The fun and laughter were over. All the friends had gone home. I went to my room, shut the door, and heaved a big sigh.
Disappointed was the perfect word to describe me in that moment.
Things had not gone at all like I expected. I sat there in my room and wallowed in my disappointment, allowing myself to become upset and frustrated. My mind began to fill with negative, critical thoughts towards those who had disappointed me.
This past week I was faced with several disappointments and failed miserably in dealing with them. God opened my eyes to see how I had wrongly allowed my disappointment to consume me.
Here are a couple of truths He used to help me handle my disappointment:
1. Expectation matters.
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5
Many times we are guilty of placing our expectations on people or circumstances. Then when people don’t do what we expect, or the circumstance doesn’t turn out the way we wanted, we naturally find ourselves disappointed. This was me this past week! I had big expectations, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem was that my expectations were in all the wrong places.
Expectations placed anywhere but in God are misplaced. And misplaced expectations will always result in disappointment.
But when we learn to place our expectation in God, instead of disappointment we can experience peace. Peace in knowing that our expectations are held by the One who will never disappoint us.
2. Your response is your responsibility.
In the disappointments I faced last week, I felt completely justified by the way I was responding. I felt that the disappointment had given me the right to an angry, negative, critical spirit. But the truth is: disappointments never ever give us the right to wrong emotions.
While we can’t always prevent people or circumstances from disappointing us, we can choose how we are going to respond to them.
Our response should be controlled, not by feelings, but by the Word of God.
This does not mean that we won’t feel hurt or upset; but that, regardless, we choose to align our feelings and consequently our actions with the Word of God.
Instead of responding with a negative or complaining spirit, choose to accept whatever disappointment God allows into your life. It’s never easy, but I believe that when we learn to respond to disappointment with a right heart attitude, God will give us the grace not only to accept the disappointment but also to grow through it.
3. You can’t see the bigger picture
God works in ways that we can’t see. And, yes, He can use even disappointments to accomplish His purpose. We have to learn to trust what God is doing, even when we don’t understand. We have to trust that through the disappointments we face, God is accomplishing His purpose. Trust Him because He is God. I promise there is a bigger picture you can’t see.
Do you remember the story of Leah in the Bible? She was forced to marry a man who did not want or love her. (Gen. 29) In fact, he was in love with Rachel, her younger sister! Wow, talk about disappointing!
Jacob had worked seven years for Rachel, but through trickery ended up married to Leah instead. Because he did not love Leah, Jacob decided to work another seven years in order to marry the girl he really wanted.
As we read the story in the Bible, we can see the sister rivalry and feel the desperation of Leah to be loved and accepted by her husband. Many times she cried out to God to give her a child, hoping that through childbearing, Jacob’s affection would be turned towards her. But it never happened. Six sons and a daughter later she still had not succeeded in earning the love of her husband. Imagine the disappointment!
Even though she suffered much disappointment in her lifetime, we see that God had a distinct purpose in her marriage to Jacob. Did you know that it is Leah, and not Rachel, who is in the lineage of Jesus Christ? God chose Leah to be a part of the lineage that would day bring His own Son into the world.
Know that God is working right in the middle of all your disappointments. He has a purpose, even if you can’t see it yet. Don’t let your disappointment blind you to that. Remember, He’s promised:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
How do you choose to handle the disappointments that come into your life?
Because the way you choose to handle them reveals your true heart. It reveals where you’ve placed your expectations, but it also reveals if you are truly trusting God or not.
Disappointments are a fact of life, but we can learn to handle them in a way that is pleasing to God. Let’s make the decision to face disappointment with our hope in God, a right heart attitude, and faith in God’s bigger picture.