The atmosphere of narcissism moves the center to self much like ancient errors that Earth was the center. We live with a foggy mirror in our hands that reflects ourselves when we are narcissistic. It is foggy with false expectation.
Paul says we should see Jesus in the foggy mirror, that beholding His Glory transforms us Glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord! [See 2 Corinthians 3.] In this way the foggy misprint of self-image can be fixed. Even though the reflection isn’t perfect because we see imperfectly, the revelation of Him grows as we are transformed, we are making Him the center instead of ourselves.
His Glory is a manifestation of His character. We see His character manifested when we see Glory. We have glory, our character manifests in our glory; God crowned us with glory and honor in creation, a glory a little lower than angels. So, we are changed from His Glory to our glory by the Spirit of the Lord as we gaze upon Him in transformational worship. He is the center, not self.
When I mention something of personal destiny that seems inconsistent with someone’s self-image imagination, I risk becoming a “problem” instead of a leader. Yet, no one can provide leadership for one of God’s people without knowing something about what-Father-wants for that person. Aren’t we weary with leadership that plasticizes people to fit into a program or forces people into molds instead of transforming them to become what-Father-wants? If so, we must have leaders who lead with revelation of what-Father-wants for His individual people and provide a strategic path for them to walk to realize destiny and fulfill purpose.
Think about what I am saying: people need leaders because self is not the exclusive source of revelation of personal purpose; leaders unlock aspects of destiny that are not available through natural and personal means. People are often mistaken about their destinies. They tend to be narcissist in their dreams, and they measure potential more than purpose when determining their futures. They get a vision from many sources other than gazing at the Glory of Christ!
Giving my life to the development of leaders, I am a student of the process, and I am sharing with you the staggering reality that “people do not know who they are” until God reveals to them who they are. The more surrendered and submitted they become, the more a Divine reality graces their self-images.
Paul says, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” [1 Corinthians 15.] Paul is talking about who he thought he was until Jesus gave him a revelation that he was “a chosen vessel to Me.”
Think with me – how much of what-I-am is by the grace of God? Or, how much of what-I-am is by the strength and wisdom of man? It is not desirable to a self-made man! It is desirable to be a God-made man, and the process of being what-I-am by the grace of God requires a crushing olive-press, a brutal, shattering death of self. God is not celebrating human potential on display like a heavenly American Idol show! He begins with Jesus and transforms us “what-I-am” so we are by God’s grace.
If you are dreaming your own dreams, you are missing God’s will. If you are developing your destiny out of your own grasp of personal potential, you are missing God’s will. If you are gathering leaders around you as consultants to get you what you want, you are missing God’s will.
Why do I say these offending things? Because they are true! We cannot blend humanism into our redemption. We cannot see grace as a supplement for that blending. We cannot be in charge of our own redemption, using God’s provisions to produce a what-I-am that fits our imaginations! God’s provisions come online through our surrender and submission, not through our strength and wisdom to discover how to use them in the way that best fulfills our false expectations.
False expectations come from faulty presuppositions. In a very subtle way, we substitute what-we-want for what-Father-wants, and we plaster-paris it with a humanistic christianism that turns truth into refrigerator magnet slogans. Be assured of this: if you do it the way you want to do it, it will certainly not be the way God would have done it.
False expectations are fundamental flaws in our foundations that frustrate formation of destiny.
When we have false expectations, we assume we are not getting what we are supposed to be getting. From God, leaders, and other people. We expect to receive something that never arrives, expect to see something that never materializes, and expect to experience something that seems always out-of-reach. We expect to have something that appears to have been stolen by somebody else. Yet the truth is that it was never ours in the first place!
We live with a false sense of loss, sensing an empty place in our souls, of things that were never ours and could never be ours, of things we could not hold if we received them. We live with unreal expectations and feel a very real emptiness. The deadening difficulty is that nothing can be done about it! The door is open to blame others for failing us, blame ourselves for being less than we should be, blame “something” or “them,” and live with a sense of being unfulfilled. All the while the energies that would be given to fulfilling our true destiny and purpose are given to delusions.
