I left you with a few questions in my last post that are good for anyone who goes through times of disappointment to answer. Here is how I answered these questions.
1. What causes me to be disappointed?
- Expectations -To cling to my expectation is to decide ahead of time how things need to turn out for me to be happy.
- Disillusionment – When life doesn’t go as I hoped, some degree of disappointment is normal. But at times, that can become disenchantment and develop into deep frustration or even anger.
- The Role of Expectation
- “Giving up on expectation so we won’t be disappointed is not really a viable option. Much of our excitement and enthusiasm in life comes from eager expectation. We look forward to things when we anticipate a desirable outcome. In fact, often times that excitement makes up a large percentage of the joy we experience.”
- “Expectation can also work the other way. If we are anticipating a painful outcome we don’t call it excitement, do we? No, we call it anxiety. In the case of a negative expectation (anxiety), then we are glad when things don’t turn out the way we expected. It’s a relief instead of a disappointment.”
2. What can I to do with the very real sense of loss, disappointment, and heartbreak I encounter along life’s way?
- Know the difference between expectation and expectancy (or HOPE): Expectation is premeditated disappointment, often characterized by unfulfilled desires. Expectancy involves faith. “To embrace expectancy is to engage your faith that God will move on your prayers AND that He may come through in a way that’s different than you expect.”
- “To the Christian, hope is the knowledge that we are being changed for the better as we trust in God’s promises (Romans 8:28). It is the conviction that no matter the circumstances, God’s plans for our lives are “for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11b NLT).
3. How do I keep my disappointments from tangling me up, from strangling my joy and skewing my perspective?
- I need to release the picture of how I think things should be. It’s time to hand it over to the One who knows me best and loves me most
- I also need to give Him time and space to work in, through, and around me. This is often the most difficult thing to do. It requires patience and giving up “my” agenda.
- I have to rejoice in the Truth and through that knowledge, realize that my disappointments are stepping stones to God’s great blessings for my life and His glory. Again, not easy. It requires trusting what we can’t see or even imagine. That’s why knowing His Word becomes so important.
4. What does God want me to do with my expectations?
6 Steps to Overcome Disappointment… (This has only been my own path of dealing with disappointment. It may not be others experiences or needs.)
What I need to do:
- Let myself grieve. Things have not gone the way I wanted. My hopes and expectations have been defeated. I need to spend some quiet time being sad, understanding that my emotions are just that…emotions, and “this, too shall pass.”
- Pray. Spend some time talking to my Heavenly Father. Tell Him my heartache.
- Listen and wait. Big things happen when we pray. Sometimes, they are blessings beyond our expectations.
- Search for the good. This is the time when it’s hardest – and most important – to find the good, grab onto it with both hands, and celebrate it.
- Adjust my expectations – It might make sense not to set my goals so high. But who wants to settle for mediocrity? The proper balance can be elusive, but also worth the effort in finding it.
- Believe in God’s plan. “Paul found strength and hope through his friendship with God. He wrote, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?(Romans 8:31-32) The more we stake our security in God’s enduring love, the less power disappointments will have to undermine our hope. (Read more at “Feels Like Home” and “Dealing With Disappointment”)
5. What to do when you feel disappointed in God? (Especially, when you pray day in and day out, week after week, month after month … and nothing changes.)
- Say it out loud: “I’m disappointed with you, God!” (Do we honestly think we will shock God if we tell Him how we really feel? Do we imagine that we do our souls any good by pretending?) Listen, God is big enough and His love is fierce enough to deal with anything we feel or must face. So let’s stop right here and acknowledge the truth: life can deeply disappoint us.
- This is a chance to learn and grow, a pathway to real hope. For this reason, we must learn to recognize disappointment as a turn in the tide and not the end of the journey.
Are you weighed down by disappointment in yourself, in others, or in God? Tell Christ the whole truth. We will never understand this side of heaven the depth of the love of God. But we have a glorious invitation to trade our disappointment for the sure and certain hope we have in Christ.”
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
The Christian life can sometimes feel like a roller coaster ride when strong hope and faith collide with an unexpected reality….an unexpected storm.
I don’t think we should stop hoping –
- I know for me, the lessons I’ve learned and the intimacy with God I’ve gained in the process of not getting what I hope for, is probably more impactful than the excitement I would experience when my hopes are actually fulfilled.
- The bottom line is that God has a master plan and He will work everything together for our good, whether we get what he hope for at any given time or not. At the end of the day – our true hope in God will not disappoint.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how
dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5 (New Living Translation)