Dealing with disappointment

Working really hard and giving your best effort in an attempt to carry out a plan or to meet a goal for someone else can end in negative feelings when the other person doesn’t seem to understand or value our contribution. We are disappointed. There are times when we honestly feel we have followed the orders or instructions we were given only to have them change in midstream. We wanted the person or people to see it our way or to at least give verbal acknowledgement to the fact that we tried.

A relative or family member gets their feelings miffed because they misunderstand a word or deed and blame the outcome on us. Maybe we did not speak as kindly as we could have, or did not respond to an invitation or attend an outing as they feel we should have done. We are disappointed. We wanted to please everyone and simply found out that there were not enough hours in the day, finances for the expense, or a real desire to dress and leave our comfortable homes.

A financial investment does not turn out the way we planned. Money is lost or not made and we began to worry about the future. We are disappointed. Someone else got the promotion at work we thought for certain was ours, or the boss praised a coworker when you had done much more work. We are disappointed.

A child we love so dearly makes a decision that we feel is not in his or her best interest. We are disappointed. Our parents suffer frail health and seem to need more and more care. We are disappointed that our lives are not a happy as we once thought that they should be. Even our homes fall into disrepair and need constant care and investment. We are disappointed that we cannot keep up on all fronts. Our own health takes a turn for the worse, and we surely didn’t expect that. A dear loved one dies or becomes incapacitated. We become disappointed. Our vehicle that we hoped would last a while longer develops costly issues that are not in the budget at this time. We are disappointed and frightened.

Could we add other ways and means to this list about disappointments that we all suffer from time to time? They perhaps would take on different subjects, but I think we can all agree that disappointments come no matter how well we plan and organize, and pray and work. Disappointments are a way of life. How we deal with them when they come is what we should be focusing on to make certain they don’t bog us down and wear us out — literally.

I looked into the eyes of a nice young man today and saw weariness and disappointment. Asking what I could do to help unleashed an abundance of small, continuing disappointments that were threatening to take over his life if he did not gain control over some of them immediately. What can we do when we are disappointed?

First, we must see what part we have caused in the disappointment. Could we have done something better or more carefully or invested more wisely? Could we have attended that function that angered the family member by our absence? Could we have better taught the child who made the bad decision and spent more time with him or her? Admitting and owning our failures is usually the first step toward correcting them.

Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power — a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment. David was said in Scripture to “encourage himself in the Lord.” Disappointments help us to know what we are truly made of and how well we can use our assets. There are times when we must learn to adjust our expectations and not try to be Superman or Superwoman. We have to change our courses and trim our sails. We learn from our disappointments some say much more than from our successes or happy times.

Another wonderful truth that comes from disappointments is the value of true friendship. Our real and valued friends come forth during our disappointments to hold our hands and hear our hearts.

And we learn to trust God more. We lean on the One that will always be by our side no matter what. He has the answers and is waiting for our call. He said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” You can bank on that.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.