LifeWay Pastors is glad to welcome Courtney L. Moore as a new contributor. Courtney is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a pastor’s wife to Brent who serves at Pinelake Church in Jackson, Mississippi. She has experience in several areas of ministry ranging from preschool to adults, and on the mission field. Currently, she is a contributing writer for various publications and coaches women’s small group leaders at Pinelake. She and Brent have two sons, Jude and Luke.
Disney Land is popular for a reason. We love the idea that fairy tales come true and that happily-ever-after really does exist.
But we all know the Disney experience is fantasy.
Characters who sign autograph books and gleefully pose for photos all day eventually go behind closed doors to clock out, take off their masks, and drive home. As parents we shield our children from this reality. We want them to maintain their childlike innocence as long as possible before they realize the unpleasant facts: Snow White’s name is really Cindy, she lives three miles away in an apartment, and has never experienced a poisoned-apple-induced coma.
I began life as a pastor’s wife with an idealistic approach very similar to the optimism found at Disney Land. Though I expected a few bumps along the way, I believed serving God with my husband would be amazing. I never imagined how it would devastate me.
After several disappointing experiences, my beautiful illusions of ministry and life as a pastor’s wife were crushed. Bitterness overtook my faith, and my hopeful outlook shifted to cynicism, a mindset unhelpful to my pastor husband or me.
I needed renewal and the Holy Spirit led me to it in four ways.
Replacing Cynicism with Faith
My disillusionment with ministry and skepticism toward individuals in the church subtly shifted toward God Himself. Though I believed He was good to others, was He good to me? He cared for everyone else’s situation, but did He care for mine? As I questioned the Father’s heart, my own grew callous.
The writer of Hebrews warns his readers not to become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. He cautions them of the dangerous effects of an unbelieving heart that would turn them away from God (3:12-13).
By God’s grace, I began to see that cynicism was a form of unbelief. The questioning of motives, the snarky doubtfulness of God and others had led me away from a walk of faith and trust. The Holy Spirit began leading me to put off cynicism and put on faith.
I reestablished my quiet time routine with renewed hope. I chose to talk to God and believe He heard me. I chose to read His Word and trust it was true for me. I began taking steps toward obedience, trusting His good lead in my life. And as I did, little by little He replaced my cynicism with faith and joy.
Developing a More Balanced Perspective on Humanity
A large part of my cynicism formed from the hypocrisy I’d witnessed by prominent church members. In my shock, I fumbled with how to mentally respond to the ungodly, hurtful behavior of even leaders. My idea of biblical community was shattered.
To combat this, I remembered humans are born with a sinful bent. That bent is dealt a significant blow, however, when Christ justifies sinners. We are already made perfect positionally in Christ, but still wrestle with sin practically.
I realized that I can no longer be shocked when I’m sinned against. Even the most sanctified believers will continue to sin until they see Christ face to face. I must extend the grace and forgiveness I’ve received to them. Gaining a more realistic expectation of others has helped me overcome cynicism.
Relying on the Trustworthy Character of God
Though people may fail me or manipulate me for their own purposes, God never will. Jesus Christ is the truth; it is impossible for Him to lie. There is no shifting with Him (John 14:6, Hebrews 6:18, James 1:17). I can trust Him, even when I can’t trust man.
He also has no hidden agenda. God’s purpose is straightforward. He is working always for His own glory and my good, no matter the circumstances. I don’t have to question His motives or doubt His heart toward me. He is sincerely steering my life toward all that is pleasing to Him. Relying on the trustworthy character of God rescued me from cynicism.
Placing My Hope in Future Redemption
Cynicism believes the worst and distrusts motives. By nature it’s pessimistic and doubtful of good. Cynicism wholly affirms the vileness of the fall, but only gives a tired nod to Jesus’ rescue of sinners. It hardly notices His promise of restoration to come.
To conquer this mindset, I’ve learned to let the Holy Spirit turn my thoughts toward the future, when Jesus will make all things right. I can trust Him to wisely deal with those who sinned against me and to right all wrongs. Even now, He is sovereignly aligning even trials and cynicism to show His goodness by how He will completely redeem it. All things will be made new and beautiful. This is hope!
Though the Disney experience is make-believe, those happy endings we see portrayed there really can exist and soon will, when Christ returns and cynicism is no more.