What to do With Disappointments?


What do you do with your disappointments?

I've been thinking a lot about disappointment lately. 
I'm wondering what is a biblical response to feeling disappointed? 

I feel disappointed. On a small scale, sometimes I'm disappointed with my kids and the silly, foolish or wrong choices they make. On a bigger scale, sometimes I feel disappointed when I consider the losses I've experienced in life. 

I've experienced infertility and miscarriage. I'm disappointed in some ways at how my life has turned out, as it relates to those areas. 

Then I think of other people I know. 
I consider the disappointment that people feel when they are divorced, especially when it was not their fault. Or I consider my friend Michele who is a leg amputee. What disappointment she must feel at how her life has turned out and what doors are now closed to her. 

Is it ok to feel disappointed? 

I read somewhere that disappointment is what we feel when we consider the gap between what we hope for and the reality of what is. I liked that definition. 

I think the answer to disappointment is two-fold: perspective and gratitude.

Perspective. Realizing that there are a million other people on this planet who would trade places in life with you in a heartbeat. Perspective reminds me that although I am disappointed with an area of life, there is more to life than that area. Perspective reminds me that this life isn't all there is anyway. Eternity will last far longer and be far better than the best earth has to offer. I can wait for that!

Gratitude. Gratitude reminds me to give thanks for what I have. Yes, I've lost children to miscarriage, but I've also birthed 2 healthy children and have the privilege of raising them. Though my family isn't the way I dreamed it would turn out, it is blessed nonetheless. I can move my eyes from the few disappointments to the millions of blessings, changing my focus from what I don't have to all that I do have. 

The conclusion I've come to is this: it's ok to feel disappointment. It's normal and it's part of grieving when it's a major loss. What's not ok is to continue to live in that valley of disappointment. To camp out there, to set up home there and decide that disappointment is what defines me. 

I feel disappointed. Some days, more so than others. Yet, I will simply walk through that valley and walk back out. I will not choose to live there permanently. Perspective and gratitude urge me onward. 

Have you experienced disappointment in your life? I'd welcome your thoughts on how to deal with it.


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