Disappointments happen to us everyday. We put our expectations into something or someone, and when those expectations are not fulfilled, we become disappointed. Sports teams experience disappointments all the time. One team wins, and the other loses. The one who loses, I am sure, are disappointed at the outcome, they wanted to win. Just this past Superbowl I was rooting for the Seahawks and was disappointed that they didn’t win.
Disappointments may be simple or small, and other times they might seem ginormous.
Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. (Wikipedia.com)
1. To fail to satisfy the hope, desire, or expectation of.
2. To frustrate or thwart
3. To fail to meet the expectations, hopes, desires, or standards of; let down
4. To prevent the fulfillment of (a plan, intention, etc.); frustrate; thwart
Disappointments = Expectations not being met.
Disappointments have the same flavor as regrets. The difference is that regrets usually have to do with the choices you make, while disappointments have to do with the outcome of what you put your expectations in. It means you didn’t get what you wanted or hoped for.
React in our flesh
What do we do when we experience a disappointment? Most of the time we react in our flesh instead of our spirit. The word “flesh” refers to self-nature or human nature or self-effort.
To walk after the flesh is to do your own desires, usually it is the easy way out or it pleases you in an ungodly way. Joyce Meyer states in “Living Beyond Your Feelings,” that “The nature of the flesh is to want what it thinks it cannot have, but once it has what it thought it wanted, the craving starts all over again.”
The one word that the flesh screams the loudest is MORE, and no matter how much it has, it is still never satisfied.” This reminds me of an older movie called, “Little Shop Of Horrors.” In it Seymour has a plant that needs to be fed all the time. When Seymour feeds it, the plant gets bigger and bigger and is never satisfied. It eventually takes over his home. This is exactly what happens when we feed our flesh instead of our spirit. The flesh is never satisfied and the more you feed it, the bigger and more demanding it becomes.
It is natural to react to disappointments in our flesh. We might hold a grudge against someone who has let us down or has hurt us. Holding a grudge has a downward spiral attached to it. Holding a grudge is un-forgiveness. God is bigger than our disappointments. It may seem at the time that He isn’t, because they are staring us in the face, but God is still bigger. We put our trust in Him and not people, or things, or events. All those things will let us down someday, but God will always be there and always has His best plans for our lives.
Things we may do in our flesh when disappointed
1. We put up walls
This happens often. We put up walls and don’t talk to someone or even totally close off all communication. I know because I have done this. It feels “right” at the time and it gives us a sense of control. We felt out of control when the disappointment came. There might not have been any thing we could have done to fix or change the outcome. It is a huge frustration to live with an outcome you didn’t have in your plans. It is very hard to live with circumstances someone else chose for you. But the walls only hurt us.
Steps to lawlessness:
1. Get offended
2. Put up walls
3. Isolate ourselves
4. Become a law unto ourselves
5. Lawlessness sets in and we don’t listen to anyone and do our own thing.
2. We get mad at God
It is easy to get mad at God thinking He could have prevented what happened. Reality is God had nothing to do with it. People are given free will and they make choices all the time. Their choices might not line up with your choices or what you planned. Often authority figures over our life can make a choice that affects us. Our hands are tied as to the outcome. We can easily blame God, quit our job, or distance ourselves from this person. All of these choices are not good choices.
It is amazing how it is the first thing people go to, getting mad at God, when disappointments come. We may even have prayed about the situation and when it doesn’t turn out the way we want, we blame God for the mess. Is it really God’s mess, or is it possibly bad consequences of your own choices we have to live through?
Getting mad at God never helps the situation, but only hurts you and your walk with Him. Stop blaming God for every bad thing that happens in your life. Your life will be much more at peace if you stop doing this.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
It doesn’t say that all things are good that we go through, but that all the things we go through will work out for our good. It also says that we are called. You and I are called by God to live our Christian life for His purpose and His glory.
3. We get mad at ourselves
Handling disappointments is a process. Don’t get mad at yourself if you are not over it quickly. It takes time to heal and to regroup after a disappointment. Give yourself permission to relax and allow God to heal you, and learn to worship in the middle of the Disappointment. No one is perfect. If you are a perfectionist, you will never attain being perfect. Give yourself a break. You are human just like the rest of us humans on this earth. We need to do our best, but not at the expense of perfectionism. It is a trap the enemy uses to snare you into bondage.
