I’ve struggled with disappointment a lot in my life. This little voice somewhere deep inside always tells me I’ll be let down. It’s a cycle I’ve seen, but I didn’t know why I felt that way. My default response to hope was always, “It’ll probably never happen, but that’s OK.”
Are you nodding your head right about now, thinking you’re glad you’re not the only one who feels this way?
And the thing is, I not only fully believe the Word of God, I fully believe it applies to me! I’ve been amazingly blessed in this life.
So why the struggle?
God recently brought this disappointment thing in me to the surface in a meltdown kind of way. I knew I was melting down over a situation that wasn’t worthy of the attention I was giving it. Nonetheless, disappointment reared its ugly head, and I once again found myself thinking, “I knew it was too good to be true!”
A few days later, my ever-patient Father showed me the root of the issue. He took me to a memory of my childhood where I didn’t get something I wanted. Now, let me take a minute to explain that I was never a spoiled child. I have great parents and was always provided for. We were an average household on a tight budget, so I didn’t have unreal expectations of getting everything I wanted, and that was all OK. I was a content and happy kid.
Still, for whatever reason, I wanted this thing so badly and was crushed and disappointed when I didn’t get it. No big deal, right? Until the enemy wove his ugly lies into the situation. You’ll never get what you really want. I didn’t know it then, but he planted the seed of disappointment in my heart, and I saw that expectation played out throughout my life.
Why is disappointment such a formidable weapon of the enemy? Once this lie is firmly established in our hearts, it oozes into every crevice of our lives. Disappointment says: I’ll marry him because no one else will ever ask me. I’d love a new job, but who would hire me? She doesn’t treat me well, but it’s okay. Good men aren’t interested in me. I’ll never have a godly marriage. I’d love to get to know her, but she already has tons of friends. I’ll never get over this anxiety.
Are you hearing your own voice saying these things as you read? Yep, I feel you.
Disappointment works against us so well because it pushes us into ourselves and away from God’s plans and promises. It shifts my focus from God’s ability, provision and love for me to nagging thoughts that are all about me and what I have or don’t have.
I believe this is especially dangerous in the relationship arena. We expect disappointment, so we choose to settle, which often results in disappointment. Our experiences reinforce the expectation of disappointment, and we continue to make choices that are beneath God’s design for us. Then, in an attempt to fix the unhappy situation, we make another bad choice, and another, and another.
Do you see the ugly cycle?
The point, of course, is not that we expect to get whatever we want whenever we want it. That’s not real life. Still, be aware; any lie that wiggles in between your heart and God’s truth is destructive.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to destroy every thought and reasoning that is raised higher in our heart than the knowledge of God. Take a moment to ask yourself, “Are my words and expectations at odds with what God says?” Disappointment masks the truth and sabotages the good God intends for us, and we participate in the destruction.
If you struggle with disappointment or anything contrary to God’s truth, ask Him, “Where did it come from? What’s the root?” Once God gives you some insight on the issue, repent for believing the lie of the enemy, and then reject it simply by saying, “I reject disappointment.” Ask the Holy Spirit to replace the lie in your heart with His truth. He is the Spirit of Truth and will lead you into all truth (John 16:13). Take some time to listen as He affirms you. If the lie rears its ugly head again, reject it again. And most importantly, continue to speak the truth of God’s Word! “God, You surround me with love and tender mercies and fill my life with good things!” (Psalm 103:4-5)
Proverbs 4:21-23 tells us, “Keep my words at the center of your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to their whole body. Guard your heart with all diligence, for it affects all of life.”
The issue is always my heart. What do I truly believe about God? My heart must know in the greatest measure His love and goodness toward me. That’s what directs my perspective, my expectations and the paths I choose.
Disappointments will come. That’s life. I’m grateful that the love and truth of God are bigger than life.
“Yet I still belong to You; You are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:23-26)
Let God rewrite your disappointments into stories of destiny. Friends, there’s nothing disappointing about that!