket change costs and encouraging messages from others. He was present in the disappointment.
I hated the disappointment, but I began to see how God was transforming me through it. I learned to be grateful for the small things and to see His love even in the disappointment. Instead of shying away from people out of shame I was able to accept the loss and confidently face people’s questions. I realized that unmet expectations weren’t so bad and that in each experience God was still there.
One morning in my devotions I read the following and it definitely holds true.
Yes: Cultivates trust
No: Invites revelation
Stacy-Ann Smith is a young writer from the West Indies and the 2017 International Young Writer Theology Award and 2018 International Basil Sellers joint winner.