Processing Disappointment #3

Sunday afternoon.

The bounce from yesterday’s land disconnect held.  I went into the evening feeling really good compared to the acute exhaustion of the previous days.

I devoted some time during the evening to reading the comments to the first post, to see if I could get some caring past the thug into my inner world, in order to start the process of rewiring my brain.

I noticed after a while, that the thug was not making the decisions.  Someone inside was and he was simply executing.  Trust me, not all the comments on the blog made it past him.

Some snooping revealed that it was the Giver portion of my spirit who had closed the door, hired the thug and declared closure to pain caused by receiving love.  Under pressure of the current exigencies, Giver decided to be selective instead of running a blanket exclusion of caring, which is quite considerate.

I would still like to know what the algorithm is.  Can we crowd source this?  Givers, what is the flavor or style of caring, or compassion, or love, or ___________, that you simply don’t want anywhere near you?  This can’t be an original problem.

Historically Givers are the hardest tribe, by far, to give to.  Your rejection factor of gifts is over the top.  Could you be persuaded to share what your grid is?  What flavors of love ARE acceptable to you?

On another front, the Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross did some wonderful work back in the ’50s and ’60s regarding grieving.  Her five stages of grief are still a widely used tool in many applications today.  While people do not necessarily go through them in this order, and might cycle through some of the steps several times, the general model is this.

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression/grieving
  5. Acceptance.

I have been looking at those the last few days, as part of my customary inner work.

The denial certainly was front and center on Monday.  I knew when I had made a bad choice, and why, but kept holding onto the belief that it was not so bad, and I could bounce back and pull it off.  By Tuesday morning, reality had intruded with sufficient force that it could not be denied.

Then came a few hours of bargaining.  There were a lot of variables for the trip.  I could delete this or that, lengthen this, change that, move the sequence, etc.  But, by 11:00 a.m. when I HAD to make a critical choice to go forward or go back, bargaining also bit the dust and I committed to the exit.

Another face of bargaining is the “what if” game.  Had I missed a cue?  Was I not listening to the Lord?  Did one of the intercessors warn me and I brushed it aside?  I gnawed on that bone all the way to sleep time on Tuesday and never came up with a clue suggesting I had messed up.

Since I have been back, I have gotten a significant number of e-mails from intercessors who were alerted by the Holy Spirit to pray for me because I was in trouble, but they were emphatically told by God that everything was going to be fine.  Really strong, positive, validating words flowed like a river — in the midst of the mess.

So, at this point, I have completely abandoned the bargaining.  God and the devil teamed up to set me up and mess me up, because God has some grand and noble outcome in mind, and it will come out that way.  I walk forward with confidence that there is purpose in this weird situation.

The anger is an interesting dynamic.  I don’t think any redemptive gift gets to anger as quickly as the Prophet, and I have been legendary for my hair trigger temper in the past.  However, I have also learned to defer the anger to later.

As I shared at the LAC seminar, a consumer defaults to anger, and then looks for solutions later.  A builder feels the anger as keenly as anyone, but defaults to solutions, then addresses the anger later.

I deferred the anger until the two flights home.  Lots of time.  No energy to do anything else.  And a whole lot of skill in feeling my anger and finding the root.

First up was missing the moonlight paddle.  I set the date so it would be full moon.  I love paddling up the silver strand of moonlight on a still lake at night.  Didn’t happen.

-Mad at myself for my choices.

-Mad at my body for not being 18 anymore.

-Didn’t appreciate the government’s inadequacies that contributed to the situation.

-Angry at the lost chance to get revelation through long, quiet meditation on some anointed land.

-Really missed engagement with the animal kingdom.  Saw a few loons and other birds, but nothing special.

I worked the list intermittently for hours, adding details and categories, prioritizing the pain and languaging the losses.

Then I circled back around to redemption.  My anger does not last long because I have so much experience in seeing God take really rough situations and give me beauty for ashes.  If you were to give me a magic wand that could take some mistake I made out of my life history, I would burn it instead of using it.

I have so many riches, but many of them came from ugliness.  If I remove from my life the stupid things I have done and the mean things done to me, I would usually have to remove the redemption that God gave me, and I don’t want to give up any one of those things.

