Disillusionment is the second spiritual battle that can undermine your spiritual readiness. We’ve all experienced a state of disillusionment at one time or another, in which something or someone failed our expectations. For example, the trip to France was supposed to include seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but it was a misprint in the itinerary and a sense of disappointment or dissatisfaction settled in, or the person you dated held certain beliefs, but later found out that this was not true.
Spiritual Readiness as I define it is: Incorporating one’s Christian faith in preparing for adversity or living under difficult circumstances, and includes how well a military member or military family can bounce back. A sailor by the name William A said this online about disillusionment: “It is like joining the Navy to see the world and getting stuck with latrine duty on a nuclear submarine and not seeing daylight for 30 days at a time.” Obviously, the Navy didn’t live up to this man’s expectations, or his expectations were false, perhaps because someone didn’t paint the correct picture of life on a submarine. It’s very possible he was fooled into a false belief of what to expect in the Navy and became dissatisfied. His real experience didn’t line up with his initial belief and became disillusioned. If he doesn’t recover from his initial disillusionment, his spiritual readiness is undermined.
Vocabulary.com says this about disillusionment: “Disillusionment is when the hard truth of reality makes you lose faith in your dreams and ideals.1 The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition has this definition for disillusionment: Disappointed, Dissatisfied.2
Disillusionment is when we no longer believe in something–a goal, an aspiration or ambition or a passion. What we thought was real turned out to be false. We believed in the illusion, but we were fooled. As a result, we become dissatisfied because we’ve been disappointed. We often see this in relationships too.
People Disappoint Us
When a couple marries they’re excited about their future together. They make plans and begin to work those plans for a certain common result. But as time passes one aspect of a partner’s true character surfaces, such as a bad temper or a habit of deception or one’s beliefs don’t line up with their behavior. The expectation or hopes of one or both partner’s turned out to be an illusion and has the potential to undermine spiritual readiness.
We can also become disillusioned about our parent’s love and acceptance. As children, we had their unconditional love, but as an adult, we discovered their love had conditions or limits. They may have disapproved of the person we chose to marry or condemned a certain belief we held, and it triggered a disconnect or a rejection in the relationship. Led to believe from childhood that we had our parent’s unconditional love and approval, we learned it was only real to a certain point. Beyond that it was an illusion. Our faith, too, can be subject to an attack of disillusionment.
Prayers that Go Unanswered
ve been waiting a long time, perhaps years, for God to answer a prayer need, like David in Psalm 13, it can wear us down. In Psalm 13, David expressed his feelings to God and he found strength in doing so.
In our waiting, it seems like God takes too long to turn the tide of our circumstances, or move in the heart of a loved one or bring relief from loneliness due to long separations, or a chronic condition, but if we let our impatience deeply trouble our souls, we’ll become disillusioned about the life of faith – and our role as a supportive military spouse. The same can happen when we see God move or answer in a way that isn’t to our liking. We become disappointed and we begin to doubt God’s ability to come through for us. The valley of disappointment is barren and void of contentment. In this state, we become disillusioned about God and our disillusionment will undermine our spiritual readiness if we don’t “draw near to God” (James 4:8). Do not pull back in doubt; move forward in faith. By studying God’s Word, we discern how God sustained the faith of those who also became weary of disillusionment.
King David went to God regularly and reaffirmed his trust in Him no matter what and no matter how long God took to answer his prayers. He was a learner of God’s ways to prevent doubt from leading him down the path of disillusionment. I thank God for David’s examples because it reveals that if we abide in His Word we will stay out of Satan’s camp of disillusionment. If we succumb to a state of disillusionment, it will take us into one of Satan’s valleys – the valley of discouragement. This is no place we want to find ourselves in. Come back for how to avoid this detrimental place in part 3 of “Three Spiritual Battles that Undermine Spiritual Readiness.”
“Keep your eyes focused on the Victor and your mind filled with His word.” -David Jeremiah
For part 3 click here
1Dictionary definition of disillusionment, http://www.vocabular.com/dictionary (accessed 13 July 2014).
2 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, s.v. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2005).