Getting Used to Disappointment

Sunrise

 Every since I was a child, I’ve had an unnatural aversion to disappointment. I’ve never handled it very well. Not just my own disappointment, but other peoples’ as well.

I remember reading a story in school about literacy in which one of the characters is disappointed by something. This incident was far from being the crux of the story, but to this day I can’t think about it without feeling near physical sympathy pains.

Well, earlier this week, my husband and I were disappointed. Two very promising job leads failed to yield call backs, even with my husband nailing his interview. I knew when the opportunities first arose that it was either the light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train. It turned out to be the later and I didn’t take it too well.

In the midst of my ensuing hissy-fit, I learned a few things about myself. First, I learned that I was angry with God. I moved to Houston, leaving many of my most valuable relationships behind, with the understanding that I would receive compensation. So far, my sacrifice looks like a needless waste.  

But God is God, and He can do whatever He wants with my life. I’m called to obedience, not for my glorification, but for His. Obedience is in itself the reward. So I have no right whatsoever to hold a grudge against God or behave like He’s holding out on me.

So I repented of those grudges and discussed it with God during my prayer walk the next morning. It was then that He corrected me further. Up until now, I’ve been praying and seeking to be drawn closer to Him and to better imitate Him. But my motivation is all wrong. I’ve been looking at this season of my life as a time where God wants to grow me and teach me. But since it’s not the season I want to be in, I’ve been rushing through the lessons not to learn them but merely to graduate from them.

I’ve been striving for stronger faith so that I can move on to a place where I don’t need to trust Him.

I’ve been trying to learn patience so that I don’t have to wait anymore.

I’ve been drawing nearer to God not to be near Him but because I want the blessings I think are coming if I do.

I was forced to ask myself the question, if all I got out of my ‘sacrifice’ was a strengthened relationship with the Lord, would I consider it well worth it?

Even as I was repenting for the honest fact that I would not, in the back of my head I was thinking, “Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the lesson He wants me to learn that will unlock the blessings.” Oh boy, I’ve got a ways to go.

But what does any of this have to do with disappointment?

For me, disappointment stirs up a bevy of strong emotions. Because those emotions come straight from my heart, they give me a unique look at where my heart is. It’s an attitude check.

If I hadn’t experienced that disappointment, I wouldn’t have realized how far off the mark I’ve strayed.

Disappointment is my strongest indicator, but for you it might be a different trigger. Maybe it’s what makes you angry, or lonely, or even happy. Emotions are incredibly useful instruments for telling our heads what our hearts want. They give us attitude checks that allow us to catch a glimpse of where we are with the Lord.

If I had been seeking Him first, and just for the sake of my love for Him, I wouldn’t have been concerned about how the interview came out. If I hadn’t been harboring grudges against Him, I would have been much better able to trust Him with the outcome.

I still don’t like disappointment and probably never will. But from now on, I’m going to view it as a tool and use it to check that my heart is right before the Lord.

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About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

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