September 15, 2022

3 Ways to Deal With Disappointment

We just have to live long enough and all of us will face disappointment at one point or another. 

Disappointment comes in different shapes and sizes and can’t be measured on a human scale as the pain it carries varies from person to person. You get divorced. Your friend rejects you. You don’t get accepted to the school of your dreams. You don’t feel supported in your endeavors. You got a bad doctor’s report. The list is endless. 

When one thinks about disappointment, a rush of pleasant emotions isn’t typically what follows. 

Just the thought of what has been endured usually leaves a sting in the soul that irritates the heart like salt would a wound. Wanting so desperately to forget but seemingly being unable to silence the broken record of your pain as it plays songs of despair and bitterness. 

The reality of the situation is that as long as we live in this fallen world, disappointment is inevitable. It does not matter how many positive thoughts you give yourself over to on a daily basis or what practices you religiously follow; disappointment is a part of this human experience. 

I mean let’s think about this for a second. 

Jesus did say that trials will come. He guaranteed it. 

But He also instructed us to take heart because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

So what do we do with it?

How do we move forward when we feel like life has let us down? 

Or what do we do when we feel that God has let us down?

The one thing I do know is that the enemy to our soul wants us to dwell in the disappointments of life and paint a picture of a grim and hopeless future which is the opposite of the life God has gifted us in Christ Jesus.

So I guess the better question is how do we as believers take heart when we are met with the inevitable reality of disappointment and trials?

I want to exhort you with 3 things you can do when facing disappointment. 

Be honest.

Don’t Forget.

And Submit. 

Be Honest

As believers, there is this unspoken expectation to always be “on”. 

It is almost like we feel like we aren’t representing God well when we are going through disappointment or any experience that isn’t positive. 

The first step to dealing with disappointment is, to be honest about where you are with God because talking to the Lord is the first step to healing. 

We see throughout the Psalms, words of lament that lay out plainly the psalmist’s disappointment without the need to withhold anything from God. 

“Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you;  turn your ear to my cry. I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.” (Psalm 88:1-4)

Being raw before the Lord is not only liberating but it’s releasing our burdens to the only One who has the capacity to carry the weight that will undoubtedly crush us. 

While honesty with God should always be first, honesty with others should always be next. 

God has gifted us a family when we enter into the body of Christ and encourages us to lean on one another in times of trouble.

“ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

In our culture today suffering in silence is something that is the norm but in the body of Christ that should be far from us. Healing not only comes from confessing to the Lord but also from confession to one another. 

James exhorts us in this way, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (5:16)

Don’t Forget

When we are in the brunt of it, it’s so easy to think that we are the only ones going through our present trial but it is so important not to forget that Jesus knew disappointment long before we ever did. 

Taking heart and sitting in a posture of remembrance and knowing that we have a High Priest that not only knows our suffering but meets us in it brings an unspoken comfort that is beyond what words can describe. 

When disappointment is tempting you to give up or turn away from the instruction of the Lord, never forget that  “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15).

While Paul was encouraging the people of God to go to the throne of grace with boldness where they would receive mercy, this scripture reminds us that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not looking upon us in our disappointment without empathy; He gets it. 

Don’t forget that our Lord knows how it feels to be forsaken.

Don’t forget that our Lord knows how it feels to be denied.

Don’t forget that our Lord knows how it feels to be betrayed. 

When we become intentional in remembering that we are not alone in our disappointment, we give room for the Lord to support and sympathize with us in the midst of our frustration and pain. 

It’s not only important to remember that the Lord has been there but it’s just as important to never forget that He will never forsake us and like Proverbs reminds us,

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (18:24)

And that friend is, Jesus. 

Submit

Submission. Ahhh. It’s our favorite word, right? 

The natural human response to disappointment is the desire to seek justice or gain understanding but unfortunately, we may never get that which we seek on this side of heaven. This is where submission comes into play. 

Last year, my cousin went through the most unthinkable tragedy of her life. She carried her baby to term and upon the time of her due date, she stopped feeling her son move in her womb. Later it was discovered that there was no heartbeat and she had to deliver her lifeless child while experiencing the pain of labor and knowing she her son would not be coming home with her. 

Why would this happen?

He was wanted.

She was prepared for him.

She believed in God and loved God. 

It made no sense. 

With unanswered questions, an empty womb with equally empty arms she left the hospital with a heart full of sadness, anger, and disappointment. No amount of praying, consoling or attempts to bring hope would do; all she could do was submit. 

Submit to the sovereignty of God.

Submit to the justice of God.

Submit to the wisdom of God.

As hard as that is, we all have three options in the midst of disappointment. 

We can seek vengeance and justice against our offenders for ourselves. 

We can blame God and stay angry with Him.

Or we can submit to God’s sovereignty and trust that He will seek justice on our behalf.

Does this mean that whenever we are wronged it is wrong to seek justice? No, but we must seek justice in the order of God and hand over the task to those God has appointed to carry it out. 

We are not to remain embittered, unforgiving, and spiteful as that would be us seeking justice for ourselves. 

Submission releases the weight and allows you to live in freedom even as you process the sting of what has transpired against you. 

Prayer

If you have or are currently experiencing disappointment, I encourage you to pray this:

“ Lord, to say I understand how this could be done or how you could allow this to happen would be a flat-out lie. I am hurt. I am angry. I feel betrayed. Even in my lack of understanding, I choose to believe that you are good and I choose to submit to your sovereignty. Even in the midst of my pain, I choose to believe that you know what is best for me and I ask you to comfort me in my time of need.”

  1. Lymari Bocanegra says:

    Thank you for this reminder. My mom passing away six months ago was so hard because I had a lot of questions that were left unanswered. I wanted her to meet my future babies . She was my best friend. The disappointment and pain of not having her anymore was real! It still hurts like crazy. Thank you for redirecting me to not forget, submit and continue praying!

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