There have been times when the disappointing turns in my life have been a neck-wrenching 180 degrees–like when I was just sure I would get a teaching job in Killeen, Texas when I graduated from college. There were dozens of positions open. The lady interviewed me and turned me down flat. She told me those kids would eat me for lunch.
(Why? Because I was disguising my early 20’s by looking like I was 14?)
Sometimes there have been minor disappointments, like the time when I was planning to make a lovely dinner but spent two hours at the Verizon store instead.
Regardless (or irregardless, my husband would say just to annoy his English-major wife) of the magnitude of the disappointment, I’m learning to react by mentally taking a walk through truth.
Ten Truths for Handling Disappointment
“You are not your own; you were bought…” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV) It’s not your life anymore.
You are not a civilian. (2 Timothy 2:4 NIV) Civilians choose. Enlisted personnel wait for placement and are expected to go where they’re told.
God’s plan trumps yours. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)
God has prepared, in advance, good works for you to do. (Ephesians 2:10) Maybe you thought you knew what those good works looked like. Maybe you were wrong. But they’re still ahead of you, even if they look seriously different than you had imagined.
God’s main concerns are his glory and your continued progress toward maturity. (Psalm 24:7 and James 1:2-4) Probably this miserable turn of events in which you find yourself is going to achieve both of those things.
You are called to fulfill God’s purpose. (Romans 8:28) His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose. His purpose.
God is working for your good. (Romans 8:28) Lovely verse, until your plans fall apart and you have to decide if you really believe this statement or not.
Meek people are the happiest. (Matthew 5:5) Meekness is being so convinced God is good to you that you refuse to argue or push back against what he is doing in your life.
You don’t know everything. (Isaiah 55:9) What seems awful to you might be a step toward a rich end.
God loves you. (John 3:16)
When I’ve been disappointed I’ve asked the Lord if I may please have permission to cry hard for an hour. It hurts–when things don’t go the way we hoped. The pain is real. The stress on our minds and bodies is wearisome. But we have a responsibility to get our thinking about the situation aligned with God’s perspective.
It’s a spiritual discipline, to think correctly about our life circumstances.
And I have been meditating on the above 10 truths before life changes, too. When I am waiting to hear news about something, and I know it may not turn out the way I hope it will, I work through this list, often out loud, until I feel peaceful.
That’s the result of truthful thinking, you know. Peace.