To me, The Redeemer is not an eternal concept.  It is a here and now, tangible, complex, mysterious, astounding, profound thing.  The way God can redeem the past is beyond belief.

So, before the plane landed in Orange County, I smooshed all the anger into a pile, admitting the pain which still raged, but refusing to allow it to morph into bitterness.  I made a faith proclamation that none of this was a surprise to God, none of this was beyond His ability to redeem, and none of the redemption had been shown to me yet.

I limped off the plane with a dozen kinds of pain, but with faith in front of pain, knowing that someday, somehow, God will write the final chapter to this strange story, and I will simply NOT be defrauded.

Copyright August 2016 by Arthur Burk

From home


  1. Christina says

    “Then I circled back around to redemption. My anger does not last long because I have so much experience in seeing God take really rough situations and give me beauty for ashes. If you were to give me a magic wand that could take some mistake I made out of my life history, I would burn it instead of using it.

    I have so many riches, but many of them came from ugliness. If I remove from my life the stupid things I have done and the mean things done to me, I would usually have to remove the redemption that God gave me, and I don’t want to give up any one of those things.”
    I love that! I have been learning this as well! The pain is so worth it when God redeems it and makes something beautiful out of it! When I get to the point of telling my story – this is what I will highlight because it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever learned!


  2. says

    Today a comment someone made got me pondering deeply the tremendously big perspective Arthur has on his life. He pursues the redemption in every story and the bigger the pain, the harder he looks for it. In a journey I had last year there was a great war for how I would frame a mess of emotions. I knew what felt immediately gratifying to my soul. All the WRONG responses. I think we have to fight a lot harder to look for the value, the gift, and God’s ordained purpose in the midst of pain and disappointment. Carnality is a whole lot easier. Yet I have watched Arthur rise above the easy reaction over and over again in small and big ways in the years that I have been a part of SLG. We are seeing a brief snapshot in a movie that compels my highest respect. We are often so temporal in our way of thinking, so much like consumers, wanting to be satisfied now instead of taking the long view and building towards the “reward” we receive sometime down the road. I celebrate you and your journey, Arthur. Without a doubt the pain and disappointment you experience is acute. Probably much more than any of us can imagine because of how big your spirit and soul are. May the facet of the Kingdom you build out of this process be an exquisite gift of worship to the King.


  3. Rebekah says

    I take my hat off to you, Arthur. The way you decried “limping off the plane in a dozen different kinds of pain, but with faith in front of pain, knowing that someday, somehow, God will write the final chapter to this strange story, and I will simply NOT be defrauded.”

    That gritty picture has haunted me for days. Now that is special, and I savor the sweet flavor.

    You practice what you preach and live according to a higher standard than you ever impose on us your followers, and THAT is admirable. Thank you for living the process and for risking by showing us how it’s done. May we be inspired to follow your example.


  4. says

    A few thoughts came up for me that I felt like I could share:

    I think this is a courageous thing to do and hope that it will indeed be a benefit for you and others.

    As a Giver, on those rare occasions when I do share pain, its difficult to receive much of anything if I don’t feel that I am heard first. I realize that Givers sometimes don’t see that the pain they are experiencing is of the “same song second verse” variety, but it’s difficult to receive anything when the person has the “answer” before they’ve heard your story. Platitudes and cliches are also hard for me to swallow but feeling heard can allow me to lower many of the defenses that might be there and receive some care and assistance. Sometimes a well thought out, “I hear you and I wish this wasn’t so difficult, but I’ve really got no answer” is a breath of fresh air.

    You mentioned that “Givers are the hardest tribe, by far, to give to”. I agree completely! But I also have been observing for at least the last ten years or so that:
    Prophets are the hardest tribe to prophesy to. (Not real satisfied with this verbiage but it’s the best I’ve got. It needs work.)
    Servants are the hardest tribe to serve.
    Teachers are the hardest tribe to teach.
    Exhorters are the hardest tribe to exhort.
    Giver (see above)
    Rulers are the hardest tribe to rule (or lead).
    Mercys are the hardest tribe to show mercy.
    I don’t want to deflect from the subject at hand but this is an important insight in my opinion.