4. We show emotion or get depressed
Often it is natural to cry or be upset when something happens that has hurt you. There is a grieving process whenever there is a loss of any kind. There are 5 stages of grief when a loved one dies that can be applied to what we experience after a disappointment:
5 Stages of Grief or Loss
1. Denial and Isolation
3, Bargaining – “If only I did this.. or that..”
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King Jr
Disappointments are to the soul what a thunderstorm is to the air. – Friedrich Schiller
Our best successes often come after our greatest disappointments. – Henry Ward Beecher
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures. – Joseph Addison
How To Handle disappointments?
Let’s face it everyone will be disappointed from time to time. It is what we do; our actions or reactions, that determine our character. Often disappointments shape our character. It is in these times we need to quickly seek God to help us heal and to learn from them.
Know that disappointments can help you grow. They make you stronger for your future. We can try and fight having disappointments but really it is futile because we can never control people or circumstances. This is not what God wants from us; a bunch of controlling, manipulating people.
Here are a few things I have personally learned when it comes to dealing with and handling disappointments, and I pray they help you:
1. Run to God
Running to God, and venting your frustrations about your disappointments, is the very first thing you should do after being disappointed. Telling Him how you feel is the best way to get it out. Stuffing your feelings inside of you only brings turmoil. God knows and sees everything. He was there when it happened. He wants us to run to Him with our disappointments.
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible)
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
God hears our cry. Crying out to God is a form of running to Him. Here are just a few verses in the Bible about crying out to God:
2 Sam. 22:7 (NKJV)
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.”
Psalm 18:6 (NKJV)
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”
Psalm 30:2 (NKJV)
“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.”
Psalm 57:2 (NKJV)
“I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.”
Psalm 61:1 (NKJV)
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.”
Psalm 77:1 (NKJV)
“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me.”
God hears our cry and our humble plea moves His heart to action. Just the act of crying out to God brings healing, but to know God will move on our behalf brings security.
Worship in the middle of the disappointment. Worshipping God takes our attention off of our circumstances and ourselves, and places our gaze, our focus on our Creator. Worship frees our spirit of the cares of this world. It puts life in perspective. Worship also helps us to place our trust in God in the middle of the disappointments.
Worshipping God reminds us of how good He really is. It helps build our faith to arise in us to overcome the disappointment.
Isaiah 52:17 – 19
“His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen!”
God only does wondrous things! He will do wondrous things in your life as you place your cares upon Him. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. There are many things we can’t fix or change, but God has a plan. Even if it is teaching us to endure in the middle of the process of handling disappointments, we will come out the other side better for it and with much reward.
Psalm 28:6 – 7 (NKJV)
“Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”
Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 42:5 (Message)
“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.”
Release the person in your heart. Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life, and it gives it back to you. Realize nobody is perfect. If you are having trouble letting go of a grudge or to give forgiveness, talk to someone you trust, who will give you wise, Godly, and compassionate advice.
Forgiving is a process, at least it has been in my life. I would go through the stages of grief and then come to a place in my heart I was willing to forgive. Then I would even pray and might say it out loud; “I forgive _______ !” Then, something else would come up that would re-open the wound, and all the forgiveness I gave that person went out the window! I would have to come to the place in my heart to be willing to forgive again and then release them. Sometimes this happened over and over again. I knew the verses in the bible about forgiving seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). I knew if I didn’t forgive, my sins would not be forgiven (Matthew 6:12). These are things that motivated me to forgive, but the actual act of forgiving always seemed to take time. I finally gave myself permission that it was okay if I wasn’t at the place of forgiveness with them, knowing that was my ultimate goal.
Wounds take time to heal. Allow yourself the time it takes to be made whole again.
Jesus is my hero. He went to the cross knowing what was in the hearts of people, and even forgave them in the middle of the act of being crucified. My spirit wants to be able to do that, but my flesh wins out more than not.
Some people don’t struggle with forgiving others. They look like they just shrug it off and have no issue, but deep down inside a wound was created and only God and time will bring true healing.
