Living Through Life’s Disappointments: Practical Lessons I Have Learned

photo(4)The sun was setting as Adam and I dropped Kyla at the Grammie & Grampy’s house and headed off for our weekly “date night.” We were looking forward to spending a couple of hours together. After a long week of work for Adam, this would be the first meal we had eaten together in several days. We teased each other and laughed lightheartedly as we drove through town and decided on a restaurant. Settling into the booth, we hungrily placed our orders. Then it happened. The phone rang. I could tell from the look on Adam’s face it was his work. He was on call, but fairly certain he would not be needed. Besides, we had passed the normal time they would have called him in. I mouthed, “Is it work?” and he slowly nodded. The waitress happened to be right there, and overhearing his conversation, asked if she should cancel our order. We sadly said yes, grabbed our things and quickly headed back to get Kyla so Adam could go in. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to be hurt. We really needed this time together. Then all at once, I was reminded of another time when I was so angry that Adam got called in to work…

It was Monday, February 4. The day of the valentine’s sweetheart banquet at our church. The date had been planned around Adam’s work schedule, so we could actually go for the first time since we were married. We were helping with the setup and the program. It was going to be a special night. When Adam got the call from work that day, I was livid. After all the planning, he had made a mistake in scheduling and didn’t realize it until it was too late. Oh, I was mad. It seemed like such a big deal.  The next day, I found this note from Adam. I was still mad and I left it sitting on my nightstand. But exactly one week later, my anger over the incident evaporated. Tuesday, February 12, I found out our baby that I was carrying had died. As I walked in to my room that night and collapsed on my bed in anguish, I saw the note once again, and I felt a different kind of anger. WHY had I cared about a silly banquet so much? Why had I allowed a simple mistake to come between us? I didn’t even know that our baby was about to die. How could I have been so ridiculous? There were much bigger things in life. I felt stupid, short-sighted, and dumb. I screamed and cried out loud as the reality of true disappointment – death – set in. In that moment, my whole scale of reference changed. Our world – our definition of disappointment – was changed forever.

Tonight, as Adam dropped Kyla and I off at home and grabbed his work clothes, I felt the frustration try to set in. But this time, I remembered what real disappointment looks like. Once again, our lost dinner at Chili’s seemed like not too big of a deal.

I still keep this note on my nightstand where I can see it, reminding myself not to get so upset about minor plan changes. It also reminds me that disappointments, hurts, and frustrations are all a part of human life.

When they come, they can be irritating, painful, and even devastating. They can be annoying, or sometimes, life changing. Here are a couple things I have learned to help me through life’s disappointments.

1. Keep it in perspective. It’s easy to lose sight of the important things of life and put too much weight on things that don’t really matter.

2. Don’t waste emotional energy on the mildly annoying disappointments. Save it for the difficult times that will require serious perseverance.

3. Remember that disappointments are unavoidable. Some hurts are a part of life.

4. Know that you are not alone. God has promised to never leave or forsake us. Even when no other human being can understand your pain, He can. He cares and He will walk with us through life’s greatest hurts.

5. The raw shock of deep disappointment will lessen. Though some losses will never stop hurting, you will be able to breathe again.

5. Look towards eternity. This life (with it’s pain) is temporal, but eternity is forever. For those who have chosen life in Christ, a perfect, whole, joyful eternity awaits.

I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you handle the disappointments of this life? How have different hurts or losses changed your perspectives?

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