Dealing With Disappointment

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. UGA lost to Bama in the SEC Championship game. I’m proud of our boys. I think we played a great game. And, hats off to Bama for beating us fair and square.

I’m not depressed. I’m not down on my team. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. So close. One game away from a shot at the National Championship. So yes. A bit disappointed.

This small disappointment got me to thinking. How do you deal with disappointment in life or in ministry? Are there steps that you take? Is there an approach you use? Is there a strategy you employ?

Let’s face it. Life can be full of disappointments. How can we learn to deal with the disappointments and press on to what God has in store for us?

1. Discover the source of the disappointment. First, you have to determine why you’re disappointed. Why have you faced this specific disappointment? Is it spiritual? Is it financial? Is it marital? Is it church-related? Is it family-related? Don’t just ask what you’re disappointed about – determine why you’re disappointed. I have discovered that many of my disappointments come from a heart that is not completely settled or satisfied in Christ. If this is the case, pray about that and make it right.

2. Direct the course of your thoughts. It is easy to dwell on your disappointments. But believe me, you can’t live in that neighborhood. It’s located on a dead-end street. Direct your thoughts away from your disappointments to the promises of God. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Now that’s great advice when learning to deal with disappointment.

3. Determine the right plan of action. There comes a point when you just have to do something. Stop hosting your own pity-party, get up and dust yourself off, put your big-boy britches on, and do the right thing. When you dwell on disappointments you make smaller issues seem large. You make minor issues seem major. When you determine to get up and do the right thing, you immediately put your disappointments into perspective. You will be amazed how small your disappointments seem when you finally stand up and start stepping in the right direction.

4. Delight yourself in the Lord. I believe that many times the reason we are consumed by our disappointments in life is because we have lost our spiritual focus. Disappointments only seem larger when God seems smaller to you. Take some advice from the Bible. Don’t find your joy in your circumstances. Find your joy in Christ. Psalm 37:4 encourages us to delight in the Lord. My circumstances don’t determine my joy. And my disappointments will not misdirect my delight.

I know we all face disappointments in life. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are minor and insignificant. Others are earth-shaking and life-changing. But through it all, I pray that we will take an eternal approach to the temporary issues of this life. And may we allow God to direct our thoughts, our path, and our delights.