I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned these last few months is how to manage my emotions and expectations when dealing with people.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where some one's word doesn't always equal commitment. And in a dog eat dog world many are growing up with the attitude of me and mine first and others are not a priority.
Working in ministry these days means that more and more I am dealing with people NOT following through on their commitments. I was getting really down a few months back, it seemed like I had gotten to point where I expected to be let down or I expected people to not follow through on their commitments. I realized then that this was affecting my relationships with others and was conflicting with the command to love others. I went to the Lord with this issue and here is what He has been telling me:
Love them no matter what, manage your expectations, I give you hope so have hope that I am working in their lives - but don't lock them into your expectations. Manage your emotions to reflect love for others, and do what needs to be done with JOY in your heart.
In my "line of work" and anyone else who is in a "ministry" type of atmosphere,what we need to understand is that we are dealing with the root of people. In some jobs you deal with people and their skills - accounting, medical, people skills, organizational etc. Character issues come out but it isn't always the area that you need to deal with. In ministry it is the main focus - we are dealing with the spirit and soul of people and that is why I believe so many ministries are struggling these days. Even as Christians we screw up and need forgiveness and even as Christians our pride and controlling spirits get in the way.
I can't stop loving someone every time they let me down, however, I can always have a back-up plan. I will get frustrated and there may be times when I or someone else needs to confront others regarding these issues. I may also have to stand ground and not allow someone who isn't trustworthy to make a commitment that will most likely end in not following through, which can be hard. Many make decisions based on emotions but when the time comes to follow through, they are no longer in that emotional state and that is when the priority of following through gets pushed down. I have had to stop asking certain people to help because even though they mean well, it isn't gonna happen.
This is a Spiritual warfare fight in the lives of many, so most importantly I need to pray and love - no matter what. I have hope in the Lord and I trust the Lord.