5 Steps You Can Take When Faced with Disappointment
When everything seems dark, look to Christ and strive to be more like him in every trial.
Your family is fighting a war against itself. Your spouse falls into adultery. Your child goes wayward. Your best friend betrays you. You suffer injustice. Your womb is still barren. Your engagement is over. You lost your job. You never won that trophy.
The world is full of disappointments, brought on by many different painful experiences and emotions. Your dreams are shattered and hopes are gone, with expectations left unfulfilled. This seems like the opposite of hope and joy, perhaps seemingly sending you to look backward with despair, resentment, anger, depression, and bitterness. It does not matter how optimistic of a person you are – you cannot escape disappointment this side of heaven.
If the world is so full of disappointment, where do we find hope? How can we recover from it?
First and foremost, be ready for it. Have a realistic attitude toward the world in which you live, knowing that some measure of disappointment will inevitably come your way. Being prepared for the reality that you will eventually be let down will help you to not be swept away or shaken when it comes. This does not mean you should live with an attitude of pessimism or defeatism – just be a realist. Know it will come but still rejoice in the goodness of God, delighting in him and know that you have a sure foundation to rest on when it does come.
Share your feelings of disappointment. Talk to the Lord about how you are feeling, being completely transparent and honest, casting your burdens on the Lord, knowing he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Share it with others too. Reach out for help, asking your brothers and sisters to share your weight of disappointment.
Humble submission is the best way through this trial, rather than arrogance and fighting. There is nothing to be gained by taking vengeance into our own hands on our disappointers, while we shake our fist angrily in God’s face. Instead, we should confess to God that we are angry and ask him to help us to believe this is for our best (Romans 8:28). This does not mean justice should never be pursued if we are wronged, but it gives the administrative hand over to God, who promises he will handle vengeance in his own perfect way.
Be Mindful of Christ
Remember our Savior knew deep disappointment during his walk on this earth. His disciples continually left him; all forsook him and one even betrayed him. He can support you and sympathize with you – look to Hebrews 4:15. He sticks closer than any brother and will not leave or forsake you.
Be Willing to Grow
Allow your periods of disappointment to be a means of growth for yourself in service and sanctification. Serve others by ministering to those around you who are disappointed and use your pain to encourage you to do your best to never disappoint others around you, growing you more in the way of Christ and into his likeness.
And above all, do not lose hope. Remember that even when earthly hopes are gone, you still have a heavenly hope that no earthly disappointment can take away! What a peace we have as believers!