Since returning from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, my days have had more twists and turns than Disney World’s Thunder Mountain.
On my ride home from the conference, I could barely see the ground for all the clouds. Two weeks later, I was sniffing dirt.
Two weeks after that, I was back to downing coffee, tweaking chapters and polishing an introduction, only to dust the dirt off my dreams once again. I think the word disappointment sums it up pretty well.
Somehow I feel like I’m not alone.
Disappointment is one of the most common emotions we experience. A dream job fizzles, friends let us down, or life simply takes unexpected detours. One doesn’t have to look far to find unmet expectations.
And yet, it’s what we choose to do with this disappointment that determines our next steps, and even our future.
“Don’t ever let today’s disappointment cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dream.” – Unknown
From Genesis to Revelation, we read of the disappointed. Moses, David, Rachel, Hannah, and poor Elijah was so downhearted, he asked God to take his life. Disappointment can dim our perspective, resulting in long-term discouragement, the too-early release of a ministry, the loss of relationships, depression, etc.
Perhaps it’s my own struggle with depression that alerts me to its danger, inspiring me to remember the following. I hope in some small way, it will help you too.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Imagine telling a friend to “get over it” when the disappointment is so new it cries when spanked. So why would we treat ourselves any differently? I gave myself three days:
- Day 1: Embrace the numbness. It tends to clip the heels of disappointment.
- Day 2: Engage in prayer.
- Day 3: Write down the next right thing to do and the specific steps required to move forward.
This structure proved helpful for my situation. Obviously, there are no time constraints for the grieving or 1-2-3 formulas for deeper disappointments.
Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t devote the first day to prayer? It’s not that I wouldn’t or didn’t want to, but in a way, I couldn’t. Numb is numb. Instead of beating myself up for it (which I’ve done in the past), I embraced it as tightly as I did my heavenly Father’s love.
God knows the time required for filtering our emotions down to the point of an offering.
PRAY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
On the second day, and the following few, I noticed how my prayers were laser-focused on writing. Such as, What can I learn from these experiences? How should I proceed with the book? Should I proceed with the book?
There’s nothing wrong with these prayers. And yet at that moment, I realized my focus was more on the writing and less on the Author. I paused, thanking God for reminding me that He’s not nearly as interested in my writing as He is with me, His daughter. It’s my heart He desires above all, not my fingertips.
REMEMBER, GOD WASTES NOTHING
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
It’s this truth I cling to above most else when struggling with disappointment. When spitting dirt, it’s hard for us to imagine how God might use such an experience for good.
But the kingdom of God specializes in the redemption of dirt. Jesus spat on it to create mud that healed the blind man in John 9:6. Nothing is wasted when God is in the mix.
You know the words that linger in my mind but have yet to be spoken.
Nothing I say, think, or feel catches You by surprise.
You know me full well…and love me still.
Transparency is a glorious privilege. Every speck of disappointment, confusion, and frustration is not only heard but also received, and molded into glory.
Take all my expectations, Lord — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Tuck them safely beneath Your authority,
the only place where they find true purpose, redemption, and rest.
My disappointment quickly faded and I’m now working on new projects. Every word is for His glory regardless of the type of book that holds them. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d still climb into the rollercoaster because some lessons can only be learned from a heavenly perspective.
- How do you handle disappointment? Please share in the comment section. Encourage away!
- If you’re the one struggling today, know that I would count it a privilege to pray with, and for you.
- Or maybe you know someone who would be encouraged by this post. Feel free to forward it and/or share.
Thank you for stopping by!