Disillusionment: A Gift?

fogBy Kelly Tarr

Soaring on the heights of life is a wonderful feeling.  Things are relatively easy, my head is clear, and there is a general “go with the flow” way of living.  Little bumps along the way aren’t so intimidating.

That is until something interrupts my happy little world and sends me into a tailspin that easily leads to thoughts such as…

“This is so hard.”

“I can’t do this.”

“This isn’t what I wanted.”

“This isn’t what I envisioned.”

“I’m such a failure.”

“I can never change.”

Disillusionment.  By definition, it is “a freeing or a being freed from illusion or conviction; disenchantment” (dictionary.com).

May I share that I have been in a season of disillusionment in regards to life as a mother?  It has been incredibly difficult.  I’ve just walked out of the hardest first trimester I’ve experienced yet, with two already-born children, a husband, and a house that needs care.  I have been physically compromised, and I’ve not handled it as well as I would like to report.  I have especially felt overwhelmed more than a handful of times by my children who, at times, seem better suited to live in the zoo than our home.  And, I’ve believed lies about myself.

I have a friend—the kind that is once-in-a-lifetime rare—who reminded me just the other night that, “Children are like wild animals in need of domesticating.”  Please don’t judge me if your kids at 2 and 4 are mostly pleasant to be around, but I struggle at times with wondering if I will have adult children who don’t behave like two-year olds.  This comment brought relief—motherhood is hard.  I was able to laugh and was reminded that I’m not alone in the challenges of motherhood!  I had begun slipping into the “it’s not like this for anyone else” mentality and “I don’t know anyone whose kids are like this.”  I needed someone to state the obvious to snap me back to reality.

Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am learning a secret: disillusionment is one of God’s gifts to us.  One of my favorite songs speaks of it.  When I first heard the words, it resonated with me.  Disillusionment is a gift because it makes me see, feel, and really “get” my absolute need for the Lord to work in my life, every minute of every day.  I am desperate for Him to transform me, to transform my children, and I am most aware of it when I see and feel my lack…when my illusions of a false reality are shattered.  (I’d prefer not to experience disillusionment, but inevitably, at some point or another…it happens!)

But it’s not enough to understand that disillusionment can be a gift, or even just to recognize that it’s happening.  I believe that what I do with that disillusionment is of such significance that it can mean life or death to my soul.  I can slowly sip on the deadly poison of lies that I allow my mind to easily slip into and swish them around to deaden my soul, or, I can escape either by sitting in front of my computer mindlessly or by reading a good book. I’m sure you could think of plenty of other ways escape is easily sought.  When I begin to believe lies, I start to live like they’re true.

Or, I can take charge by confronting those lies with the truth of who Jesus is, who I am, and how He sees me, recognizing that the life of my soul is at stake, and choose actively to put on life, putting to death anything that threatens it.  This is much harder than escaping.

Getting into the Word throughout the day—glancing at my Bible on the counter while fixing lunch, sitting down for a few minutes while the kids play, dancing to a song that worships God with my kids, is all it takes.  In all of these things, I’m speaking His Word out loud to Him and to my heart.  Life is imparted to my heart because Life Himself meets me in those moments and speaks to my heart.  He is the Living Word, and not one Word of His that I feed on will be wasted.

When I do this, I am tearing down illusions and replacing them with His reality, the Life that He gives. He re-writes my mind and heart with what is true, destroying every lie that the enemy tempts me to believe.  Like David, I’m seeking the Lord as my refuge, to whom I will come to again and again (Ps 71:3).  Instead of turning inward, or running away from reality, I return to my true Rest (Ps 116:7) and adore the One who means for me to fully live.

But, bad habits are hard to break and good ones often hard to form.  I have found that I must fight to grow this habit.  Over time, it starts to feel like second nature, unless I let up.  If I do, the habit of escaping comes back in so easily.   It felt awkward in the beginning, expecting to meet a Person, but feeling like I’m talking to the walls.  But ladies, He came and He does come.  He’s teaching me what it means to commune with Him—even when I’m not sitting down with my Bible.  He loves my yearning and reaching, and He meets me.  What might feel wasted or useless in the moment is a true sowing—and it won’t feel strange, wasted, useless for long.  It becomes necessary.

For me, this has also meant confessing even embarrassing things to my husband, closest friend, and mentor, and allowing them to speak life into my soul.  Often times, I need someone else to adjust my perspective—to lead me to the Rock that is higher than me, like David cried out in Psalm 61.  He loves to satisfy the hungry, broken soul that seeks Him in Spirit and truth (Ps 107:9).

Ladies, whatever season of life you’re in, I’d encourage you to evaluate your thoughts.  Where do they go?  Do you mindlessly daydream or dwell on failures of your own or others?  Do you allow yourself to feel overwhelmed?  As you seek to actively engage in communing with the Lord all day long, He will meet you and will begin to re-write the walls of your heart and mind—He will impart life, perhaps as you’ve not experienced before.  It’s a process that I’ll be learning until I meet Jesus face to face.  But, I know it’s worth it not to give up and to seek to grow in my worship and adoration of Him at every turn.  I know I will encounter disillusionment many more times in this vapor called “life.”  You will too, undoubtedly.  When illusions and false convictions about reality are shattered, will you commit alongside me to turn neither to despair nor escape, but to Jesus, who is Truth?


Kelly blogs at She will sing here.


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4 Comments to “Disillusionment: A Gift?”

  1. Such a profound truth you’ve shared with us today; my soul is strengthened in its resolve. Thank you for yielding your beautiful heart to Christ and extending your proverbial arms for the rest of us to share in this encouraging word. All for His glory!! Your writing is blessed of God, and inspiring 🙂

  2. […] am guest posting over at WOG Magazine today…what a sweet, humbling […]

  3. Erika says:

    “I believe that what I do with that disillusionment is of such significance that it can mean life or death to my soul.”

    This reminded me of something I recently contemplated: the different responses to sin (or disillusionment) of Peter and Judas.

    Peter and Judas both failed the Son of Man –
    Peter vehemently denied him with lies and curses.
    Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.

    Both experienced remorse and changed their direction –
    Peter wept bitterly and went on to preach boldly.
    Judas acknowledged his sin and returned the money.

    But Peter’s sorrow was a godly sorrow that led to life.
    Judas’ sorrow was a worldly sorrow that led to death.

    Yes, our response to our deficiencies, our failures, our shortcomings, our sin, can mean life or death. Hiding from Him and allowing ourselves to be distanced from Him, like Judas, will lead to death. Like Peter, we must bring our deficiencies to the feet of our Savior who longs to forgive us, heal us, and strengthen us so that we can continue to be a useful tool in His hands.

  4. Sara says:

    ” What might feel wasted or useless in the moment is a true sowing—and it won’t feel strange, wasted, useless for long. It becomes necessary.” I LOVE this. This is so good for my heart. You spell it out so clearly and make me want more of Him in my own disillusionment.