I spent some time this afternoon looking at what other people say about disappointment and to be honest most of the quotes out there offer very little hope.
“No expectations. No disappointments.”
“Silly me, expecting too much from people again.”
“Too many high hopes, too many disappointments.”
It’s no wonder people struggle to pick themselves up off the floor if those are the voices they are listening to.
In saying that, one of my strongest emotions this week having gone into a second level 3 lockdown in New Zealand, would have to be disappointment. In the first lockdown I think it was a novelty. I think I was ok with having a break from our normal rhythm and in some ways it was a relief to not have to turn up to event after event all the time. But after a few months of cancelling everything we started to fill our calendar again – this time with things I now looked forward to so much. The most immediate being my husband’s birthday and a weekend away – just him and I – for the first time in over 10 years.
So when the lockdown was announced late Tuesday evening I couldn’t help but feel ripped off that I was going to miss out on something I had set my heart and hopes on.
I wonder how many others are in the same boat? Making the assumption that I am not the only one to feel disappointment at lost plans and cancelled calendars, I thought I’d put pen to paper and see if we can’t encourage one another on this rollercoaster journey. Who knows, this might even hit home for you in many other areas of your life.
HOW DO I DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT IN MY LIFE?
1. TAKE A MOMENT TO FEEL IT.
Give yourself permission to feel the disappointment. Acknowledge it. You don’t have to squash it down, ignore it and pretend like it isn’t there. It’s ok to have a wee meltdown, shed a tear or stomp your feet when it hits you unexpectedly. JUST DON’T STAY THERE. Give yourself 20mins, an hour, half a day, a day (however dramatic you feel the need to be) to feel sorry for yourself. Wallow. Lament. Throw a tanty. Then get up and dust yourself off. Don’t stay down.
2. BE HONEST WITH GOD.
In those lamenting moments it is so important that you are honest with God about how you are feeling. Allow him into your world – even the places you want to hide. You don’t have to hide it from him. Tell him how you are feeling. Tell him why you are disappointed. Tell him what hurts the most. Tell him why it sucks and how you have been ripped off. Spend some time writing it down. Journal it through. He’s listening.
3. EVALUATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Now I am not someone who would ever tell you to stop dreaming and stop hoping. In fact I believe that our expectation is linked to our experience. Expectation is important in the faith journey. What I am saying here is that sometimes in a difficult season it is important to adjust our expectations of ourselves and of others. This will help us navigate our disappointment. If it’s a new season or a full season. If it’s a season where there is sickness or extra pressure somehow then lowering your expectations does not mean you lack faith – it means you carry wisdom. Ask yourself, do I need to change any of my expectations to help me navigate this season.
4. GRAB HOLD OF SOME POSITIVES.
In moments of disappointment sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective. A reminder that while it might be bad, it’s not all bad. I have lost some things, but I haven’t lost everything. This is the perfect moment to start a gratitude journal. End each day by writing a list of The Good In Today. Gratitude keeps us from wallowing. It helps us to look up from our circumstances and see the good all around us. Thanksgiving and praise is a practice that grows our faith and shifts our perspective.
5. TRUST THAT GOD’S GOT THIS.
There are many things that we will never get our heads around, will never be able to reason and may never understand. There are answers to questions I may never know on this side of eternity and I have to be ok with that. I have to be ok believing that I may not know, but God knows. I may not be in control but God is. I may not have all the answers but God does. This is the part of the journey where trust comes into play. There are many circumstances when all we have left is to trust. Trust that God has got it in hand.
6. REMEMBER GOD’S GOODNESS.
This disappointment does not signify the end of God’s goodness over your life. He is still good. And He is still good to you. Take some time to write down all of the ways He has been good to you in the past. Think of the times He has felt near to you. Think of the prayers you know He has heard and answered. Think about moments of provision, healing, reconciliation and restoration you have witnessed. May those times become a testimony of His goodness in your season of disappointment. A reminder to you that if He has done it once, He will do it again!
7. MAKE PURPOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
I do not believe that God orchestrates tragedy in our world but I certainly believe He will use it to fulfil His purposes. God is greater than any failure, mistake, loss, discouragement and disappointment we may encounter. And if we will allow purpose to be our perspective we won’t miss what He could do in and through us.
8. BEGIN TO DREAM AGAIN.
This might be the hardest step of them all. It’s scary to step out after you have stepped out once and been left disappointed. Don’t let the past rob you of your future. If God has put something on your life He will use anything to bring it to fruition – even this. Allow the possibilities to stir in you once more. Fear will tell you it can’t be done but choose to live in faith not fear. And faith says, dream again.
Now, go out there and live like you believe it!