How to handle disappointment

I usually post about positive things because I hate being depressed, but let’s face it, not everything that happens is happy.

If you’ve seen The Princess Bride you might remember two of Wesley’s lines, one being one of the most depressing in the movie. “Life is pain, highness, anyone who says differently is selling something.” The other, said to Inigo in reply to a question is “Get used to disappointments.” I don’t like either of these two lines, they reflect a view of the world that bugs me. Whether Wesley meant them or not is really beside the point. many a cynical laugh has occurred because on the first one. and even the second is rather dismal when you think about it.

Should we “get used” to being disappointed? it can’t be denied that we are often enough. Our plans don’t ever pan out the way we expect; people make promises to us that the don’t keep; we resolve to change and we stay the same.

Sometimes it takes people their whole life to come to the very obvious conclusion that we are just not smart enough to control our lives. If a person could make money by sitting at home, watching TV, not talking to anybody but the made up characters (we all do that,) then there are plenty of people who would give up on life and do it. But even if they were surrounded by plexi-glass with air conditioning and ready made meals, one earthquake, one bad storm, one disaster… and their whole world would fall apart. We’re really good at building intricate card houses. Even card castles. We’re geniuses at lining up domino bricks in our lives, each activity leading neatly into another; but the more work we go into the more fragile our homes are, and one little blow knocks the whole thing down.

Jesus once used this example: The wise man built his house upon the sand and when the rains cam and the floodwaters rose his house collapsed; but the wise man built his house upon the rock, the rains poured down, the floodwaters rose, but the house on the rock stood firm. Sand may be anything we pick that’s unstable. You can build your house out of the finest materials this world has to offer, but it’s still a house on a bad foundation. Now we seldom build with good materials anyway.

Maybe I’m alone in this but I feel like in America we’ve given up on what really matters. Family and friends are too much work, so we’ve made them a side, and who’s number one? Us and our needs. Who cares about the other guy? Let him do all the work and we’ll get by with as little as possible…and we wonder why we feel like losers who have no joy in their life.

Did we choose this because life disappointed us? As kids, so much seemed possible, we could do anything and be everything, but along the way we found out people expected us to be a certain way. We were compared to other kids and found lacking, so we tried to measure up or we rebelled, neither way seems to have helped. We’re still part of the statistic as adults or teenagers. More so than ever in fact.

Well I hate to break it to you, but you will never be safe in this life from statistics and people who put you in a box. The best thing you can do is to stop doing the same thing to yourself and others. when life disappoints you don’t accept defeat as your inevitable goal. You aren’t a percent, no one can tell you that this is how far you will go and no further. No one except you.

Life is not pain. Pain is a signal that something has gone wrong and is not as it should be. You didn’t always feel it and you don’t always have to. But facing disappointment takes courage folks. In the words of this song:

You believe in freedom, but you don’t know how to choose;

You’ve got to step out of you feelings that you’re so afraid to lose; 

And everyday, you put your feet on the floor, you’ve gotta walk through the door, it’s never gonna be easy;

But it’s all worth fighting for.

You can’t control your life. Period. So stop trying. Disappointment if often the result of false expectations. You had no right to expect your plans to work out if you made them for the wrong reasons and based them on the wrong goal. Your mind can’t figure out life, you can’t even figure out yourself for crying out loud. Your plans are a house built on sand.

The good news is Jesus is the rock. Psalms 138 states “The Lord will work out his plans for my life.” God alone can successfully plan our lives. You may not like me coming to that conclusion, but tough luck, it’s the truth. If it helps, God’s plans for us are way better than our own. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11.) I know someone reading this may scoff, a lot of us have doubted God’s good intentions. To that person I would say this, you don’t even know yourself, you don’t know everything about you house, you car, your neighborhood, your country or anything close to you. But God does. How then can you claim to understand what He is doing? I guarantee that whatever your grief is, it is not what you think. That doesn’t mean it isn’t horrible, or painful, and you shouldn’t grieve it. It’s okay and healthy to mourn over our pain, but don’t be stuck in it, don’t think you see all of it. It takes awhile to get to the point where you can see past you hurt and disappointment, but if, for now, you can at least believe that you will get to that point, then you’ll be okay. I do speak from experience.

If it would also help, know that God feels our pain and is right there with us even when we can’t see Him. He doesn’t despise us for feeling that way, but He won’t pity us more that He should. He won’t lie and say we ought to have set our hopes on anything other than Him. He’s God people, wouldn’t you take that over a house of cards? I hope the answer is yes, but even if not keep watching for more posts, I may be more cheerful in the next one. Honestly though, I do hope this helped somebody. Have a good day–Natasha

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