Processing Disappointment #11

Yes, yes, I know.  We were done with this topic, but apparently God is not.

Yesterday I was on a vintage SLG call — four people, four nations.  Among other things, we were exploring the structures related to abandonment and how each redemptive gift’s structure has a little different shape.

At the end of the call, I was utterly exhausted.  I factored in jet lag and the cadence of the day, but it was clear that going into the call I was in pretty decent shape and something non-physical happened during the call which impacted me very negatively, even though the call was supposedly not about me!

So, I started with the hypothesis that I had an unresolved abandonment issue and it got triggered during the call.  Didn’t know where to look, at first, so I just scrolled through sundry things, waiting for a hit.

It came unexpectedly when I looked at my childhood religion:  Calvinism of the 1950s.  Back then, no Christian had any psychological problems of any sort.  Everything was spiritual or physical.  If it was physical, you saw a doctor.  If it was spiritual, you repented, confessed and everything was immediately OK.

I realized that in Calvinism, there was no journey for the soul.  There was only a decision, a choice and an immediate result.  And when you repented and confessed and things did not immediately change in your inner man – for example, my DID that no one knew I had – then it was clear evidence that I had not REALLY repented, and needed to do it deeper, in a more real way, and then I would be immediately, completely cleansed by God and restored and everything would be OK!

No journeys below zero.

That stream of the faith does believe in a journey of faith above zero.  We grow in maturity, develop character, become more Christlike and many other truisms.  But there were no journeys below zero.  If you had soul issues (which didn’t exist back then) and it took you a period of time to process your emotions, or to heal from a wound, then you were abandoned by the religious stream because you really should resolve it spiritually – quickly!

Just crucify the flesh already and get on with life!!!!

This reminded me a lot of our model for abandonment in the womb.  Mother and child are partners in the grand adventure of life, but if the labor becomes so intense that the mother withdraws from the emotional connection with the child for a bit, in order to deal with her own pain, the child can feel abandoned at the time of the greatest need.

Likewise, in that stream of the faith, at the point of highest need, when I had no clue how to process the maelstrom of emotions in me, I felt the spiritual leadership vigorously withdraw from me, because healing was a choice, not a journey in their worldview.

Two things came into focus very clearly last night.

I now understand why I don’t process my pain in community.  It seems so wrong for me, even though I see so many other people joyously leaning into community and finding immense solace and wisdom in their times of deep pain.  But for me, to even HAVE a journey was illegitimate!  It makes sooooo much sense, now.

AND I had the immense pleasure of seeing that in spite of all that mess, I failed forward.  I could have grown up and become one of them, militantly against journeys.  In reality, because of the crazy making nature of my childhood (DID and being expected to resolve every emotional crisis with confession!!!!) I have become a champion of people’s right to have a journey.

I don’t always approve of the way they walk their journey.  I can’t always walk with them on their journey.  And I certainly have a LOT of people where I can’t help them AT ALL on their journey.  But at the end of the day, I champion each person’s right to wrestle with their relationship with God, themselves and their fellow man, and not fit into a sausage factory.

Those two Ah Ha moments captivated me for a while.

Then I had a deep sinking feeling as I looked at the bigger picture.  Today journeys are more or less legitimate.  People are allowed to have souls nowadays, and our emotions are considered valid once more, and the idea of a journey is widely – though not universally – accepted. HOWEVER, a lot of spiritual leaders have defined the journey in their own way.

So you go to them for help and the answer is their own particular algebraic formula for healing in three easy steps.  You go to the specific classes or ministry sessions or seminars and at the end of the time, you are not “fixed.”  So often the leader then rejects or abandons you and it becomes clear that you SHOULD have been fixed by that process because a lot of other people were, therefore it is obvious that you did not really lean into the process the way you should have.

And this definition of someone else’s journey and abandonment when you don’t find full and complete healing through their process has become rampant in the Body of Christ.

Deep sigh – or groan.

I have no idea where to go with this next.

I am more at peace with my processing in private, not in public.  I understand where it came from, and even though I don’t agree with the ideology behind the cause, I think after 60 years of processing the way I process, it is not necessary for me to become the most prolific public processor.

And I am stoked that God leveraged my pain into my becoming someone who champions people’s right to have a journey that is unique.

Obviously there are still issues related to abandonment which I will chew on IN PRIVATE and theoretically get back to you all with some tools that may, or may not, be applicable to your own UNIQUE journey.

Oh, and please note that our October practicum on abandonment is going to ROCK.

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk

Written at 3:00 a.m. local time since my body is still holding on grimly to California time.



  1. says

    My dear unmet friend and companion on the journey of life:
    Your testimony of pain and disappointment as it relates to your theological upbringing is my own testimony through pain. I was raised Presbyterian and the theological implications were that if you had emotional and spiritual pain you were somehow in sin. After a traumatic season of life in my late teenage years, I had no recourse for healing other than through repentance and self-correcting, which kept me farther and farther from Jesus’ grace. As a result of this time period and seeking, I found that my theological upbringing as it pertained to processing and healing from pain was lacking. This set about my journey towards seeking after things of the Spirit, understanding the spiritual realm and inner healing. The Lord led me to forgive the church and all that was unsaid and embrace grace. Now I have such a heart for those stuck in religion.
    Arthur, I bless your openness! I have been very impressed and humbled by your willingness to share your struggle. It is very strong and masculine. Thank you for your vulnerability and jewels. May the Lord bless you as you bless so many others!!!


