Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making Peace with Disappointment

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Disappointment is inevitable in life and some people get more than their fair share I believe.  Sometimes you have very little control over what life will bring to you: difficulty, loss, unexpected setbacks.  My aunt is dealing with a serious illness for which there is no cure.  She's been in and out of the hospital and is back in the hospital now as I write this.  To say that she is disappointed with life would be an understatement.  In life you can't avoid disappointment.  You can, however, decide how you are going to respond to disappointment when it comes your way.  Everyone has this ability.  Even when you feel you are at your weakest, you still have the strength to make that decision.  What you decide will make all the difference even if the external circumstances never change.

My heart is heavy right now; there's no denying it and there's no easy fix for it either.  I don't know what God is up to right now so I will have to stand on what I do know.  If I had to choose one word to describe God that word would be faithful.  I know that God is faithful and it is this truth that I stand on in times like these.  God has proven himself faithful to me over and over again.  I look back over my life and I see so many instances when God has proven his love for me again and again.  When I am disappointed I must remind myself of ALL of the things God has done for me; ALL of the answered prayers, ALL of the unexpected blessings, ALL of the sources of strength, grace and joy I could not produce on my own without God.

Pain often warps our perspective.  If you wake up in the morning and your neck hurts do you think about your arms, your legs, your back and all the other parts of your body that aren't hurting?  No, you focus on what's causing you pain.  In that moment you focus on what's not going well and forget about everything that is!  And sometimes in life when we are experiencing real pain we get stuck in that moment and lose perspective.

I am choosing to see this present time of disappointment in my life as an opportunity to grow deeper in my relationship with God; to rise to a higher level of faith; to learn how to trust God more than I ever have before; to enter a place where my faith is less informed by external circumstances that change and more rooted in the character of God which never changes; to be better equipped to walk with other people through their pain because I've had pain of my own and held onto God through it.  I am not denying that the disappointment is there.  I probably won't be jumping for joy the next time you see me.  Pain is still pain and pain hurts, even when there is a purpose to it.  However, I am intentionally choosing to respond to the disappointment in such a way that brings life: to me, to my relationship with God and to others, especially those who are hurting.  This is what I choose.

How will you choose to respond to disappointment?  May you find the grace, the peace and the strength to choose wisely.

Following The Way,

1 comment:

  1. Good point with the analogy of waking up with pain taking your mind off everything that's working right! I'm impressed with how open you are able to be with your blog, Kevin. Nice to meet you at Mark's barbecue a few weeks' back.