Disappointment. I like the way Wikipedia describes it. “Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest.” That “feeling” becomes compounded if disappointment comes our way all too often. In Proverbs it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Been there? I sure have. Several months back, I decided that this heart couldn’t handle any more disappointment. And then something dawned on me.
I was feeling disappointed because what I had expected to happen had not happened. What I had hoped the outcome would be was not the outcome. I was disappointed about several things in my life. It’s fairly easy to start out hopeful, determined and motivated. When my three year old starting having seizures at four weeks old, after the initial fear wore off, I was able to muster up faith and courage to hold him through it. He went fourteen months without any seizures and my heart was satisfied, joyful, and relieved. After months of normalcy, seizures resurfaced and resurfaced with a vengeance. That was in January of 2011 and we are still fighting back. After each reoccurrence and each failure of a treatment, disappointment would start to creep in. I had even set expectations for how God was going to heal my son and WHEN He was going to do it. When my expectations weren’t met I was left disappointed…my hope deferred and my heart became sick. I found myself incredibly frustrated, crying more than I have ever cried in my life. I don’t really like the phrase, “when it rains, it pours.” It seems a bit pessimistic, but I will buck up and say that last year, it poured. Our lives were flooded with crisis, failures, defeats and massive disappointment. Sob story? Not trying to create one, but I am sharing a very real feeling and state of mind that I hear so many others deal with too…especially in the area of how a woman perceives herself, her external beauty and her success at reaching health goals, losing weight or lack thereof.
Disappointment can come and go, but what do you do when disappointment, hopelessness and frustration seem to be the most familiar emotions of your days, weeks and months? There are several things that I could speak to on this (like not believing the my way is better than God’s way). I’ve been in this “school” for the last year and am hoping a few things I’ve learned will stick. For this post, I want to share one thing that helps to wash away that feeling, that really yucky feeling of disappointment. If disappointment happens because our expectations weren’t met, then maybe our expectations need an adjustment.
When you get on the scale and don’t see the number you were hoping for. Or when you try on your favorite jeans and they don’t fit like they did last winter. Or when you’ve tried so hard and everything you do seems to lead to failure or lack of progress. How does it affect you? Disappointment? The question I’ve asked myself and am encouraging you to ask is “why do I have to have that expectation met?” Why did I expect to fit into my jeans when I just had a baby? Why do I expect the scale to say a certain number when it doesn’t mean a darn thing about who I am? Why do I put more value on a scale number than on how fit my heart is? Why do I expect my body to look a certain way when I say and believe that real beauty is internal? Yeah, those questions. Hard questions, but really good questions to answer. I am guessing that if the answer to those questions could be adjusted to a different expectation, there’d be less disappointment and more re-appointment. Reappoint your time, thoughts and efforts towards things that really matter. Reappoint value to things that are most valuable…like who you really are, not what size of jean you are wearing.
The next time disappointment makes it’s way into your vulnerable heart, reappoint your expectations and notice how your heart starts to heal. The second part of that verse in Proverbs goes like this, “Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” I’m not saying don’t dream big. I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim high. There’s a difference between being in a state of expectancy (expecting big things for your life, expecting positive change, expecting God to use all things for your good) and having high expectations. Dream big, but dream with values in the right spaces and places.
Failing helps us determine what doesn’t work. It helps us discover our limits so we can exceed them. They reveal our weaknesses so we can surrender and ask God for strength. I’ve learned to be really picky when I use the word failure. Sometimes, it’s not so much that I’ve failed, it’s that I’ve found and discovered some truth which gives me tools to do whatever I’m setting out to do even better.
I’ve been limiting my sugar intake…sort of. There was a birthday on Monday and I enjoyed a cupcake. That was it. Then, it was my son’s birthday on Friday. I made a chocolate caramel poke cake. I won’t describe it because it will make my keyboard sticky with drool. I had one smallish piece on his birthday. Then, had another smallish piece the day after followed by a few fork fulls later that night. My fork seemed to find it’s way under the foil today and dug a few holes in it again. Did I stick to my goal of having a treat only two times this week? Nope. Do I consider this a failure? Not really. It’s not because I’m one of those who just extends myself grace for every mistake I CHOOSE to make. It’s because I’ve learned a few things along the way.
I’ve learned that I should be happy that I haven’t been having any sugar on MOST days when in December, I was having at least one sugar treat almost everyday. That’s a big improvement. I have also learned to acknowledge good choices found around the same time frame. For example, the birthday party also included candy, lots of candy. I did not eat a piece of candy…not a one. Good choice by me! I made chocolate chip pancakes for the birthday kids in the morning. I did not have pancakes OR chocolate chips, but instead, made myself a protein shake. I LOVE pancakes…with syrup and peanut butter. I made a better choice for myself. I’m proud of that.