    Lastly, I appreciated and agree with your position of The Redeemer being a here and now fact not a theory or something to look forward to only. Outstanding!

    Liked by 1 person

    • says

      tpramsey : thanks so much for your insight.
      I wouldn’t say I know for 100% that I’m a Giver, but I think it’s the case. I would love to hear more of your insight from your own personal experience and what you feel like the Lord might have told you. Thanks again for sharing. This shows true courage.


  5. nita7932014 says

    My heart goes out to you. I remember the Giver story in my life and was musing about this as I read the blog today. I always felt that your Prophet gifting connected with my heart regarding the many disappointments I have had to experience. However, the Giver responses I have near me have left me in an unresolved place of pain. You are truly ‘on track’ in your feelings. They are real. Some disappointments can not be analyzed and put on a ‘shelf’ so to speak. You spoke to me about ’embracing’ the pain on some occasions. That is not fun and does not readily bring closure and relief. I care so much because you lifted me when I was down. I am lifting you now to the Lord. I know that He has promised to Lift up your head when you are down. I care.


  6. Kalen says

    Thank you for being transparent in your process. I hear you and resonate on many levels. I am really looking forward to hearing the rest of they journey. You are a freedom bringer and a life giver in all seasons.

    It is a generous gift. (The giver in me would probably bristle at that as I am intentionally giving and I don’t need anyone to validate it.) But truly, I honor your courage, your vulnerability and your perseverance.

    I have never commented before, but I wanted to honor you by helping with the crowd sourcing.

    As I have processed I have a page of sentences that seem contradicting. Inside I feel like it’s a really simple thing that will comfort me but everyone seems to push back that I’m complicated.

    As I thought about what I have really valued, I was reminded of the Hebrew custom of sitting Shiva. I want people to just come enter into my pain, feel with me and be. To listen, let me process, ask me questions. Enter in my space with no agenda. It validates my wound, and honors me bypassing the perfunctory niceties.

    For example, “It sounds like it’s been really hard. Anything else you want to share about it?” If I get to tears, let me cry. I can get to redemption. Agree with me in the redemption. I don’t need fixing, I need a friend. One who honors me and validates my process, and that I’m doing my best, they understand how I come to my conclusions. (Knowing if the Holy Spirit is hugely prompting they might ask a good question)

    I was moving and felt stuck and emotional. A friend just came and sat with me and I chatted to her about each of the things I was packing or giving away. She left feeling she had done nothing to help, I felt loved. Practically I packed, but I could not have done it without a sounding board or someone to do it with me.

    My dad died when I was younger. Even to this day when people hear about it they say, “I’m so sorry”. Internally I still have no place for that. I’m not needing to take a moment to be sad, nor did I mention it for sympathy, sometimes it’s just an unavoidable part of the story. I have learned to respond with grace and receive their ‘I care about you’. But what I’ve also learned is I would love them to ask me about him. One of the losses I feel is that he’s no longer present to be part of my life. I feel so loved by, “Tell me a story about your dad. What was he like?”

    At the end of the day, I need you to be prepared to actually give to me. Give me your time, your ear, your presence. I don’t need it forever (and the window is probably smaller than imagined), but I need it in the moment. Givers know what giving is. Come sit Shiva.

    P.S. I found very helpful in further articulating what I was trying to communicate, even to describing what to say, send or how to act. (see visiting a shiva home)


      • Kalen says

        Also, I think what struck me about Shiva process was that it was the quintessential giver tribe’s cultural response to grief as part of the life-cycle, and as giver I resonated with their method.


        • says

          Kalen, I am finding so much insight and life-giving wisdom from other people on this “comment trend” going on here. Beautiful! This is awesome – thanks so much! I’m just wondering if there’s a site/resource where Givers keep on talking about how they operate/function and what is helpful/not helpful. This is really life-giving. Thanks!


    • Mary says

      Kalen , so beautifully said! I am intrigued with understanding this concept more!
      And thank you Arthur for asking such a profound question that is encouraging the Givers to risk and come out of the ‘shadows’ and partner in getting the thugs to stand down!


