Ah, disappointment. It’s one of those feelings that we have at some point in life, and they can hit us hard in certain seasons. Maybe it’s a relationship that didn’t work out or you lost something or someone meaningful, or in my case, you didn’t get the job you wanted. Disappointment, or dissatisfaction with a failed expectation, can hurt and take you down a roller coaster of emotions.
But that’s not the Father’s intentions for us. He desires to mature us in the faith and to make us more like Him, since we are His beloved creation. Before we get into the core scripture for this post, here are some practical pieces of advice on how to turn disappointment into hope.
What is the source of your dissatisfaction?
Ask yourself what caused your dissatisfaction and what are the sources of your expectations? Are they from outside factors like family pressure or colleague competition? Is it an internal expectation that you have for yourself and you’re blaming yourself for not being where you think you should? There is a root to those thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it’s rejection or an orphan spirit. Other times it’s repressed anger. Find the source of your dissatisfaction by looking at the standards you feel you failed.
What is your initial reaction to disappointment?
It is shock or sadness? Anger or frustration? Disappointment can look different on many of us. Consider what your initial reaction is and how can you healthfully acknowledge that emotion while taking a step back to allow God to pour into you. When I am disappointed I get frustrated and antsy. I am learning to take a breather and deal with these emotions with patience and grace. It’s not easy but being aware of it now helps me move forward.
How to not stay in the state of disappointment
You can have these feelings, but you don’t have to stay in those feelings. Maybe God is using this moment of disappointment to show you any unrealistic or unhealthy expectations that you are carrying around in your life about yourself and others. Surrendering your feelings to God is a great way to relieve your burdens and cares to someone who can take on what you are facing.
Ask God for a perspective shift in prayer. Don’t let one moment of disappointment stagnate you from progressing towards your vision, goal or purpose. With a godly perspective shift, you can look at the disappointment as an opportunity for growth, as related to our scripture today:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT
If we look at verse 5 again in The Message version it states: “In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” Romans 5:5 MSG
Through the Holy Spirit our disappointment that we feel is transformed. We see beyond what we were trying to accomplish or acquire and see things for what only God is able to provide. Instead of possessions we have peace, instead of position we have favor. Instead of a spouse (right now) we have contentment. It took a couple of weeks to realize that my disappointment would be eclipsed with the promise of something better. No matter how long it takes, don’t lose hope.
Are you feeling disappointment in this season of your life? Don’t stay there long. Ask the Lord to renew your strength and don’t dwell long on what could have been, but remain steadfast and confident in God’s provision to supply something better, just for you, in His timing.
Share a time that you’ve been disappointed; how did God get you through that moment?
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