  2. says

    Your discourses on Disappointment lands so deeply I am gaunt. I notice you like to process in private. I’ve wondered why I find lots of people, like in Church, or family gatherings, so hard. Almost can’t do it anymore. But being alone all the time is also wounding. Arthur, you are such a blessing. It helps to know someone else is going through stuff to and is not afraid to elucidate it. Thanks for this encouragement.


  3. Melissa says

    Dignity. Elegant dignity. Again.

    No words for the lovely impact of this wisdom creating powerful, pointed, beautiful insight. Origins of lifelong angst explained and brilliant hope set forth in one succinct article. Pinpoint perfect timely.

    You have brought in this article encouragement that I have a voice, my unique experience is legitimate, and I can refuse to be a victim as well as compassionately avoid victimizing others in this way.
    Our journeys are our journeys, our pain is real, pretending it’s all okay is detrimental, but so is wallowing in its quicksand qualities. I am moving in God’s currency of breathing His life and beauty and light onto the world, while simultaneously wrestling with the suffocating, excruciating darkness of abandonment. That’s okay. I can hold those opposites in tension because my journey is complex, and legitimate.

    And often graced with a sparkling breeze of dignity from your pen.


  4. Anthony Goh says

    Thanks arthur for sharing.

    ” This reminded me a lot of our model for abandonment in the womb. Mother and child are partners in the grand adventure of life, but if the labor becomes so intense that the mother withdraws from the emotional connection with the child for a bit, in order to deal with her own pain, the child can feel abandoned at the time of the greatest need”

    Have been processing a lot of prenatal trauma and birth trauma but had not dealt with this area. My mum and I nearly died while she was giving birth to me.

    When I read this paragraph of yours, a lot of rage came to the surface. I processed it and the Father healed me of this aspect of the trauma.

    Thank you for this illustration.


  5. LaVonne says

    Just Amazing to read what the Lord revealed to you Arthur. All of It. I relate to it. And to all the other comments. Wow. Been told a few times I am on a Journey too. Did read the Hinds feet in High Places back in 97 or so. I had a word that 3 supply lines have been cut for me – like how the pipes are underground and lead to your house, with a tie ax, (a long handle with ornate Scandinavian markings and it was rounded at the blade). ( The person even looked it up on the internet and found what he saw) wow. This was given a year and half ago on March 2015. Well a week and half ago I was reading the Blessing Book with you Arthur and Crystal Wade and in the Justice section it mentioned about the 3 areas that Job lost. I had read and prayed that book before but when I saw that that day I went what? wow. Just felt like a confirmation. Thank you for posting this new revelation.. Glad the Father wasn’t done. Don’t know where I am in the journey but hope it is ending is that selfish?. To lose every thing been tough.


  6. Nichols Web Management says

    I often wonder if when we think we are ‘dealing in private’ we are not in fact participating with the whole of heaven.


  7. Chris says

    “… it becomes clear that you SHOULD have been fixed by that process because a lot of other people were,therefore it is obvious that you did not really lean into the process the way you should have.” For many decades this has been my experience. Your words have brought me the first dignity I have ever had in this area. You touched a very sore spot, and I am now crying tears of release from depths within. I now know it’s not all my fault. Thank you with all my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. says

    with the Ruler season came tools to scale systems in unprecedented ways. now, the temptation – or trap – of the Mercy season is to robotically plug in the formulas hoping for an instantaneous fix. but, to re-say what you said, God is all about walking with each of us in an intensely individual way. I like this thought. not that it helps this conversation move forward in any way. but I like it. it is liberating.

    also, how deftly you slip this line in there: ‘I am stoked that God leveraged my pain into my becoming someone who champions people’s right to have a journey that is unique.’ talk about perspective from a seasoned worshipper.


  9. Lila G says

    Wow! Right on the money.

    Interesting to me is that at 3 am my time, same day, I was wrestling with my own painful bout of disappointment and bewilderment… then Holy Spirit led me to the story of the widow coming to the unjust judge for justice. Jesus’ words from Luke 18:6 “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?” were followed by a parade through my memory of all the people I’ve known who have been dealt injustice in their lives. Some have passed on with issues unresolved; some are still working their own personal journeys with no succinct answers, still struggling and finding no help in the traditional solutions thrown their way.
    Do I have answers? Nope. Sometimes I thought I did. Will I explore with them when invited to do so? Most assuredly, but I wince at the thought that I may have at times been guilty of sending pat answers, somewhat like Job’s comforters. You have underlined the growing keen awareness that one size definitely does NOT fit all, and thinking outside the box may well be a mandatory requirement in the journey in order to receive justice and healing in individual situations.

