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.