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3 Things I Learned From Disappointment

Photo courtesy of Presidio of Monterey via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Presidio of Monterey via Flickr

Ahh … July!

Summer is in full swing, and the heat is high. I’m enjoying the beautiful, hot days, though, because the winter snowstorms that hit the northeast made winter seem like it was never going to end. As much as I love winter and snow (I’m a Florida native and always wanted to live in the snow), I was ready for summer to come around, with the simple things like buying ice cream from the ice cream truck, grilling my favorite food and spending evenings out with friends and families.

But for the past few months, I’ve also had enough disappointments to make me almost forget about those simple, good things in my life. Why? Because sometimes we just forget that disappointments can come even when life is good.

Have you been there? Have you had disappointments hurt you to the core so much that you almost lost sight of your blessings? Well, these disappointments taught me some very valuable lessons.

First, it’s not better just because you don’t have it. Sometimes disappointment and discontentment come from the belief that the thing you want is better than your current situation. For instance, many singles believe that marriage is better—after all, the Bible does say two are better than one. But the reality is that singleness and marriage are just two different statuses in life. Now, there are some situations in life where your desired situation is better than your actual situation, like getting a job after a period of unemployment. But even in those situations, there’s an opportunity to trust God in a deeper way. It’s also an opportunity to see how He can place people in your life to help fill your practical needs.

Second, maybe it’s time to count your blessings. Did a friend let you down? Did someone you trusted or thought highly of say or do something that left you wondering, “Who are you?” Well, it’s okay to admit that someone you loved, trusted or admired did something that hurt or disappointed you. But don’t hold on to that. Work through your feelings and forgive them. You don’t have to give them the same level of trust as before, but just forgive them. Consider their good qualities and appreciate those. Instead of focusing on the disappointments, consider all the other things God has given you. Some examples are having friends and family, clean water, food or a safe home. There are many people in the world who don’t even have that. Thank God that you do.

Third, take a good look at yourself. Not too long after I admitted the sting of my disappointment, I remembered and accepted that I fall short—a lot. I recounted the times I had done the very thing to that disappointed me so much to others, even if I didn’t mean to. It’s so much easier to give grace where others need it when God shows you how much you need it. That kept me from holding on to the disappointment and taking it personally. It helped me to see that disappointment is just a part of life that we all can get through.

So the next time you experience a disappointment that stings and makes you wonder about God’s goodness or fairness, just know that He loves you and wants what’s best for you. Life isn’t always fair. We don’t always get what we want. It’s hard to watch others receive so easily what we strive for and sometimes never receive. And dealing with the hurt that disappointment brings isn’t really what we want to do.

But God promises to always be there. Give Him your disappointment and He’ll give you a renewed appreciation for His goodness and the many blessings He’s given you.

About Afi Pittman

Afi Pittman is an author and radio show host. She is also an active-duty Navy officer who has traveled the world and lived abroad. Her company, Author of Faith Enterprises, helps today’s single Christian woman to “live right, love life and find Mr. Right.”
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