March 10, 2014

When Disappointment Strikes

 
 Disappointing - failing to meet expectations

Disappointed - feeling sad, unhappy, or displeased because something
was not as good as expected or because something you hoped for or expected did not happen

Yes, disappointment has reared its ugly head today. I am filled with a mixture of emotions, many of which, I dislike intensely. Normally, I handle disappointments well. I have had many over the course of my life, and for the most part, I learned early on not to expect happy outcomes. If you don't expect to be pleased about something or someone or some outcome, then you won't find yourself facing disappointment.

It is a rather fatalistic way to view life, and certainly, it is not how God wants us to live our life at all. The Word in Philippians 4 says that we are to:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
 
God expects us to look forward, to rest in His provision and sufficiency, and to wait with anticipation, expectancy for His Goodness.

Yet, rarely do we do that kind of waiting (looking up). Most of the time, we look at our circumstances and we think "Yeah, this is where I am today, and tomorrow doesn't look much better." It can be frustrating at times, and often we feel as though we have been kicked in the shin, punched in the stomach, and led to believe that things were going to be far more rosier than they are.

This graphic speaks volumes to me.

 

I believe that disappointment comes when your expectations do not equal reality. In purely mathematical terms, for these two to equal each other, the equation has to have equal proportions. For example, (D)=1 so (E) and (R) can equal 1 as well. In short, the equation would read as

1=1/1 or 1=1

Philosophically, this works out to the fact that your reality and expectation must be the same. If your reality is more or less than your expectation or vice versa, the result will not be a whole number but a fraction.

1=1/2 which really is 1>1/2 (more disappointment to expectation/reality)

Ok, so you get the point. The idea is that disappointment comes when our reality and expectations are out of alignment or out of balance (unequal). The key is to make sure our expectations equal our reality. Therefore, if our reality is that we make $10 per hour, our expectation that we can live at $15 per our is out of whack. If, however, we make $10 per hour, and we live at $10 per hour, then we have balance. This will not avoid disappointment, but it will temper it. The reason is that we understand disappointments in life come, circumstances change, and at times, we find ourselves facing uncertainty. The uncertainty stems from a myriad of factors, and most of them our beyond our control. It is much easier to diffuse the emotional roller coaster ride when we understand that these changes are out of our control. We can simply acknowledge them, and then we move on.

However, if we have high expectations that do not match our reality, than we suffer the consequences of emotional disappointment. We have an out of balance mind set that tells us we expected something that didn't happen and the cause was our reality didn't live up to the expectant standard.

It is really a matter of mind. How we look at things, and how we accept truth as it is in our reality.

Encouragement from the Word

Romans 5:3-5

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 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.

 James 1:2-5 NIV

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

Overcoming Disappointment

  1. Adjusting expectations is important. I don't want to set mine too high (unrealistic), but I also don't want to negate the power of God in my life (too low). With God all things are possible, so don't give up on God. Just cut yourself a little slack and realize that while God will never let you down, people will. People will sin, and people will hurt you. God will always stand by you no matter what and He understands the pain and the sorrow of disappointment.
  2. Learn from your defeats. Don't give up, but don't give in either. Understand that defeat is normal, and that everyone suffers from defeat at times in their life. Learn from your mistakes or miscalculations, and grow through the experience so that next time you can avoid the error or at the least minimize its impact.
  3. Build friendships. God gives us friends to help us through the difficult moments in life. Reach out to friends who will comfort you and rally round you. Know that they too experience disappointments so be there for them just as often as they are there for you. Share each others burdens, love each other, pray for each other, and when all else fails, hold each other. It really does work wonders to help bring an end to the emotional side of disappointment.
  4. Dive into your relationship with God. Take this time to reach deeper in your walk with the Lord. Lean upon Him and realize that He will not leave you nor will He abandon you. You matter to Him, and He does know what it feels like to be disappointed. Turn toward Him and not away from Him. Let Him heal your hurts, and let Him show you the way through the trial.
  5. Lastly, remember the ultimate goal. Life is transient. It is fleeting. Our path leads to one place (for the believer in Jesus Christ) and that is homeward to Heaven. Keep your mind firmly fixed on the prize, and run your race with endurance to the end. Don't give up, and when life seems to be crashing all around you, remember to look up. Wait on the Lord, stay faithful, and keep on keeping on. Jesus is the reason we endure. He is our Victor and our Champion, and He is waiting for us at the finish line. Finish strong, dear brothers and sisters, finish strong.
 Source: https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/discipleship/wright_disappointment.aspx

Lord,

There are times when I feel so disappointed, and there are times when I feel so overwhelmed. I know that life is hard, and that circumnavigating it can be difficult. I get frustrated when things don't go my way or when I feel that people (important people) don't live up to my expectations. I struggle with letting others lead their own lives, with letting them go so that they can make their own mistakes. 

This is especially true of my son, whom I love dearly, but who is at that point in his life where he is responsible for his own actions. I want to help him, mentor him, protect him. Yet, he makes decisions that affect his life, and I see the outcome of those decision and I know they are not wise. I want to shake him, to make him listen like he used to when he was a child. I cannot do this, he is a young man, and he must learn on his own. He must learn to trust you, to seek you, and to follow after you. I can no longer chart his course, I can no longer plan his day. I have to let him go. I pray he follows you. I pray he seeks your wisdom. I pray he makes good choices. I let him go today, Lord. I let him go. 

Thank you, Lord, for your wisdom and perfect peace. Thank you for your hand upon my life. Thank you for what you are doing in me and through me. Thank you for this day, and thank you for being there for me, always there for me. I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you and to praise you this day. Selah! Pause and calmly think about it.

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