I’m becoming more aware of how influential disappointment can be in my day to day life. It started with the birth of my second baby. No, I was not disappointed in the girls…I felt like they were disappointed in me, or that I was disappointed in myself. No matter how hard I tried, I felt like I was letting one (or both) of them down. You see, I expected to be the same the type of mommy I had always been to my firstborn, and to recreate that same type of mommy I had been to my first, for my second. Instead, we had to redefine “mommy” as well as “toddler” and “baby.” We had extreme growing pains but our new relationship is beautiful.
Here’s another instance: my poor husband. Whether I’ve had a draining day with the girls, or an exhausting night with the baby, I expect my husband to read my mind. To anticipate my every need…like extra sleep, or some alone time, or to pick up food because I didn’t make dinner. And when he doesn’t? I’m disappointed, he’s frustrated, and we’ve only seen each other all day for five minutes (sorry Babe).
Or for those of you unmarried or without kids, I’m sure you can relate to this one: not getting “picked.” Maybe you got passed up from a promotion you were expecting to land (I mean, you were next in line!). Or maybe you didn’t get that job (although you nailed that interview!). Or you found out some friends got together without you (even though you were probably busy anyway). If I’m being painfully honest, I’m still struggling with the disappointment of aiming for an AMAZING goal and rank advancement back in August, that despite working my tail off, I just missed…Or even more recently, not being included in a performance I expected to sing in.
How does disappointment affect us?
- It can kill our entire day – If something goes wrong with my kids, it’s easy to say “this is the worst day” even if it’s only 10AM and the whole day still lies ahead of us! I’m trying to take those thoughts captive and say “there is plenty of time to turn this day around.” Listen to music, read a quick Bible verse, grab a small snack…essentially REBOOT. If I’m inside, I find an excuse to pop outside, like checking the mail or going for a short walk. If I’m outside, I head inside for a quiet moment to catch my breath. Whenever you feel disappointment creeping in, don’t let it ruin the day… you have no idea what God has in store for you later, but you won’t find out if you nurse that sour mood all day.
- It can kill a relationship – Your friends left you out? Disappointment breeds bitterness. Your husband missed the laundry basket AGAIN? Bitterness. Your boss is oblivious to how hard you worked over the weekend? I think you get the picture. The problem with bitterness is it turns us to stone. We become cold, distant, expressionless and seemingly emotionless. No one wants to be around us when we’re bitter. It’ll drive marriages apart, dissolve friendships, scare your kids, and possibly cost you your job. Take care of that disappointment before it solidifies into bitterness. As uncomfortable as it ALWAYS is, you have to talk about it. Tell your boss, friends, husband and kids why you’re disappointed. Only when we try to bury it and “deal” with it on our own does it harden our hearts to those around us.
- It can kill motivation – Think back on my example above about my failed rank advancement. Did I make huge strides that month and continue to grow every month after that? Absolutely! I’ve reorganized how I promote my business and I’m seeing some of the biggest paychecks I’ve ever had! But when I focus on my disappointment instead of my victories, I feel so unmotivated. I struggle to do my daily tasks or stay on top of communication with my team and potentials. I mean, what’s the point? Or that performance I didn’t sing in? Makes me want to quit singing altogether. Dwelling on disappointment is a great way to get stuck in a rut. And in all honesty, the only person you are hurting by quitting is you. Everyone else will move on, but you will be forced to deal with the consequences of your decision.
So how do we try to prevent disappointment in the first place? There is a word I repeated in each of the examples at the beginning of this post: expect.
Most of the time, we have to deal with disappointment because of unmet expectations. And honestly? They are often unrealistic expectations! For instance, when I was a new mother of two…was it realistic for me to think I could be as hands on with my toddler as I’ve always been while snuggling 24/7 with my newborn? Absolutely not! It was only after I realized how unrealistic I was being, that my disappointment subsided. And when I could see clearly again, I recognized that just because one, or both, of my girls was crying, didn’t mean they were disappointed with me. It simply meant they wanted my attention and would gladly take whatever I was able to give them.
Expecting my husband to read my mind and meet my every need? Completely unrealistic! That’s not his job…that’s His job. I don’t know why it’s so hard to actually ask for help, but, since I have an amazing husband, if I did ask, he would help in a heartbeat! Grab the baby? Done. Go pick up dinner? What would I like? Let me sleep? He’s taking the girls to a park. Communication is key to dispelling disappointment.
But those times when our expectations ARE realistic? Like that getting that promotion or bonus? Or being invited to that play date or drinks with the girls? Those are a little harder to get over. But again, it’s our choice what we do with it. Let it harden our hearts and turn us towards bitterness? Or talk about our disappointment and choose to move on.
I pray you choose (and I choose) to put your disappointment behind you and move forward, away from bitterness. When I struggle, I love turning to the Bible for comfort. Here are a few verses that help me heal from disappointment:
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11
- “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” -Psalm 30:5
- “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18
- “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” -Psalm 55:22
- “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” -Psalms 27:14
- “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” -Psalm 118:24
What are some ways you choose to deal with your disappointment?
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
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