    • Devorah R.G says

      You are at least the second person to describe the value of silent presence. I’ve experienced its benefits myself and have been learning to practice it to some extent. It is cool to know that it is an official Hebrew tradition. May it become a much more familiar flavor of Christian culture! It certainly is a very real part of how God interacts with his children/friends/proteges/etc. 😀


  7. Denise says

    You’re honestly, vulnerability, and sheer courage to fight the thug in this venue is admirable, especially since it’s not a small close group (read that as unsafe). Your heart shows through raw and it is an honor to be allowed to see it. Even your answers are tempered with kindness (read that as “you are way more safe” than the collective tribe is). I pray God protects your heart and tempers our replies with His tenderness; that He heals is every way and brings His chosen people along side you to show you His mercies through them.
    I also pray that through this process, as God has His glory in/through you, that we as a tribe learn to do both extremes well -with God and others.
    Thanks for doing the hard things. I respect you and my spirit trust you (even to handle the broken or dumb stuff I may type).
    Thank you for fathering. This ongoing live demo of “how to process” is priceless.

    BTW: my thug regulates entry dependent on the depth of respect and value I place on the speakers words/opinions, past experiences with the person and the trust level I place on them. My spirit can detect fraud quickly but even authentic care isn’t guaranteed entry – maybe I need to care that they care?
    I appreciate the journey God has you on at this moment and will continue to pray for you and for the revealing of every shred of revelation and treasure that God has for you. I also pray for our tribe, that we would learn quickly from the examples you walk out. Keep being strong and courageous! May The Light of the Ancient of Days always shine upon you.


    • Devorah R.G says

      If I may say so, your response is amazing. I think you’ve more or less summarized the best of all the comments I’ve read on this blog thread so far. And your reflection about the effect of respect makes a lot of sense to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be wholeheartedly agreeing with your blessing ❤


      • Denise says

        Devorah, Thank you for your kind words. I’ve never commented here before, and because of my own woundedness, I’m still highly filtered. This whole thread has my attention. The thought of healing in community seems “out of reach” to me but my heart is towards Arthur therefore the comment. He has helped me, through his teachings and even more through what he has taught another, in ways he won’t know until glory. I smile because I know this comment would not have ever happened just a few months ago. I continue to reap blessing of healing and knowledge with everything that God is allowing to flow forth through this process. God is good, even in the hard things, and I am grateful.
        I’m glad that we can be broken and dangerous at the same time — my shards are being redeemed and turned into intercession and weapons of warfare for The Kingdom. Yes, I am very grateful.
        Blessing on you as you bless others in this amazing tribe.


  8. lila1jpw says

    Thank you so much for your openness, Arthur. I’m a fairly new widow (married for over 40 years) and in the middle of the grieving process. The words you speak about this whole process is helpful to me. I’ve been labelled “co-dependent” because my “helping” style has been a way to control my situation and the people around me. My husband had lupus and was very much a dependent, but I think also a see-er who wrote insightful stories about all kinds of things, from climate change to regime change.


  9. Mary says

    I would still like to know what the algorithm is. Can we crowd source this? Givers, what is the flavor or style of caring, or compassion, or love, or ___________, that you simply don’t want anywhere near you? This can’t be an original problem.

    As a Giver, the flavour of “help” that I don’t want anywhere near me is one that is patronizing and lecturing (especially with religious overtones) on how I should be feeling, thinking and behaving. When this comes from an individual that has not invested time in getting to know my heart and has not walked with me I find their intrusiveness very offensive, belittling and even shaming. And then in the past (I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work over the years to change this default reaction), the old adage of “once bitten, twice shy” would come into effect and I would slam and bolt the door. Also I can’t receive from moody or mercurial people – I can’t trust them to stand by me when my internal world is falling apart. Consistency, loyalty and authenticity are deeply treasured core values.

    Historically Givers are the hardest tribe, by far, to give to. Your rejection factor of gifts is over the top. Could you be persuaded to share what your grid is? What flavors of love ARE acceptable to you?

