Disappointment is a Good Thing?
- 2006 22 May
I am often disappointed. I am most often disappointed in myself. But occasionally, I am disappointed in my husband, or disappointed in one of my children. I am disappointed in the church, or one of my family members or friends. We have so many disappointments in life, don't we? Well, I have learned that disappointment can actually be a good thing. How is that? Let me explain.
Disappointed in Myself
Disappointment can show us where our focus really is. If I am disappointed in myself, then my focus was on myself. Not a good place for my focus to stay. I only need stay there long enough to know and realize that I am but dust and that only the excellence of the power of God dwelling in me can do anything through me or cause anything of any value to come from me. When I am disappointed in myself - in my mothering, in my teaching, in my lack of ability in being a godly wife or sister or friend - I realize that I have been thinking way too much of myself. I have forgotten that in myself is no good thing. My flesh and my heart fail. There is no one good - not one. But as I yield myself to God, and allow His life to flow through me, then He allows His goodness to be made manifest in me. So I know that if anything good at all came from me - it was His doing. If I am feeling disappointed in myself, it's probably because I drew away from Him, and started looking at my failure, rather than at His victory at the cross. He knows our failures, and He Himself becomes the very strength of our heart.
Disappointment can be a trigger for me to refocus my attention on God Himself, for there is nothing in Him that can disappoint. And there is everything in Him that can calm my fears, soothe my hurts, work out my frustrations, carry my load, and at the same time - teach me of Himself. He says, "Learn of Me for I am meek and lowly and you will find rest for your soul." Even while homeschooling! Imagine that!
Disappointment in Circumstances
Disappointment also comes when we think we know the best outcome for a situation and it looks like that outcome will not happen. We forget the absolute sovereignty of God. We forget that although we plan our ways, the Lord directs our steps. Our agenda needs to be set aside for His. Sometimes we are so set on what we think needs to happen that we lose sight of what is truly important for eternity. If we are disappointed in circumstances, then we may be holding too tight to our little dream of a kingdom. Our kingdom needs to go if we want His Kingdom to come. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done....."
Disappointed in My Children
When I am disappointed in my children it is usually because I have set aside the task of making good disciples of my children and instead am trying to make good students. Disappointment in our children's achievements or lack of them or in their behavior can be a sign to us to stop what we are doing for awhile and make a disciple of that child. Students study. Disciples follow. Allow them to follow you wherever you go and teach them the ways of God and show them how to love those around you as they watch you do just that. Get shoulder to shoulder with them for awhile and you will begin to see a difference in both of your attitudes.
Disappointment in Others
Sometimes disappointment comes because we have in our heads a set of self-righteous, sometimes silent rules that become the line on which all others must walk. We are disappointed when they don't see things our way, or when they don't cooperate, or when they don't measure up, or when they tell us that we don't measure up, or even when they ignore us completely. Maybe they don't even see the line we have drawn yet we hold them to walking that line in our own imagination! Maybe they try to walk your line and keep stepping off. Maybe they purposely run around your line. Maybe they ignore the line and make a line of their own. Maybe you should never have drawn that line.
Disappointment comes when we hold out our own standard for a person and they fall short. Disappointment comes when we desire something from another person and they do not deliver. However the disappointment may come, it all has the same focus. It is an earthly focus on people and not a heavenly focus on God. If someone disappoints you, then you must have been looking to them for something. Let the disappointment cause you to bring them before the Lord, learn of Him and become meek and lowly of heart and find rest. Usually when we are disappointed, we are not meek, but mad. We are not lowly, but haughty. We are not at rest, but are in turmoil. The answer? Yoke up with Jesus and learn of Him. People will fail you, your children will fail you, your family and friends will fail you. You will fail yourself. He will never fail you. Do you know Him in this way? Do you run to Him when you are disappointed or do you lash out or cry out to others? Cry out to Him for He really hears you when you cry. He doesn't just listen, He hears. He hears the hurt and the turmoil and the disappointment and He is ready to say to it, "Peace be still."
If you find yourself disappointed, let that be a flag to you to stop and refocus. Refocus your eyes and redraw your line heavenward. Cry out to God; let Him carry your load. Get shoulder to shoulder with Him and learn His ways. When He steps, you step. Walk His line. You will never be disappointed in Him. In fact, when you are disappointed and you turn to Him, you will find that even the disappointments in life can be sweet because they drew you even closer to the Savior.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Deborah Wuehler is the Devotional and e-Newsletter Editor for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC. (www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com) She resides in Roseville, CA with her husband Richard and their seven gifts from heaven, whom they have homeschooled from birth. You may email Deborah at devotions@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com or leave a comment on her blog at: www.homeschoolblogger.com/devdoordeborah