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Learning From Disappointment

CC photo courtesy of Celestine Chua via Flickr
CC photo courtesy of Celestine Chua via Flickr

Have you ever wanted something so bad that your body ached in anticipation? You may have wanted a new love, that great new career or the fulfillment of your dreams. Even worse, have you desired something so dearly and believed you would get it, only to find that it was snatched away from you at the last minute? This is the moment where the fulfillment of dreams becomes elusive. We wonder if we will ever have our heart’s desires completed. In the end, will we truly get what we want?

In your lifetime, you will likely do this dance with disappointment a number of times, and the challenge is to not grow faint in heart. God is faithful, and we will have the fulfillment of our greatest dreams. In fact, God does not give us dreams without the means to carry them out. The problem is timing. God has a perfect plan, and He often doesn’t share the details because our opportunity is to grow in a deeper relationship with Him based on a foundation of trust.

We have to walk by faith and not by sight. On a fleshly level, we may ache with the desire to have companionship and new love if we are single, but the timing of that new love is all within God’s most treasured plans. The Lord is never late and is always on time. In fact, God weaves together amazing details. When we see the final results of His plans fulfilled, we are in awe as He covers the fulfillment of our needs we may not have even realized we had at the time. God is perfect and knows all! The difficulty is that our flesh aches with desire, wanting something so badly, and instead of controlling this pain, the discomfort grows as we wonder where, how and when God will make our dreams happen.

We are dancing with the shadow of disappointment, and if we don’t stand strong, that disappointment will grow into discouragement as we begin to believe that God will not fulfill our greatest desires. In the most intense moments of discouragement, we may ask, “God, are you even there?”

Rest assured, God is there, and He is at the helm, steering the ship of our lives according to His perfect plans.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says: “He has made everything beautiful in its time”.

As a result, our frustration is one of timing and questioning. When will these desires be fulfilled?

Remember: God will plan a better life for you than you can plan for yourself. He knows all, so our opportunity is to be patient and wait while He fulfills His perfect plans.

Five Tips for Managing Disappointment

Tip #1: Have Faith!

Remember that God does not give us dreams without the means to carry out those dreams. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

Tip #2: Remember that God’s timing is perfect!

The Lord is never late, and He has a plan. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Eccl 3:11

Tip #3: God’s plans often don’t make sense in the beginning.

God is under no obligation to share His plan with us, so our opportunity is to wait on God, for Him to move our circumstances. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5

Tip #4: Frustration is a normal part of the process.

To wait is to suffer on a fleshly level. How much we suffer is up to us. In fact, the degree of our faith that things can and will get better nullifies the pain. In other words, sometimes the more faith, the less pain. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

Tip #5: Remember God gives us His best.

What we think we want and what we need may be two different things. Thank God for disappointments, because with disappointment God is really clearing the way for better things to come along. The Lord wants to give us His best, and if our hearts’ desires are not fulfilled, then it is because He has something better planned!  

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:9-11

About Cathy Patterson-Sterling

Cathy Patterson-Sterling is a Christian counselor with a counseling ministry called Real Life Tool Box. She is an author, speaker, wife, mother and friend. Through her counseling ministry, she offers more than 50 e-learning audio play courses to help people grow in faith and have their healthiest relationships. She is passionate about helping people find freedom from fear or other emotional strongholds that are holding them back from living out their greatest potential in God's plans for their lives.
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