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Summary: Living With Power #2

How many of us can relate to the following word . . . DISAPPOINTMENT?

["The Life You Always Wanted" — John Ortberg pg. 13,14 —]

"I am disappointed with myself. I am disappointed not so much with particular things I have done as with aspects of who I have become. I have a nagging sense that all is not as it should be.

Some of this disappointment is trivial. I wouldn’t have minded getting a more muscular physique. I can’t do home repairs. So far I haven’t shown much financial wizardry.

Some of this disappointment, I know, is worse than trivial; it is simply the sour fruit of self-absorption. I attended a high school reunion and can’t choke back the desire to stand out by looking more attractive or having achieved more impressive accomplishments than my classmates … I am disappointed in my ordinariness.

But some of this disappointment in myself runs deeper. When I look in on my children as they sleep at night, I think of the kind of father I want to be. I want to create moments of magic, I want them to remember laughing until the tears flow … I want to have slow sweet talks with them as they’re getting ready to close their eyes … I want to pray for them in a way that makes them feel cherished.

I look on them as they sleep at night, and I remember how the day really went: I remember how they were trapped in a fight over checkers and I walked out of the room because I didn’t want to spend the energy needed to teach them how to resolve conflict. I remember how my daughter spilled cherry punch at dinner and I yelled at her about being careful as if she’d revealed some deep character flaw; I yelled at her even though I spill things all the time and no one yells at me; I yelled at her — to tell the truth — simply because I’m big and she’s little and I can get away with it. I remember how at night I didn’t have slow, sweet talks, but merely rushed the children to bed so I could have more time to myself. I’m disappointed.

And it’s not just my life as a father. I am disappointed also for my life as a husband, friend, neighbor, and human being in general. I think of the day I was born, when I carried the gift of promise, the gift given to all babies. I think of that little baby and what might have been: the ways I might have developed mind and body and spirit, the thoughts I might have had, the joy I might have created.

I am disappointed that I still love God so little and sin so much . . . I am embarrassingly sinful."

Does anyone share the disappointment Ortberg writes about, or am I the only one? Not only have I found myself disappointed as a father, husband, friend, or neighbor, believe it or not I’ve even been disappointed in myself as a pastor. It’s not just the deacon or other church members who may have “roast pastor” for lunch on Sunday afternoon. I have “roasted myself” all week sometimes! (By the way if you should “roast the pastor” with your kids, then don’t be surprised when they don’t want to have anything to do with God or the church. You have sown weeds into their hearts choking out the good seed of God’s word. Don’t expect a harvest of righteousness in your kids . . . just add it to the list of disappointments you have with yourself because your children will be a reflection of who you are.)


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