Entries tagged with “Disappointment”.
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Mon 20 Aug 2012
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23).
When we are discouraged, we lose heart. Our courage fails, our passion is cooled, we lose inner motivation and we feel pain.
Potentially discouraging events, words, trials and disappointments happen regularly in church life.
In times of change and transition the likelihood of these things occurring increases.
The Danger of Discouragement in Church Life
There are two major reasons why the enemy will foster discouragement within churches.
1. Disheartened people do the enemy’s work of criticism and accusation.
If discouragement becomes lodged in our hearts, it will find expression in our mouths. Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34).
When discouraged, we are easily tempted to become critical and judgmental, especially if the source of discouragement is another person or church leader.
2. Discouragement robs people of motivation—and unmotivated people will not do God’s work.
A good illustration of this is found in the book of Ezra. When the exiles began to rebuild the temple of God, it says that, “the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.” (Ezra 4:4).
Doorways To Discouragement During Change In Church Life
Here are 6 entry points of discouragement in changing church life, along with tips on how to navigate through them:
During times of transition, changes are made in the vision, structure or culture of a local church.
When changes do not resemble our preconceived idea of how God is going to accomplish His purposes, we may become disappointed.
Disappointment can relate to unfulfilled vision. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” as Proverbs 13:12 says.
Prophetic people can be very vulnerable to this as we carry dreams and visions for our own lives and our church.
Disappointments may also relate to our own desire for ministry in the local church. During restructure we may be set aside from our role, or another person may be promoted in the ministry before us.
SURVIVAL TIP: At times like this, we must never lose sight of the fact that God Himself is watching over our lives and our calling, and that as surely as He has promised, He will bring it to pass as we keep our hearts right—in His time.
During times of change in church life, relationship hurts can arise very quickly. If we do not fully understand or appreciate changes being made, we may experience pain or offense.
Hurt can also be personal, for example, someone may hurt us through inconsiderate words or actions, even unintentionally.
The closer that person is to us, or the more authority a person carries, or the greater a position of trust, the deeper the wound can be.
Sometimes, the unsaid brings pain. Thankyous that are due but not given, or encouragement that is withheld, can also lead to discouragement.
SURVIVAL TIP: It is important to deal with hurts as they occur, or as soon as possible afterwards. Apply honesty, transparency, forgiveness and grace.
Change brings loss and loss brings grieving. This can be the loss of a ministry, a loss of familiar support structures or even the familiarity of the culture of church life.
Sometimes loss may be related directly to growth. For example, a pastor of over 200 people cannot give each congregational member the same amount of attention as when the congregation consisted of 60 people. A relational loss is felt.
If close friends leave the local church, we naturally go through a time of grieving.
SURVIVAL TIP: It is important to acknowledge grief and to bring it out into the open. Our grief needs be validated and expressed so that we can release it in a healthy manner and move on.
Change can be turbulent. Human error or misjudgement is more likely to take place during times of transition in the church.
Imperfect, human leaders cannot be expected to lead perfectly at all times. These are the times when we most need to extend grace to one another and to our leaders.
SURVIVAL TIP: When we have concerns about the way changes have been led in our church, it is a fresh opportunity to place our trust in God. The Bible sets a clear precedent that in spite of real or perceived mismanagement of human leaders, God is sovereign and His purpose for our lives, the community and the church will ultimately be accomplished.
5. Second-Hand Discouragement
Discouragement is catching. Someone else’s discouragement, vocalised, can be easily passed on to us.
The saying, ‘a burden shared is a burden halved’ is a lie when that burden is an offence in the church.
SURVIVAL TIP: Resist taking on another person’s discouragement. Another person’s offence is a burden you were never meant to carry. Once you take it on, it is difficult to remove.
Trials happen; mistakes are made; structures erected to fulfil visions and dreams sometimes fail; dry seasons occur; bad things happen to good people—and the local church is no exception.
During transition, such difficulties are inevitable.
Trials are allowed by God, and come “so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).
SURVIVAL TIP: Remember that trials not only strengthen our faith, they are also part of God’s learning process for the church and for us as individuals.
There will always be reasons for hurt and discouragement in a growing, dynamic church. But I have learned that discouragement is an enemy to be shunned—with vigilance.
However, discouragement can also be helpful: it can be like an orange flashing light, indicating that there is something in our lives that needs attending to.
Our God is the source of encouragement and hope. The Kingdom of God, the scripture says, consists of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).
The atmosphere of God’s Kingdom and that of discouragement cannot coexist. We have the power to choose which one we embrace.
Have you been discouraged in church life? Or would you like to know more about the antidote to discouragement and division in the church? This article, along with the above cartoon, is an excerpt from my book, ‘Prophetic People In A Changing Church.’
You can find out more about it on the Enliven Blog e-books page.
Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released?
Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Spiritual Gift
Set Yourself Free From Judging Others
Going Through A Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts
Have you experienced and overcome discouragement in church life? Share your own survival tips by leaving a comment on the comments box. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Did you receive this from a friend? Read more from Enliven Blog or sign to receive our weekly prophetic teaching updates at http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog
Mon 28 Nov 2011
Today I am going to review a very common barrier to growth in prophetic ministry, and that is being hurt in relation to your spiritual gift of prophecy.
(Note that these same points relate to wounds experienced in other spiritual gifts or ministries—replace ‘gift of prophecy’ or ‘prophetic ministry’ with the name of your gift or ministry)
An unhealed hurt or disappointment will not only affect your gift of prophecy, it will hold you back in other areas of your life, too.
Some signs that your prophetic gift may be blocked due to sustaining a wound are:
There are many ways that people can become hurt or wounded in relation to prophetic ministry. The two most common are criticism and disappointment.
There are several ways that criticism can occur:
- We may have made a genuine mistake in the use of our gift, but leadership of the situation was handled badly. Perhaps we were publicly shamed. Perhaps we were not guided or restored as we should have been.
- The criticism may have been completely unwarranted—this adds a sting of injustice to the wound.
- Criticism was aimed at our level of maturity in the gift.
We do not criticise or judge babies who are learning to crawl or walk—in fact we celebrate their efforts. And yet it is amazing how quickly we Christians judge one another when we are stumbling through learning stages in our spiritual gifts.
Accusation and judgement are also related to criticism.
I have known people who have been accused of being Jezebellic, for example. This kind of accusation can cause a deep wound in someone who has prophetic gifts. 
Some ways in which we can experience disappointment include:
- Our prophetic ministry has not been listened to, encouraged or appreciated
- Leaders have not recognised our gift or they have not made room for us to exercise or grow in our prophetic ministry
- Mentors or people dear to us in prophetic ministry let us down, are removed from our lives, or are themselves wounded in relation to their ministry
- Ministry opportunities—for whatever reason—have been removed from us
If you have experienced any of these types of wounds in your prophetic ministry, you are not alone. These are things that many of us can relate to in some form or another.
In fact, you will see these types of hurtful things happen to people with prophetic callings in the Bible.
Think of the rejection that Joseph went through with regard to his gift of prophetic dreams and interpretation. He was criticised, rejected, misunderstood and passed over for many years before God raised him up and released him in his call.
Yet he kept his heart free from bitterness—and in that is a lesson for each of us.
It seems that God allows us to go through these tests as part of our development and character growth. When we overcome, He can use us in greater ways and entrust us with His Word and His power.
Steps to Breaking Free from Blockages in your Prophetic Gift due to Hurt
1. Take Ownership
A blockage takes place when we put up barriers, or walls of self-protection around us to prevent us from being wounded again.
Even though others may have been the reason that we were shut down to start with, the ongoing issue is that we are reluctant to expose ourselves to further hurt. Our instinct is to hold back.
So the very first thing we need to do, is to recognise our own part and responsibility in the blockage.
We are the ones who, with God’s help, have the ability and the keys to break ourselves free.
We do this by taking acknowledging this in prayer and repenting of allowing the walls to go up.
God is sufficient. He is all the protection we need and He waits and longs for us to trust in Him. But often we use our own efforts to protect ourselves—and this is wrong.
Secondly, if we have been criticised, removed from ministry or held back in the past, there may be an aspect of truth in the reasons for the action that was taken.
I know from experience that this is a tough area to acknowledge, but addressing it and being humble enough to make any necessary adjustments is vital to fulfilling God’s call on our life.
2. Release forgiveness to the person or group that has wounded you
Jesus said, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
Unforgiveness and the desire to obtain justice can chain us to an event, preventing us from making progress in our prophetic gift.
In prayer, speak out forgiveness, release the offenders from judgment, and from any debt that you believe they owe you.
Sometimes, God might lead you to communicate with the person or group that has hurt you, but isn’t always necessary.
Use discretion here, and look for some wise counsel.
Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice that we make. Also remember that forgiveness is not just a one-off decision; it is an ongoing process. This means continuing to choose forgiveness whenever you feel the hurt or the negative effects of the situation.