I came across a post on Facebook the other day that I think will help us all in the process of forgiving others who have disappointed or mistreated us. The post was from the “Called Magazine” and they stated: “TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Give someone who mistreated you a kind word (genuine compliment/encouragement) or a thoughtful gift. — CAN YOU DO IT?” This challenged me to reach out in the direction of someone who hurt me and say a kind word to them. It was a step in the right direction. Baby steps are better then not stepping forward at all, and even better then stepping backward deeper into un-forgiveness to becoming bitter and resentful.
I could go into a sermon all its own on this subject. This message is to bring us to the awareness that forgiveness may be needed if your disappointment has to do with someone letting you down. God is bigger then your unforgiveness and He will help you overcome if you ask Him too.
4. Break walls down
It is natural to harden our hearts to life, let alone to people. You might have tried and tried to do something and was disappointed every time. Putting up walls and isolating yourself is not the answer. It only makes your turmoil worse.
Life has been given to us to enjoy, not resent. God has blessed us with many blessings if we would just look for them. We have to break down any walls we have built up, or possibly want to build up, or we will dry up and never have a healthy life.
Have you ever been dehydrated? I have. Your body will tell you it is drying up by how you are feeling and the symptoms you are experiencing. When someone is dehydrated they experience many symptoms. This is what happens to us spiritually when we put up walls and isolate ourselves from the real issue that God wants us to deal with. We become unhealthy and the signs will be seen by:
2% body fluid loss:
Loss of Appetite
Dark Colored Urine
fatigue or Weakness
5% body fluid loss:
Increased heart rate
Increased body temperature
Tingling of the limbs
10% body fluid loss (Emergency help is needed immediately)
Chest and Abdominal pain
I think you get the point. What happens in the natural is similar to the spiritual. We have to keep ourselves spiritually hydrated, which includes breaking down the walls of isolation and anger.
Dehydration symptoms in the spiritual:
A lack of thirst for God
Loss of hunger for God and His Word
Indifference or lack of compassion or passion
Complacency sets in
Absorbed with self
Faith is low and you don’t even care
The things of this world seem appealing and Godly things don’t
Lack of fellowship with other Christians
Lack of attending church
Isolation or building up walls, is spiritual Dehydration. Our spiritual life is in jeopardy if we don’t break the walls down and get help. We are alert with our natural body and how it functions, we have to do the same with our spiritual life.
5. Be positive
Refuse to allow negativity to become a part of you after you have been disappointed. It is so easy to speak negative words about the situation, people, or life in general after being disappointed. Being negative about your circumstance never brings healing or help. Ask God to help you look at the situation through His eyes and from His perspective. Look to see what you can learn from it. Have a positive attitude that life will change in time. Know what you are going through is just a little bump in the road compared to the bigger picture of eternity.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “ You can either get better or bitter.” This is so true. Be determined to get better and to focus on the positives in your life. These are God’s blessings in disguise. We forget the good when we are faced with some bad. Learn to encourage yourself in the Lord like David did.
Psalm 30:10 – 12 (NKJV)
“Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
6. Don’t try to get even
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t speak evil against them.
1 Thess 5:15 (Amplified Bible)
“See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.”
This is very hard to do I know. If you have spoken evil about someone you have been disappointed and hurt by, ask God to forgive you and to wipe away the words you have said. Be determined to stop yourself when you start to speak evil against someone.
7. Walk on
Get to a place you love people but you are not devastated when they let you down.
Know life will have challenges but be determined to keep going, especially in the middle of a challenge.
Move on and keep going in your life. Disappointments do not determine your future if you have the right perspective and determination.
Walking on doesn’t mean you trust the person who disappointed you. It does mean you are willing to move past it and keep going. If you decide you are giving up, the enemy wins and what is life if you choose to give up? Nothing!
Know there is life after disappointments. Even if the disappointment is a life change, God can make beauty from ashes! Remind yourself that God is bigger then your disappointment. Tell yourself that you trust in Him to guide your steps in spite of your disappointment.
Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)
“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
No matter what you are going through, God is BIGGER!
God is Bigger than our Disappointment!
Your sister in Christ,