Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What if...we knew how to deal with disappointments?

Recently, I have been grappling with a series of disappointments. And it has not been easy. I’ve come to realize that disappointments occur when we feel that our expectations were not met. We were holding on to the belief that something was when in reality it is not. One of the arenas where disappointments can cause the deepest hurts is in relationships. Friendships, in particular, can go sour when there is disappointment. Disappointments in friendships usually stem from betrayal, when friends show a side of themselves that we did not think possible.

In theory, we should know that betrayal is just another manifestation of human behavior, and humans are not perfect. Therefore, in our in our state of human imperfection we will fail others and others will fail us. Yet, on an emotional level betrayal hurts – it cuts deep.

We wonder how we could ever look the other person in the eye again? We create scenarios of meeting them in a hallway, on the street, or a party. We wonder what to do in case of sudden encounter? Should we act “normal” and smile and greet as if nothing happened? Or, perhaps we should quickly turn our faces and pretend that we hadn’t seen them at all?

If that were not bad enough life itself offers its own series of disappointments. There’s always something trying to rain on our parade. Sometimes a regular “soaking” can cause us to become discouraged and dispirited.

If we knew how to deal with disappointments then we would know that they are temporary, and sometimes they are even necessary. While we cannot negate the pain they bring into our lives, there are lessons to be learned. Perhaps that is the way to deal with disappointment – stare it straight in the eye, and ask God: What lessons would you have me to learn from this? That divine revelation alone can help us to begin to heal.


Randee said...

This morning I received this devotional from Os Hillman from Prime Time With God. May you all be richly blessed by this beautiful promise of God.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. - Psalm 126:5

The most difficult place to keep moving in faith is the place of extreme pain. Extreme pain, especially emotional pain, can become immobilizing to the human spirit if it is allowed to overcome us. The psalmist tells us there is only one remedy for overcoming painful circumstances that will result in joy. We are to sow in the midst of these times. You cannot do this if you live by feelings alone. It is an act of the will. This act requires that we go outside ourselves in pure faith.

I learned this principle during one of the deepest periods of my life. I had lost much that was dear to me. A mature man in the faith admonished me to reach out to others in spite of my own pain. "Invest in someone else," he said. I did not realize what a place of healing and comfort that would become.

"He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (Ps. 126:6). Pain can become a source of joy if we take the first step by planting seed. There is a harvest that will come if we sow in the midst of tears.

Anne said...

Randee and Norka - beautiful. I learn so much from all you women who show me new ways of seeing things in God's love letter. How grateful I am for you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response, You hit it right on the button. Investing in others does heal. I've learned that. Through it all, it has been the opportunity to be of service that has brought me to a place of healing.

Shalene said...

Hello again. I've done some soul searching the last few days, and I know on one level that a large part of my depression stems from my disappointment that I can never go back and show my mom how much she means to me, and I can never go back to change so many other things. However, I also realize, as I stated in another blog comment, I wouldn't change any of it, because those things brought me to where I am. I could never have reached out my hands to God, if He had not shown me that without Him, my life was going to continue to be the closest I could imagine to Hell. Too many times, we allow the deceiver to "promise" us rewards for our lifestyles, when really he's bargaining for our souls. I thank the Lord above every day, that I opened the door just that tiniest bit, so that God could step in and save me from myself, and my own disappointments in myself. What a joy to know now, that I don't resent my childrens' existence solely because they kept me from ending my own life. Now I can love the fact that God put them in my life, challenges and all, to save me from myself and from the great deceiver. I remind myself of this every time I am disappointed that I'm not getting what I think I deserve, or have earned. So many times we forget that not one of us deserves the grace and mercy that God has bestowed, and because of this, we are expected and called to bestow that same mercy and grace upon others. Even when they disappoint us. You can be guaranteed that someone will disappointment you sometime, and probably even everyone will disappoint you at least once. Unless that someone is God. He may not give what you want, when you want it, but it's only because what you want is not what's best for you. He will always do what He says, and will always say what he does.

Shalene said...

I guess I forgot my original point... :) and that was that throughout my life, extreme pain has been my companion. It became part of me, and was almost a welcome part of me. Sounds strange, but it's true. When things weren't going wrong, I made them wrong, so that I was back in a situation that felt "normal" to me. Now that I can see with the clearer vision of God given grace and mercy, I know that this pain, that I still carry, but to a lesser degree, is what God has given me as a means to reach out to others. I wouldn't wish any of the bad things I've been through on another person, because frankly, most would have gone much crazier than I have (ok, not a very good joke, but not entirely a joke either.) But knowing that with God's help, and this is the ONLY WAY, a person can make it through all disappointments in humanity, no matter the culprit, causes me to want to get up and march in the streets to share with all, even if it means saving only a few. Because it's true, that only by sowing, will we truly find joy. (Even if we have to struggle to see it, while we're here on this earth.)

Lori Arriaga said...

So true, in order to find healing from the pain of disappointments, we must stare it straight in the eye, and ask God: What lessons would you have me to learn from this? as you said.

I do my best to always remind myself of that because that is really the only way to get through the disappointments in life and remembering they are only temporary and that there is a lesson to learn from everything.

Randee, that scripture had baffled me in the past but the more trials I go through that scripture makes more and more sense to me because it does bring songs of joy when we know we can use our pain to help others.

Shalene, bestowing mercy and grace upon others is really what loving others is all about isn't it?

Randee said...


I am so blessed by your posts. That response that you speak of in looking coming back to "normal" is powerful.

We each have our own set of perceptions that become our reality. The problem is that they are only perceptions. As the matter of fact, I tend to lean towards the idea that only God and His Word are reality. Everything else is perception.

Yet, we still get "stuck" in defining our lives, value, relationships, etc by these deeply imbedded perceptions.

Thank you for your courageous post...again.