A few weeks ago, I had a friend ask me: “Why do I always feel so disappointed?”
She was let down. Again.
My heart ached for her in that moment. I have faced many of my own situations like this. Situations in which I have felt anxiety and bitterness rising up in my heart after facing disappointment.
Friends, just as we each feel loved in specific ways, we also feel disappointed in unique ways. And while you and I may have different disappointments, the end result is often the same. We understandably feel crushed and insecure or angry and resentful.
Do you ever feel as if your heart is so heavy from feeling as if some of the people in your life are never who you expected them to be?
Disappointment comes in many unique forms:
A father who walked out on you and your family.
A lost job opportunity.
A son or daughter who never wants to come around.
A broken foster system that didn’t make the right choice.
A friend who rarely shows up when she says she will.
A husband who failed you.
These are all very real and very difficult things that have the ability to take a toll on our confidence, our identity and our joy.
When I am disappointed or let down, I have the option to lash out. I could end the relationship and live with resentment in my heart. I could break down over the lack of control that I have in a situation. And gosh, there have been plenty of moments in which I want to choose this response.
But in those same moments, God gently presses on my heart and whispers softly to me: “Lindsey, don’t act. Just pray.”
So I do. “God, thank you for being a God who never disappoints. Thank you for being faithful and loving, despite the many times that I have failed and disappointed you. Please reveal the issues in my own heart before I begin throwing stones at others. I’m tired and hurting. Please take my burden and replace it with Your peace.”
And He answers.
Over time, God has shown me some practical ways that are helpful to me in overcoming disappointment. I pray that they are just as helpful for you today!
1. Define your expectations out loud – to others and to yourself.
You may be surprised to find that some of the people that you expect a lot from may not have agreed to those expectations in the first place. Yet, the only way that you’ll know that is to voice those expectations with clarity and gentleness while allowing them to respond to your expectations.
(For example: As a friend, I feel that I can trust that you will show up when you say you will. Do you agree that that’s a fair expectation of you?) Voicing these expectations out loud may help to bring clarity for you as well.
2. Don’t allow yourself to be surprised.
There comes a point when we have to stop allowing ourselves to be shocked when other people sin against us. This includes our spouses and our kids. Yes, it really sucks. And it hurts. But we are all sinners. When we place people on a pedestal, expecting them to be God to us, we count on them to be our source of happiness and peace. But they are imperfect and are bound to fail us. They were never designed to satisfy that longing in our hearts.
3. Do everything that you possibly can.
One of my favorite verses Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacably with all.” I love that this verse is clear in saying that it might not be possible. Sometimes people aren’t willing to resolve a situation. But you can ask yourself: have you done everything that you can to work out the issue that has caused disappointment in your life? If it is a situation in which you have zero control, are you fighting to forgive rather than fueling the fire of anger in your heart?
4. Know when to let go.
Is it time to let go of the bitterness and resentment that you’re facing? Is it causing more harm to you than to the person who disappointed you? It often does. Or do you possibly need to move forward from the relationship for a season in order to heal? Do you need to surrender justice to God and trust that He will take care of it?
Pray through the process of letting go. God sees you. He hears you. He counts the hairs on your head and takes notice of every tear that falls from your eyes. Trust His guidance in your life.
And in the moments when none of this works, because practicality only gets us so far, lean on these verses:
Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 55:22, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Isaiah 40:28-31: “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
This article originally appeared on sparrowsandlily.com. Used with permission.
Lindsey Maestas is a Christian, a wife to an incredible and loving husband and a stay-at-home-mommy to the happiest, most-energetic little boy, Sutton Rylee. She received her degree in Journalism and has had a passion for writing since she was a little girl. Lindsey began Sparrows + Lily to remind moms, wives, students, employees, dads, husbands and families that they’re never alone. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter or visit her blog at sparrowsandlily.com.
Image courtesy: Pexels.com.
Publication date: April 28, 2017