3. Find a Safe Person who can pray with you
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
Some things that can be prayed through personally and with a prayer partner are:
- Pray through the issues raised in points 1 and 2 above
- Identify and renounce any wrong belief that you have taken on board following the hurtful event—e.g. ‘I will never be good enough,’ ‘God has not called me to this ministry’
- Pray and affirm the redemptive opposite of that lie, i.e. the truth about God’s love and affirmation of you as a person, as well as your gift
- If criticism, accusation or judgement was involved, pray against the power or effects of the words spoken
- Pray for healing of your heart and a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit
This also reminds us of the fourth and most important aspect of breaking free from any blockage caused by a wound to your gift and that is:
4. Receive God’s Healing
If we have believed a lie, we need a truth encounter. We need to know that God’s love for us, and His attitude towards us, is not reflected in the hurtful attitudes, words or actions of others—even when they are people in authority.
Meditate on the Father’s love and acceptance as expressed in the Bible, especially in the New Testament in the life and ministry of Jesus.
5. Step Out in your Gift Again
Finally, at the right time, we need to begin to step out again in our prophetic gift. 
Firstly, this means being accountable—and being under leadership. Sometimes, this means responding well to leaders who have hurt us in the past.
We know we are healed when we can receive feedback and be open to adjustment in the operation of our gift without reacting badly.
Becoming activated in our gift of prophecy again will mean taking risks and being vulnerable. However, the fruit in our lives and in the lives of others we minister to will be eternal.
Do you have any further ideas for healing from hurts that could help readers, or experiences and questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
 For more information about the Jezebellic or religious spirit in relation to prophetic ministry, read my e-book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church.’ Check the following links:
Prophetic People In A Changing Church E-book
 Sometimes hurts arise from a leader in the church—if this is familiar to you, I encourage you to consider my e-book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ for more information on how to break free.
 I believe it is vital to foster a safe, nurturing environment in our local churches and prophetic communities to do this—so if you are a leader, I encourage you to make this a priority.
11 Signs That Your Prophetic Gift Is Being Held Back
Set Yourself Free From Judging Others
6 Doorways To Discouragement In Church Life
Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Tue 23 Aug 2011
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ (Proverbs 13:12)
You received a personal prophecy—or a prophetic word for your family or for your church.
You believed, you positioned, you prayed, and you waited.
Now it has become evident that the prophetic word will never be fulfilled in the way that you believed it would.
Maybe it is too late for something to eventuate in your life, as a prophecy led you to believe. Maybe someone you cared about became sick, and died contrary to prophetic words that he or she would live and do something more for God. Maybe other people around you, or in leadership over you, have made decisions that have ruled out the possibility that a prophecy will be fulfilled.
Questions now arise:
- Was the prophecy wrong? If so, why did God allow me to believe it and pursue it? What about the person who prophesied—was he or she mistaken?
- Was the prophecy right? If so, what have I, or we, done wrong? What conditions have gone unmet, and what has got in the way of the prophecy’s fulfilment?
- And how do we get past the hurt and the disappointment, the crisis of faith, and indeed the grief, of having a long-term prophetic vision die?
The Problem of Unfulfilled Prophecy
There are varying degrees of difficulty and pain associated with an unfulfilled prophecy. At the lower end of the scale, I have prophecies sitting in my drawer that I now realise will never be fulfilled in the exact way the prophetic minister described it to me. This does not cause me concern, because Father has clearly led me in a different direction.
At the other end of the scale, we have had friends pass away, leaving prophecies unfulfilled, questions unanswered, and pain in our hearts.
Why are Some Prophecies Unfulfilled?
There are many reasons why a prophecy may not be fulfilled. Let’s explore a few of them:
The Prophecy was not Adequately Weighed up
If you are waiting on a prophecy to be fulfilled, then it was most likely a very specific, directive type of prophetic word.
For our protection, these kinds of prophecies should always be submitted to wise oversight and leadership in the church.  Without this Biblical safety net, there is a greater possibility of some of the following issues taking place. (1 Cor 14:29, 1 Thess 5:20-22)
Some prophecy, especially that concerning the call of God, is conditional upon us doing our part, obeying God, and allowing the Spirit to deal with us in maturing our character.
I received a prophecy many years ago concerning my future ministry. In the same prophecy, I was exhorted to ‘stay committed, stay submitted.’ I know without doubt that I would not be where I am today if I had not stayed committed and submitted to my church and leadership during testing times.
The Prophecy has Already Fulfilled its Purpose
Sometimes a particular prophecy is the signpost that God uses to get you somewhere else. Instead of the destination you expected, you find that you are positioned for another, higher, God-given purpose.
This may also be an issue of inaccurate delivery of a prophecy. But we also need to understand the nature of prophecy:
Fulfilment of prophecy is not always like hitting a ‘bulls eye’ on a target. It may be more like a river that has twists and turns before reaching the Father’s intended destination.
The Prophecy was Delivered Inaccurately
‘For we know in part and we prophesy in part’ (1 Cor 13:9)
Following are some reasons that a prophecy may have been delivered inaccurately.
- If the person prophesying knows the recipient of the prophecy, it is tempting to deliver the prophecy in the context of what is known currently. This can hamper the purity of a word
- This also goes for prophecies made in church life. We may be receiving a revelation from God, but then we interpret and deliver that word in the light of our church’s current vision or circumstances, which may later change
- The person may have prophesied out of the desires of his or her heart, rather than from a revelation from God
- The person delivering the prophecy may be receiving an incomplete revelation, but then try to express the prophecy in specific terms when it has not been received that way.It is true that there is, on occasion, higher revelation and greater levels of accuracy (indeed we believe and strive for this), but we must also be content—and honest—when this is not the case.
The Prophecy was Interpreted by the Recipient Inaccurately
Maybe the prophecy was not mistakenly given, but there was a miscommunication, and the recipient took the prophecy the wrong way.
Just as the giver of a prophecy can interpret and deliver a word based on known circumstances, a receiver of a prophecy can also interpret a word based on what he or she knows or desires it to be.
At the end of the day, we may never understand this side of heaven why a prophecy remained unfulfilled, just as we do not understand why some sick people who are prayed for do not get healed.
In the face of the unknown, we need to trust in the love and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father.
What to do About Prophetic Disappointment
There is a time to hold on to a prophetic word, but we also need to know when to release or shelve a prophecy. The time to release a prophecy is when holding onto it is not bearing good fruit in your life, or in the lives of others around you.
This includes disappointment, disillusionment, division or disunity, dissatisfaction, resentment, bitterness, grief, or any other negative fruit.
If you can relate to this, here are some things that may help in the process:
1. Allow the Prophecy to be Weighed up Again
Prophecy is subject to being weighed up. This does not only relate to assessing a prophecy at the time it is delivered. For our protection, we should also keep our prophetic vision submitted to godly leadership as time goes along.
2. Forgive Whomever you Need to
If an unfulfilled prophecy has left you feeling disappointed or even bitter, it is vital that you forgive anyone that you need to. (Mark 11:25) This may be the giver of the prophecy, yourself, or anyone you perceived stood in the way of its fulfilment.
3. Stop Looking for Unfulfilled Conditions
If you are open to God, and the Holy Spirit is not forthcoming about a condition not being fulfilled, don’t labour over finding one—this may be distracting you from releasing it and moving on with God’s purpose for your life, or that of your family or church. Release it and trust Him to show you anything necessary.
If you can identify a wrong turning in your life, as you repent, the grace of God is released over your life. He will give you a new vision—He is the God of the resurrection.
4. Release Others from Expectations Relating to the Prophecy
Sometimes in our search for unmet conditions, it is tempting to blame other people for hindering the fulfilment of a prophecy. This may include a spouse, family member, vocational boss or leader in a church.
We need to release them completely from expectations and remember that God is sovereign and able to fulfil His plans regardless of their actions. Look at the life of Joseph! (Gen 37-50)
5. Release the Prophecy Completely
You are not being unfaithful to God and His word when you release a prophecy and all expectations associated with it, if holding onto it is not bearing good fruit.
God is able to bring the word to you again if it was truly of Him. He can resurrect the promise in His time.
Sometimes it is helpful to release the prophecy, not only through prayer, but to do something symbolic as well. We need to do whatever it takes to bring closure.
6. Ask, ‘Am I in the Father’s Will Right Now?’
If you know that right now your heart is right with God, then you are on track for His purposes to be fulfilled in your life.
Ultimately, we must trust in the absolute sovereignty of God—not in ourselves, others, or in any prophetic word.
‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.’ (Ps 37:23-24, NKJV)
It is Time to let go
‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Is it time to let go of an unfulfilled prophetic word?
- Let go, and you will be released from the place of disappointment and grief
- Let go, and you will be able to receive the new word from God
- Let go, and you will have the joy of discovering the new things Father is doing
 This can be a leader or pastor in your church, or Christian mentors (safe Christian mentors are themselves under authority). I am aware that many people have experienced unhealthy or even abusive leadership, at some stage of their journey. This must not put us off seeking safe Christian leaders who can speak into our lives.
Is It Time To Birth Your Prophetic Word In Prayer?
How To Make The Most Of Your Personal Prophecy
Your Prophetic Word and Spiritual Warfare
Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church