{Re}ward

Today, I was reading Jonathan Merritt‘s Learning to Speak God from Scratch.

As I turned to the pages in chapter 11, I felt like Jonathan had been reading my mail. Especially after my day yesterday. I couldn’t rest. I was struggling.

The thing is that sometimes my disappointment is directed toward others , when I’m really disappointed with God. Disappointment is a brain issue. What happens is that you have an expectation that makes you happy, and before it happens your brain excretes dopamine. As your anticipation goes up your brain excretes more dopamine. When that expectaion isn’t met as you anticipated — you crash.

This is a reward-prediction-error.

As a new bride and new wife, I was expectant and looking forward to the day when Keck and I would have children. As the years passed and more and more doctors were involved, our disappointment begin to grow.

I sometimes don’t realize how much this disappointment is realized over and over. There are certain expectations of me that aren’t on others. That reward-prediction-error affects me even now.

Jonathan says that living with disappointment has shattered his illusions, grown his identity.

I have traded these lies for a truth: that in times of difficulty, God offers us presence not a parachute. This exchange of falshood for fact transformed my disappointment into disillusionment. And disillusion turned out to be a horrible, wonderful gift.

JOnathan merritt, learning to speak god from scratch

Jonathan ends this chapter with a description that disappointment turned disillusionment helps us see our God as who he is rather than who we have imagined him to be. In Jonathan’s words, “To let God be who God is, not who we wish God would be.”

And I am reminded that God is God, and I am not. ❤