    Thanks for your transparency.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. frieda says

    thank you again for opening yourself …I recognise it so much !!!!!ndeed describe well how it was in ‘ those days ‘ . by giving those things words takes away shame ( that came in then ) of not being fixed .and …indeed it is a unique journey …happy that our Father understands …and it makes me know Him how He is and His patience and His interaction with my prayers is something great that I love a lot !!!!


    • says

      “when you don’t find full and complete healing through their process”

      I have had a strong opinion in life that good communication in relationships happen when we state the “obvious.” I first developed this passion as a nurse watching people’s fear diminish when I took time to explain the medical language and step-by-step what was being ordered by a physician and why.

      This blog is such a good reminder to me to apply the same principle with even greater intentionality as I work with others in inner healing and coaching. It’s so easy to get a language and passion around something that works for oneself and that can come across as THE WAY. The truth is that God’s work at healing me and holy-ing me has been through a multitude of counselors and resources at different seasons in my walk. I have the wisdom of age to see this. I need to communicate to those I disciple that I am ONE STEP in their life-long journey with God.

      THANK YOU for this beautiful reminder.


  11. Joan Schultze says

    Dear Arthur,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, strength and hope. Reading the replies; my name is Joan and a friend gave me the book Hind’s Feet in High Places years ago. Very familiar with abandonment and rejection has hemmed me in with Paul’s God and other needy ones. I weep as I’ve never been more real. It’s good!
    Yours very truly,


  12. says

    Thank you for your complete honesty as I walk a similar path. Haven’t championed dealing with such a deep issue with the abandonment I am experiencing. I was use to being alone until I was convinced to allow the DID to be opened with a promise. But learning abandonment is the choice. Never been afraid to deal with pain. So sharing the journey.


  13. says

    Just want to drop a line that I’m reading along and learning a lot from that on many levels. Thanks for paving a way. I’m on my own personal journey. However. I do bare fruit from your journey. So thanks for sharing. With appreciation

    Liked by 2 people

  14. says

    Thank you for finding words for all this, Arthur. It was painful to read at points, recalling how my journey has been handled within the church (good and bad), but also the mental movie reel of some people I could have walked better with….

    We the Church and I myself have got to get better at this!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. says

    This immediately brought to mind one particular Sunday night some 30 years ago when I went out for prayer. Dear old Ps A, a prophet recognised within the (Pentecostal) denomination was there to pray for me. He sort of looked at me, almost patted me on the head, and said I’d been prayed for so often I should be praying for others (I’d not been asked to be part of ministry team as I was not a pastor (or prophet) ) I looked at him like a scolded puppy with a whole bevy of demons screaming inside! Mutely I begged with my eyes, ‘Can’t you see I need help!!! You’re the very senior Prophet! I Need Help!’ And that was that! Nothing! Silently went back to my seat!
    You know the story- a couple who defied the accepted logic that true Christians couldn’t have demons, helped boot some out! And many more!
    I’ve forgiven him years ago, seen him through God’s eyes, blessed him, and he’s long gone to glory!
    But this episode of utter abandonment by the very ones that should have been there for me as an eager young Christian rose up just now! They gave the ‘Thus sayeth the Lord’ in perfect KJV, and Hebrew, and Greek, and the ME was ignored! Don’t Joan’s count? Those inner parts of pain, of shadows of un-answered, un-asked questions, even of inner delight that cannot be expressed!
    Arthur! It sucks!
    And now I have something to ponder from this side of my walk. What is the key? Or, more importantly, where on the maze is the keyhole for the key?
    Pressing in here! You are not alone! Nor am I!
    Then these words of hope… Sort of secret garden, Nancy Drew flavour…

    A door cracked open and I could see
    Someone inside beckoning me
    Beckoning me to come on in
    Dare I push on the door and walk right in

    My hand I raise and I gently touch
    It’s a heavy old door so I give it a nudge
    The hinges creak as it budges a bit
    My shoulder is next so I lean on it

    Welcoming hand reaches out
    Come on in! I hear the shout!
    Come on in, there’s treasure galore
    Come, my daughter, there’s so much more…

    Processing at home… with Wi-fi intact!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Sonia says

    Yes you are a champion of journey as I received this through your many teachings and your words of wisdom! I am looking forward to this one! I choose to journey further because of the dignity to fail forward! Now one of my own core values! Blessings on your transition, may your body open the right gates and sequence with time for the zone you are in!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. nita7932014 says

    Go Arthur. This is great. I remember when Jerry called me and told me to look up that little book, Hinds Feet on High Places. That’s when I recognized the journey. Sometimes I felt as though I was not ‘getting through’ without community to help, other times I knew I just had to go it alone. Our journey does lead us to engage with others who join us, sometimes we join those others along the way. Either way or both along with tears I found joy and peace.
    Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lynda T. says

    I remember that ’50’s Calvinism– it was alive and well in the ’60’s! I remember an inner sadness and frustration because whenever I tried to express my pain I would be told why it didn’t matter. Long story…. I won’t start telling it now!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Janis Leal says

    So glad for your Ah-Ha moment, and your joy over realizing you’re a champion for others’ processing! And so very happy you rightfully abandoned the “Just crucify the flesh already and get on with life!!!” idea. 🙂

    God surely knows what He’s doing, and where this is going, both public and private. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people