This has been a crazy week and my thoughts have been scattered. So, here’s a scattering of things I’m thinking about this week:
• In 2016, New York magazine ran an article on the science of disappointment. Apparently, when we have certain expectations for something good to happen, the anticipation causes our brain to produce dopamine, a feel-good hormone. And if that good thing happens, we get an extra dose of dopamine.
But if that good thing doesn’t happen, our dopamine levels plummet. The article says not only do we not get what we wanted and expected, but we actually feel worse because now we’re also wrong. In recovery circles there’s a saying: “Expectations are resentments under construction.” That’s especially true when you’re dealing with people. But it’s also true when you’re dealing with God, when you’re expecting him to do something you want him to do and he doesn’t.
Lots of people are disappointed and disillusioned with God, but that’s because they expect him to be the deity they want and not the one he is. Episcopal preacher Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book, “God in Pain,” calls disillusionment with God a “sacred experience” where, once we “find out what is not true...we are set free to seek what is -- if we dare -- and to turn away from the God who was supposed to be in order to see the God who is.”
I, for one, have known God’s great love for me in those most painful moments of disappointment with him, when I didn’t get what I wanted from him, but instead got what I needed. It’s grace that enables me to not only see that, but embrace it.
• Here are some things I’ve recently found on Facebook that have either encouraged me or caused me to stop and think: “To find your purpose, you must find your wound.” “When we think, ‘It’s too late,’ God whispers, ‘I still have a plan.’”
“I stress about stress before there’s even stress to stress about. Then I stress about stressing over stress that doesn’t need to be stressed about. It’s stressful.” “God isn’t asking you to figure it out. He’s asking you to trust that he already has.”
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” -- a quote from Desmond Tutu “Tell your mountain about your God.”
• One of my dearest friends is 28 years younger than me and we are polar opposites in a number of areas, but we both know that Jesus loves us and that’s what brings us together. When I think of our friendship I smile, because who else but God would think to bring us together as friends?
* There’s a song we sing at church, which I find myself singing with great gusto, especially the part that goes: “By faith the mountain shall be moved, and the pow’r of the gospel shall prevail; for we know in Christ all things are possible, for all who call upon his name.” The song says we stand as “children of the promise” and that “by faith we see the hand of God.” I’ve got mountains that need moving, and I’m singing that song a lot these days -- and telling my mountains about my God.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.