Fundamentals of Unfulfillment

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This wasn’t turning out like I had dreamed.


I’d been called by God – called to go. And I’d been obedient, hadn’t I? We’d sold some things, given away others and said tearful goodbyes to loved ones. We’d packed what was left into a few bags and set our faces resolutely toward Asia. 


I’d given up all I knew so that I could go to be a witness. And not just next door, no less. A thirteen-hour time difference away. Surely that counted for something, right? 


Yet, here I was doing laundry, wiping preschool noses and messing up mounds of dishes as I labored to cook from scratch. I rarely even had the opportunity to get out of the house. This wasn’t what I signed up for. 


My giftings were being wasted and I felt useless.


Ever felt that way yourself? 


Let’s explore some fundamentals of unfulfillment. 


  • Whatever the calling, seasons of futility will come.


Just as winter is necessary for the growth of a great oak, spiritual winters are used mightily in the lives of His servants. Roots deepen when fruit and foliage aren’t sapping the system. 


Been praying for depth? You’re asking for a spiritual winter.


Been asking to know Him more? Realize that includes not only resurrection, but also sufferings (Philippians 3:10). And sometimes those sufferings come in the form of being overlooked, neglected or even misunderstood. 


Every spiritual plant has seed and every spiritual tree bears fruit (Genesis 1:29). He never wastes any of His energy. Everything that He does is effectual and efficient, especially as it pertains to His dealings with you. The pointlessness you feel is a precursor to fruit-bearing – if only you will let it. 


  • The feeling of futility is often the result of pruning. 


When I pinch off a new tendril of our Star Jasmine, it’s because she needs to fill-in rather than just expending energies through a couple of shoots. But, each time I do so, the site of my snip oozes just a little. 


There is a sense in which our Master Gardner also wounds when He prunes. What we sense to be effective sprouting may actually be a divine waste of energy (John 15:3). The quicker we accept the disappearance of budding pride, the sooner He can bring new life elsewhere in our lives. 


  • Disillusionment always comes because our hopes were set on personal gain (or recognition) – not Him.


The mundane and unfulfilling is one of the best testing grounds for our motives. 


In my early commitment to Him, I would have sworn to you that all my intentions were for Him alone. But, unfortunately, the tedious and the tiresome uncovered otherwise. 


When you commit “everything” to Him, your most difficult tests may come in the monotonous rather than the magnanimous.  


Faith Who He is, not what you feel. Every disappointment you have with Him is because He didn’t give you what you wanted, not because He didn’t do as He promised. Oh, if we could only distinguish between the two. 


What would you add to this listing? What useful lessons have you learned through uselessness?