How often have you been disappointed this week?
It can be something smaller like the cancellation of long-awaited plans or your spouse forgetting their commitment to help with the laundry. Or it may be something much bigger like the death of a dream, the loss of a job, a shattered friendship or a broken marriage.
The harsh reality of unmet expectations can weave its way into our lives and plant a root of disappointment that steals away our peace.
When we face disappointment of any kind, we arrive at a crossroad of our own expectation and God’s calling for us.
It can be so easy to sit and wallow in the depth of our disappointment.
But this is one of Satan’s greatest deceptions: Causing us to believe that our own plans and expectations are of greater purpose than God’s calling and plan for us.
I have faced some major disappointments in my life. And I have been the one to sit and wallow for days, months, shaking my fist at God and asking, “Why God? Why me?”
But staying in that disappointment causes two major problems.
First, it destroys our attitude and it leads to discontent and lack of peace.
When we allow the disappointments of our lives to overtake us, we fail to recall our purpose.
We aren’t on this earth to get everything we want. We are here to serve and further the Kingdom of God. We are here to bless and to love others.
It is when I begin to allow my own selfishness to grow that I find myself disappointed more and more.
But in the times where I am asking God to fill me with a desire for His will, when I am seeking to live out His purpose and plan for me here, I find that disappointment fades into the background and the peace and content that I am called to fills my soul.
When you find your peace slipping, take a close look at your attitude and your mindset about your life.
Are you expected God to follow your plan above His own? Or are you surrendering your will and your hopes in expectation that His is far greater?
Second, it hinders both the blessing in our lives and the effectiveness of our lives.
When we hold so tightly to our own expectations, we close the door to God’s blessing and working in our life.
When I have been so focused on what I wanted, the expectations that I had for a situation, although well intended, I miss out on the direction that God was placing on my life and therefore I shut the door to the blessing that He had for me in that direction.
And when we do this, we also smother the fire of the Holy Spirit’s working within us. When we are so focused on our own failed expectations and dreams, we lose our effectiveness in spreading the gospel of Christ.
So how do we move past our disappointments and adopt the mindset that God calls us to?
1. Admit your broken expectations and surrender them
There is nothing wrong with having hopes and expectations.
Psalm 5:3, David does just that.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
God asks us to wait in expectation of Him to work, to provide and to sustain.
But it is when our expectations are broken that our priorities surface.
When your expectations or your dreams are unmet, take them to the Lord and surrender them. Remember that God is working for your good and He wants you to be filled with joy and peace.
Don’t allow your heart to hold so tightly to disappointment that you fail to surrender and discover God’s peace.
Give your hope and your dreams to God and He will come through.
2. Ask God to change your heart and your mindset
In a world where Satan is actively working to bring your mindset away from God’s intended peace, we must actively take a stand and ask God to fill our minds and our hearts with Him.
Cry out to God in your disappointment. Ask Him to work in your heart.
Sometimes, my greatest prayer in time of need is nothing more than, “God I don’t want to let go of this dream, but I ask that you would help me to want it.”
God wants to work in you, to renew you and to sanctify you.
Ask Him to help you in the areas that you struggle to surrender. When you ask, He will answer.
3. Trust that God’s plan is greater
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do in our moments of brokenness and disappointment is to see beyond our pain and to believe that there is something greater.
I remember at one point in my life, I experienced an all-consuming disappointment. I was so overwhelmed with pain and sadness and I could see no way out of it. A good friend came and joined me on the cold bathroom floor and whispered words of healing. She said, “I know it doesn’t feel like it, but God has something better for you”.
I didn’t feel it and I certainly couldn’t see it, but I had to trust it.
She told me that life is like a mountain range and we just have to climb over one mountain at a time. One step at a time, we can move past our pain. One step at a time, we can learn to trust that God’s plan is greater than what we hoped for.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. -Ephesians 3:20
God is working in us, He is working in you. No matter how strong the disappointment, how great the pain, remember that our view is so limited, but God sees it all.
He sees the bigger picture, He sees the best plan and He wants the best for us.
4. Finally, Keep Moving Forward.
Take that step forward, even if you don’t feel like it.
It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to not know the ending. But when we rely on our trust in a God who loves us so deeply, we can take a step forward.
If that step feels impossible, reach out to someone who can help you take it.
My friend who sat with me in the pain, also helped me to stand back up. She grabbed my hand, pulled me off that floor and walked with me over that mountain. She helped me find that peace and trust that God’s plan for me is good.
Our friends can help us remain strong in our deepest moments of pain.
God is calling you forward. He is calling you to throw off any disappointment and unmet expectation and to follow Him.
He has abundant blessing for you and He has a good plan for you. Take that step forward today. He is waiting with open arms.