    When someone has invested in getting to know me, will listen to me ‘vent’ and is able to accept my multifaceted “good, bad and ugly” without judgment or wanting to change me, then in that place of safety I can open my heart to receive much from them. In this safe place, I can hear a larger perspective, encouragement, validation and wisdom, thus receiving from them the support to help move me out of a place of discouragement and or paralysis.


    • jeannetteelise says

      Mary, I can hear myself in your words. I will pray that we can all find someone trustworthy who fits our heart-need.


    • says

      These comments resonate the most for me and even open windows for the giver portion of my spirit.My redemptive gift is servant but I give all the time financially and in acts of service. I can receive quite easily on a practical or material level but at the heart level remain suspicious of motives and self serving generosity.


  10. Patty Ajuria says

    “Painfully Delicious!”…I’m anxious to see the teaching that will be birthed out of your journey, Arthur! You are loved & appreciated….


  11. says

    I’ve been chewing on the idea of redemption the past few weeks and would love to hear your point of view. Do you view redemption as something God does for us/to us, or do you view it as something we actively participate in with God, like in the story of Hezekiah?

    I think you are an amazing creation and grateful for you.


    • says

      Kimberly, my perception is that there is a spectrum. There are redemptive situations that are crafted by God and just dropped in our lap without any action or faith or engagement on our part. There are situations that are principle-based and play out automatically as we activity new principles that overrule the ones we violated. And there are situations where God puts an opportunity in front of us and we have to wrestle it to the ground. So every imaginable point along that line is an opportunity for God to redeem my past.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Peter Stevens says

    Jennifer West, my sister in England has worked for 20 years with Trevor Griffiths developing an expansion of the Kubler Ross steps. Emotional Logic uses these steps:
    I will email a summary
    They call them stepping stones, and find that sometimes there is a circling repeatedly around a pair or more of them when folks get stuck.
    The web site is:

    My struggle is expressing gratitude to the Lord when I am stuck on a stepping stone.

    Peter Stevens
    PS I was with you last week looking for the moon.


  13. says

    Love! Bless you for your openness and vulnerability. It awakens my spirit to see how you process your pain…makes me feel a little less crazy when I do it and it gives me language to help understand. Abundance and peace and more revelation to you 🙂


  14. Devorah R.G says

    Eradicating the desire to have anything of the past changed is an amazing feat. One so critical in receiving the full depths of God’s gifts. I rejoice in your strength in engaging with yet anther of the redemption processes that God enjoys experiencing through you.

    That vision of gliding on moonlit water is breathtaking. Even though I can’t like the literal feeling of being on water, the poetry of the image and imagining your joy in the experience are delicious. What a serious disappointment weight for God’s compensation finesse to get measured by!


  15. Anthony Goh says

    Thanks Arthur for your courage. Your teachings have brought so much life to me. I would love to see you blog out your life. Abba bless you to have the courage. We love you just the way you are. It makes me feel safe to be weak and vulnerable and show my imperfections to others as well.


  16. Noeleen says

    You have written about how you processed your anger. I’m wondering about how you processed your sadness. When I read the first blog about disappointment I felt your sadness. What has happened to that. I think that anger is seen as a devastating and possibly damaging emotion especially when it’s strong but what about the effects of very strong sadness. Maybe you’re only willing to go public on the anger bit and are processing the sadness and disappointment in private. How skilful are you at ignoring strong feelings other than anger – do you have a worldview that says if you feel very sad you’re not grateful enough for what God has given you? Are you worried that if you fully feel sadness you’ll be overwhelmed by it? You totally have the right to tell me to mind my own business – I just wondered if you’re going to fully explore bits that you’re not so familiar with or whether you feel that you’re so familiar with them that they’re part of the background. Or whether they’re too private and painful to share in public.


    • says

      Noleen, the processing sadness is what comes next in the sequence — grieving. Give me a day or two to write about that.


