I’m dealing with a range of emotion right now as I sit down to write. In general my life is really good. I am healthy, my family is flourishing, and I have a good community. I have gainful employment doing meaningful work in the world. I have a solid church family, great in-laws, and friends who love me.
So why do I feel such disappointment?
Don’t get me wrong. All those things are so important to me. If one of those things becomes off-balance or disappears entirely my life would be much less enjoyable. I would immediately have to rearrange all the other priorities of life to backfill the void left by what’s missing. But even knowing that and seeing how blessed I am, why do I feel like so many of my plans go awry?
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel that in spite of all the good things in your life there are a ton of pieces that just aren’t falling into place?
Maybe you haven’t found a spouse yet. You’ve been single for so long, and your heart’s desire is to be married and have a family.
Maybe you didn’t get that promotion you wanted, no, deserved. You work so hard for the company and then they hired someone younger, with less experience, and now you get to train your new boss.
Maybe that business venture you started hasn’t panned out. You had a great idea, and you found some momentum early on, but you just can’t seem to get others to buy in.
It’s amazing how cloudy my life seems when I focus on disappointments. What would otherwise be a beautiful day to be alive turns into a dreary, grey fog.
So what do we Christians do when we’re faced with disappointment? Focusing on it doesn’t seem to help. Disappointment is like quicksand. The more we struggle in it the deeper we sink. We must grab onto a lifeline if we’re going to make it out alive.
Here are two I’ve found.
Life line 1 – God’s timing is better than ours.
If you have served God for any length of time, you have probably come to a point where you either had to trust God or not. Trusting God is a put up or shut up, poop or get off the pot, kind of relationship. You say you serve God. But why serve him if you won’t trust him to make good on his plans?
Ok sure, he’s a little slow in fulfilling those plans. By slow I mean, it feels like nothing is happening. Like waiting for paint to dry or Congress to help someone. Just kidding. Congress never helps anyone.
Watching God work is like watching my kids grow. All I want is for them to get out of this phase or that phase that annoys me, but it’ll be over before I know it. If I haven’t stopped to enjoy them, to take in the process of them growing, I will have missed the greatest joys of parenting.
So it is with God. As I try to rush him to fulfill my destiny, I’m missing the greater blessing he has. We’re made more like Jesus while we wait.We’re made more like Jesus while we wait. Click To Tweet
Paul says this in Romans chapter 12.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
And this in Romans chapter 8.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
When we take time to get our minds right and we allow God to do things his way, we get a lifeline thrown to us. We hold onto God’s will and trust that he’s working a good plan out that will cleanse me from sin and make me like Jesus.
Life line 2 – My plans are wrong.
I love the first disciples. I’m so thankful for them. They’re easy targets for those of us who read the New Testament. Hindsight gives us the upper hand, and it’s easy to point at them as buffoons who just didn’t get it. But I’m grateful for them because they made mistakes that I make now.
They were distracted by power. Matthew 20:20-28
They were focused on the wrong things. John 18:10-11
And then there’s me, 2000 years “more advanced”, and I have the same stupid problems.
Some enlightened modern Christian I am! So what if I have to wait for that promotion? Big deal. It’ll give me a chance to learn how to lead by influence instead of title. So what if only a few people signed up for that class I’m teaching? A smaller group is more intimate. Bigger is not always better. So what?
All these carefully crafted plans of mine are really just distractions from the larger plan at work in my life, God’s. When I focus too much on my own thoughts, my own desires, my own inclinations I miss the great gift of God’s perspective.
My plans might intersect with his. The desires of my heart might be righteous and come from a place of godly yearning. But the execution is up to God. The desires of my heart might be righteous and come from a place of godly yearning. But the execution is up to God. Click To TweetDo you want your path, your steps to please God? Then point yourself in his direction and let him make your steps firm.
Psalm 37 says this:
23 Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
when he delights in our way;
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds us by the hand.
There’s no promise that we won’t fall, only that when we do, we won’t scrape our knees.
What are some ways you have found to deal with disappointment? Please comment below and share your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading!