Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

10 Helpful Truths for When Life Disappoints and Lets You Down

  • Meg Bucher Writer and Author
  • 2019 15 Feb
10 Helpful Truths for When Life Disappoints and Lets You Down

“The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)

Whether it’s a self-induced fiasco or an unavoidable catastrophe, we allow our circumstances to hijack our dreams when it doesn’t go the way we expected, or feel we deserve. But we are often so close to victory when we quit.

These setbacks open the door for our faith to backslide. Mistakes mess with our belief in a good God. Obstacles expose our level of perseverance. We let bummers set our mood and downers determine the progress of our dreams.

We know from God’s word that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We will not always know why things happen, but we can always get to know Him. Through Christ, we can embrace a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

What are we supposed to do when God doesn’t open the door we want Him to?

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  • 1. Remember who God is and what He’s done.

    1. Remember who God is and what He’s done.

    “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a

    Remember who God is. Search intensively on finding attributes of His character. Many of us can simply Google “who is God,” and view verse after verse reminding us of who He is.

    Remember what God has done. Prayer is paramount when frustrated with a pause in progress. Seek to remember answered prayers. Not just the direct answers we were hoping and looking for, but His answers. Search for wisdom in His word and pray for revelation and understanding. We never outgrow the discipline to meet with Him each day. There is no shortcut to wisdom and progress but through God’s word.

    Also, remember who God says you are because only your creator God defines you. He says you are:

    - Always forgiven (1 John 1:9).

    - Never loved less (Psalm 136).

    - So loved that He gave His only Son to die for us (John 3:16).

    Jesus faced an unfair death with tears of blood and a mission to defeat death for us, whom He took to the cross by name. God knows who we are and what we’re worth. But do we?

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  • 2. Keep moving forward with what God has given you to do.

    2. Keep moving forward with what God has given you to do.

    “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6)

    Disappointment can cause confusion. When things don’t go our way, we are tempted to close ourselves off and focus on fear and anxiety. When we do, the enemy has successfully confused and isolated us so that he can influence us. Break out of the pit of despair forming overhead and swap it for daylight. Seek someone’s help or help someone else with the gifts God gave you.

    The purpose of our gifts and talents is to honor God. He places people in our lives purposefully. Some of these people need help, and we need some of them to help us. Take a simple inventory of talents, and the people that surround you. Do the next thing God asks or the last one we can recall. Live this day, and like Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

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  • 3. Depend on God’s power, not yours.

    3. Depend on God’s power, not yours.

    “He will be a spirit of justice to those who sit in judgement and a source of strength to those who battle at the gate.” (Isaiah 28:6, VOICE paraphrase)

    In ancient times, the gate of the city was the most vulnerable and important area to protect. In our moments of letdown, when things are not going the way we want them to, fortify the gate and rely on the power of God to meet our work with Holy Spirit power. He is our protector and defender, but many times we put up our dukes to fight, anyway. Let. It. Go.

    Submission means to let go of our agenda in exchange for His.  Our power, knowledge, and strength without God falter and fade when things start to fall and fail. But the strength that comes from God is unmovable, and the resulting joy is sustainable even through ups and downs. We can fortify the gate of our hearts and minds by praying the power of God’s Word over our lives.

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  • 4. Rely on Jesus’ powerful name when you recognize an attack.

    4. Rely on Jesus’ powerful name when you recognize an attack.

    “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT)

    Disappointment can expose weaknesses in our faith and leaves us wide open for a spiritual attack.

    Satan is devastatingly deceptive and is actively seeking cracks to worm into. He will pounce on any opportunity to destroy our trust in the truth God has already spoken over our lives, confuse us enough to forget who we are, and disrupt the peace Christ won on our behalf.

    But Jesus defeated Satan on the cross. There’s no turning back. It’s done. Learn to speak the name of Jesus over every situation in life, both in frustration and triumph. There is incredible power in His name, because of what He has done and who He is. When we feel picked and prodded at, speaking Jesus’ name causes all harassment to flee.

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  • 5. Stop comparing your life to others’ lives.

    5. Stop comparing your life to others’ lives.

    “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

    Comparison kills progress. Instead of comparing our lives with those who seem to have everything we desire without working nearly as hard, remember that everyone is harboring some amount of suffering behind their smiles. No one’s life is perfect.

    Measure success by God’s standards. Loft His voice above all others. A life walked in the pursuit of Christ trumps our want for anything less than God’s will for our lives. He knows our hearts, and His mercy prevents Him from answering our prayers contrary to what He knows is eternally in our best interest.

    In Steve Fuller’s article, he rights our view of what good is: “If God is our greatest treasure, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God.” Let’s not miss wanting more of God.

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  • 6. Find a godly friend who will help you gain proper perspective.

    6. Find a godly friend who will help you gain proper perspective.

    “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

    Sometimes we need help to find the right way. Sometimes we need to be snapped out of stewing on our disappointments. There are good and positive voices there, but in our weakest and most vulnerable moments, seek those who operate in God’s ways.

    We are made for godly community. Leaning into it will take the edge off the effects of doubt and disappointment. Talking about it with a trusted friend instead of turning inward may help allow us to hear what God is actually saying. Find a godly friend. It helps gain the proper perspective.

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  • 7. Trust that God knows what you need.

    7. Trust that God knows what you need.

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    Life isn’t fair. We’re not promised a fair and pain-free life, but we are promised a joy that surpasses all understanding. Training takes us to uncomfortable places. Pain is necessary to get us in shape – to prepare us for what we’re about to endure.

    We don’t realize the full extent of the dreams God has placed in our hearts and planned for our lives – nor the work and preparation it takes to get there. We can’t download a 12-week training plan to get to our God-placed dreams. We just have to trust Him. There will be hard moments and peaks of glory. He knows what we need.

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  • 8. Don’t try to numb with idols.

    8. Don’t try to numb with idols.

    “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches us lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.” (Habakkuk 2:18)

    Idols are worthless representations of things that cannot love us back. They are images that teach lies and are used to manipulate people(NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).

    Some of us turn to shopping, eating, sleeping, drinking, working out, or our jobs to numb the pain of a letdown or setback. We can shift healthy habits into obsessions when running from a painful realty we don’t want to accept. Resist the urge to dull the pain by seeking counsel from everyone but God. Stop and get quiet. Fast to bring focus. If a habit is getting out of control, get help.

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  • 9. Cry out to God in prayer.

    9. Cry out to God in prayer.

    “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

    Some things are not at all fair or right. The world is full of pain, and terrible things happen. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, our faith takes over our verbiage when we cry out to God in prayer.

    Prayer is a paramount priority when we’re frustrated with a pause in progress. It’s a sentiment worth repeating.

    Vent to God first. Not friends, family, or co-workers. He can filter out all of the ridiculous lies we’re tempted to believe in the crushing moment we’ve got our backs pushed against the door begging Him not to close it.

    God is the only one who can right our hearts. People are placed to encourage us, but none can take His place. Excruciating pain blurs our vision. It topples our stability like a falling stack of Jenga blocks. He will take the wheel and magnify His voice above those threatening to disqualify us, but we have to be tuned in, listening.

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  • 10. Do what God says.

    10. Do what God says.

    “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

    Soul work and seeking God’s wisdom won’t turn up nothing. It will plant seeds and water existing roots. James 1:5 assures us God is listening, will answer, and provide the wisdom we need to get through whatever it is were going through.

    It may not be the solution we’re looking for, so we need quiet minds and hearts open to hear the Truth He will undoubtably share with us. God is a good Father. Jesus never leaves us. We are never alone. In fact, we have His Holy Spirit in us when we walk through life clutching to our belief in Jesus as our Savior.

    The power and peace we have access to is more than enough to blow our bummer days out of the water and out of the way so we can continue to walk into His destiny for our lives. If this sounds inspirational, remember it’s definitely a hard road. There are many unknowns, and we hate unknowns. But hold onto Jeremiah 29:11, and know if we woke up to another day, it’s because there’s something to do and someone to love.

    “Megs” writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. (https://sunnyand80.org) Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.”  She loves leading her Monday morning Bible study, being a dance mom, distance running and photography. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Godlen-Doodle … all avid Cleveland Browns fans. 

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