  17. says

    Because the massive amounts of pain in my life’s path have prepared me to walk out my destiny, I have come to realize the reality of God working all things together for His good. They have strengthened me regardless of the fact that at times my life looked smashed – so I will not receive any compassion – sincere or not – that hints that I might be weak or in need or lacking something (even if there is lack. Probably pride on my part – but as a Giver and a spiritual warrior, I reject anything that makes me feel weak when I feel the need to be strong and full of faith. Pity (regardless of how sad the situation is) makes me cringe. And meaningless obligatory social niceties make me angry.


    • says

      So Joanne, walk this out with me. Suppose you are in my situation. Right now I AM “less than.” My spirit is pretty well back, but my soul and body are not optimal. If you were in this situation, would you reject all comments of support, since they would of necessity acknowledge the deficit?

      And if so, how would you want your friends to engage with you in this situation? What would be loving? Would you want them to just ignore the pain and act as though all is well?

      I hear your commitment to strength and victory, but most of the times, we have pain points on our journey. Trying to figure out how to walk this out with the Givers in my world.


      • Beth says

        I would still like to know what the algorithm is. Can we crowd source this? Givers, what is the flavor or style of caring, or compassion, or love, or ___________, that you simply don’t want anywhere near you?

        The kind that moves in to “help” but ends up communicating I’m somewhat defective for having the difficulties or somehow deserving of them

        Liked by 1 person

      • jeannetteelise says

        The first thing I would need is someone to silently sit beside me.

        The picture is of a faithful dog who plops herself at my feet and is simply present.

        Most, if not all of my processing takes place internally and words at the time of acute pain feels like loud, disruptive clamor in my head even if it is given with good intention.

        I don’t want sympathy or analysis because I need a big space to sit and give myself permission to “feel” and sort out what is truth first. Present silence is golden.

        In normal life I can analyze at the drop of a hat or until the cows come home, but to FEEL? That requires TIME.

        Now, that you’ve got me thinking I am wondering why this is MY response. I wrestled with a few ideas and conclude that I don’t want to be misunderstood or judged during acute pain(or ever!). I don’t have the energy to fight accusation/misunderstanding because it will get tangled up with the disappointment( a weary and sad and heavy feeling) which will then make me angry and distract me from the true issue (which ironically may be about anger after all) HA!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mary says

          I think you’ve nailed it connecting the processing of feelings and the need for time when you say, “In normal life I can analyze at the drop of a hat or until the cows come home, but to FEEL? That requires TIME”
          I resonate completely with how you describe your style of processing.


  18. Trish Smith says

    I cannot tolerate any form of self centred compassion, false love, or narcissistic care. The grid through which I process a compassionate gesture is sincerity.


    • says

      Interesting expression, Trish. I had a couple of people privately comment to me yesterday that some of the comments seemed to be more about the individual writing than about me. So can we try something? Let’s not bag on the people who are on the low end of the scale. Go to the top. Would you be interested in going over the recent comments and picking out a couple that resonate to you as “real?” I don’t know if you can do that not knowing the people and their relationship with me, but if you can, it would be most interesting to me. Your call.


      • Maggie says

        I must admit my comments always seem to come from a self- centred view point but as I write I am amazed at the revelation God gives me . A lot of the way you express yourself is from what I perceive as a deeply intuitive view point which I do not naturally understand, and I am learning a lot. I apologize if my ‘mercy’ way of perceiving is so self centred, as I so dislike that in other people. I do understand the experience you had with the land though Arthur. Recently I had an experience where I have been so touched by God in one of my “places” then so disappointed the last time I went there because my private experience of the bay ( where I go) was overwhelmed by the intrusion so many people out walking , seemingly ignoring the beauty of God’s creation, with what I call ‘phone in face’ syndrome….I was so angry about iphones and young people, but the issue had much wider reflections for the world, so I can say I am not totally self absorbed in writing to you ….just trying to connect. There is much that you perceive that I do not understand and haven’t yet studied, but I am amazed at the gift God has given you to produce so much material to go deeper into God and His Word. So I guess I am on the low end of the scale….not quite as smart as I thought I was. All this is such a virtual reality for me as I sit at my PC typing my thoughts in the antipodes….not quite the same as face to face communication . I deeply apologize if I have missed the boat ( and that’s another literal story).