People need to surrender their false expectations to experience true freedom. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The freedom comes when we surrender to Him being the Center, the Source and Resource, of personal destiny. Every true Christian will experience a death of the false to release the life of the true: unless a seed dies, it cannot release the life within it.
Let me compare two actual people who came into our ministry for leadership. One arrived with the announcement of being anointed and awesome, probably too much so for a ministry like ours, but humbly by sharing an “amazingness” with us. Just a few cursory glances at the portfolio of brilliance revealed the need for a heavenly CarFax before driving this clunker off the lot! Didn’t need to kick the tires to see they were flat.
Another arrived with tremendous prophetic leadership calling that had been rejected and frustrated by leaders in love with themselves more than the purpose of God for the people they were leading. Arriving with a “I know I have more in me that you can help me release” attitude, this person immediately blossomed into full fragrance and embraced greater and greater revelation of the “who-I-am by God’s grace” that was available from the Lord and leaders to whom this person surrendered and submitted.
After a couple of years, the first spiraled off into greater delusions of grandeur while the second stepped into their greatest kingdom usefulness to date. The first continues to feel unappreciated and “passed over” while the second feels the passion of functioning in what-Father-wants. One misses the will of God while the second experiences more of His will that previously wasn’t available.
Grieving a Phantom
The cycle of grieving moves us through loss into the next season of life without what was lost. This cycle moves us on in a healthy way, but it is possible to get stuck in the cycle and continue to grieve. It is possible to live in grief for things lost.
When we live with false expectations and suffer with a false sense of loss, we get stuck in the cycle of grieving. We grieve something that was never ours in the first place, so we have no way to experience the healing we need to move on. Many of emotions of grieving – denial, anger, regret, guilt – become part of our lives. Grieving a phantom produces bitterness of soul.
People with bitterness continue to cycle because they are stuck grieving a phantom. They vagabond from ministry to ministry, leader to leader, relationship to relationship, and repeat the process of expecting to be discovered and appreciated for “who I really am.” They are enamored with “when will it be my turn” because they see the success of others as something stolen from them. Those people were lucky enough to have what was theirs given to them. Some scenario of perceived injustice and unfairness clouds their minds.
The road of christianism is strewn with the wreckage of head-on collisions between people with false expectations and reality. Anyone in any level of leadership runs into people with false expectations. Some leaders become victims by attempting to fulfill false expectations. Other leaders are so disgusted by the long line of demanding people they don’t try to help anyone realize purpose. Still other leaders start new ministries with the chartered purpose of allowing everyone to reach their potentials! They begin with false expectations and create even greater ones! They substitute human success for kingdom success. They become motivational speakers instead of transformational leaders, and they measure success with the same tools and criteria as the world, the enemy of the Father.
Jesus offers the opposite. Not a better version of the former. The opposite.
We do not dream our own dreams; we receive God’s dreams. We do not develop an understanding of our destiny; we receive a revelation of destiny. We do not produce what-we-want with heaven’s gifts with a clenched fist and firm jawline; we surrender and submit. We do not become achievers; we become leaders. We are not self-made; we are God-made. We do not become successful by attending conferences and imitating professionally-produced christianized-circus performances; we become whom we are by the grace of God, deeply-dug ore shattered and purified by consuming fire.
As you begin this new year, start with surrender and submission. Allow a revelation of God to reset the center. If you dream God’s dream, it will be too big for you and you will be humbled. If you dream your own dream, you will puff up with pride. If you see His Glory, you will point others to Him; if you are self-made, you will sell yourself, make an example of yourself, make miracles confirmations of yourself, and contribute to the popularity of a perversion.
That is why I believe a great move of God is here. A manifestation of His Glory will reset the ecclesia with such power that millions will begin be transformed, and the expectations of God’s people will be what-Father-wants. “They loved not their lives even unto death” be our refrigerator magnet motto again!