What I’ve also learned is that dessert sitting on my counter is a like a drug addict putting drugs in her sock drawer and saying “it’s not mine.” If it sits there, I will likely touch it. After many years of being a professional dessert connoisseur, I’ve learned that I like it too much to have it sit in front of me. So, I try not to have desserts that I like just sitting around. I like to call this lesson a “fail forward”. I used my “failure” to push me forward into better success by understanding myself, acknowledging good choices and then setting myself up for success when I can.
I will not let a “failure” stop me in my tracks or derail my progress. I will use it to gain forward momentum. I am still going to limit my sugar intake this week. The cake will not be sitting on my counter and I am ready to make healthy choices.
Here’s a little “gettin’ naked” secret…I have had times where I have set goals, been super strict, had a moment of weakness and then beat myself up over it. I’ve even lost sleep over a dinner that I thought I shouldn’t have eaten. I’d get up in the morning, put on pants and SWEAR I grew overnight. Sounds so silly to type that out, but I am betting I am not the only one who has done this in one way, shape or form. No more. It’s highly unlikely that you will gain weight from a moment of weakness as long as we “fail forward”.
I got on the scale this morning. I am two pounds down from last week. That tells me that my calorie amount that I set for myself is perfect (I should only lose 1/2 pounds to two pounds/week). It also tells me that my cake did NOT go directly to my hips and I am still headed towards my goal. I got to have my cake and eat it too
Ok, friends. This is a serious one. We’re going to have a heart to heart. You up for that on a Sunday morning? Watch this video first.
I love the poem shared at the end. Chills.
We’re fighting fat talk. How about encouraging beautiful talk? Have you told yourself that you’re beautiful? When do you feel beautiful? Find out. Explore it. Write it down, say it out loud, repeat it, repeat it, repeat it and don’t forget it. Sing it until it sticks.
I’ll do it first then you do it. It’s not easy for me. I am a “maximizer”. I like to take something and make it better. So, when I look at myself, sometimes I think, “How can this be better?” I promised you and promised me that I wouldn’t say I had imperfections and flaws any more. I have promised to fight fat talk. But, now, I feel like we should also promise to start “I Am Beautiful talk.” So here it goes.
I feel beautiful when my young boys tell me I look pretty, smile and touch my hair.
I feel beautiful when I catch my husband staring at me while I’m getting ready and when I meet his eyes, he smiles with adoration.
I feel beautiful after I dress up, walk into a room with my boys and they whistle, say “whoa!” and “wow!”.
I feel beautiful when my toes are painted.
I feel beautiful after I get my hair done.
I feel beautiful when I take care of me…my heart, my soul, my body.
I feel beautiful when I take care of my family and my friends.
I feel beautiful when I smile and laugh and spill with joy.
I am beautiful…with stretch marks, cellulite, pimples, scars, extra fat…my body has been the home to 4 beautiful children. My body has performed a miracle four times.
I am beautiful.
This post is short and sweet because I’m sending you off to do some inspirational reading. I have found that when I am discouraged, needing motivation, distracted, stressed, overwhelmed (fill in the blank for any other negative emotion) there are two things that God uses to “speak” to my heart: someone’s words in writing and music.
I’m sure you have been taking care of your body in this New Year. You and I have been looking for small steps that will make us healthier people. But just like the saying eludes “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, there’s so much more to you than your “cover”. If I focus too much on my “cover”, it seems to lead me astray in so many ways. I have never found that focusing on my body, what I eat, and my health goals 24/7 to lead me to happiness. If anything, that much focus can lead to discouragement and selfishness.
What I am saying is that feeding my soul is more important than feeding my body. I have needed some good soul food lately and I am reading something(s) everyday. God’s words are always the words that do life change, but I wanted to share some of my favorite inspiring reads from the last week that spoke to me. Maybe they will inspire you too.
This isn’t a “read”, but it’s a short video about a woman who took a challenge to go to the gym 100 days in a row. She documents how she feels by video clips for those 100 days. Watch her transform (not just in body, but in her heart.) Very inspiring.
Mamas, the next two are “must reads”. The first is a beautiful description of how our body allows us to transform into the miraculous role of “mom”. She shares about the “lightning bolts” on her sides, the caved in belly button, the gain and loss of weight and the miracle of life. The second post accurately describes the incredible importance of being a mom. I have struggled with not valuing that role the way I should. This gave me a good “jolt” to my heart. I needed it. I think every mom needs it every now and then between the spit up, throw up, talking back, temper tantrums, yelling, fighting, sassing, no sleep and constant serving.
We’ve all heard the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. This woman shares just the opposite with a message of hope and a reason WHY it feels like we have too much to bear at times. If you are overwhelmed with your life circumstances, this read is for you.
This writer has such a unique style. She is creative and poetic, but seems to have the wisdom of an 80 year old. She is humble and honest and her writing gets me every time. Loved her focus on what the most important skill of life is.