A Christmas with no significant other, empty arms where a child was “supposed to be,” loss of a loved one, job, or the little disappointments that can come daily…sometimes several times a day. Haven’t we all faced disappointments, often times more than we feel like we should.
I’m preaching to myself this morning…let me just be real for a second here. Disappointment, in the past…and I am fighting it presently, sends me into a tail spin (think…tears, chocolate, sitting in the same spot for hours staring into space, or just staying in bed). I have faced it this year more that I wish I had…and I like to think that I have gotten better at handling it. In reality, I don’t know that that is entirely true. But in the midst of this year, I have created a list of things that seem to help.
1. Prayer: Often times, for me, this praying consists of questions. I can’t help it. When I don’t understand why something happened I want to know why. I want to know what His plan is…Why He thinks that bringing me though something painful would bring Him more glory. Praying isn’t always easy when we are going through trying times. There was a time this year when I couldn’t do it. My disappointment was so big that I didn’t even know what to say to God. It is during times when you feel you can’t pray, that asking your community to pray for you can help you keep your head above the water. Personally, I know it was my community praying on my behalf that kept me persevering. God is always good…He is always there…Always waiting for you…Always ready to embrace you and sit with you in your disappointment. And in time…In His time…He will give you insight into your trial.
2. Create a toolkit: In a little journal I have collected scriptures, song lyrics, helpful quotations from bloggers and authors that have made a huge difference. I add to this journal every time I see read something or hear a song that gives me hope, makes me feel like I’m not alone, and reminds me of God’s power and love. Sometimes I copy what friends or family have written to me in cards or emails. And when disappointment comes…like it always does…I go to this journal and drown myself in hope and encouragement that has helped me during trying times in the past. I recommend getting a toolkit (either digital or a journal)! It has been a blessing to me!
3. Connect with your community: Not all people can handle sitting with you in your disappointment and sorrow. Not all people, know how to say the right things. I often think finding friends to talk to can be one of the hardest things to do when I am disappointed. I think most of us are smart and insightful enough to comfort ourselves with all the cliche anecdotes…if those things helped we probably wouldn’t need to go to friends and we could recover by ourselves…am I right? Pick your community carefully. Those who can sit with you…sometimes in silence, and sometimes just with a listening ear. This friend or family member doesn’t need to fix it, and maybe they need to be reminded of that…they just need to be with you in your broken heart. And hugs are the best!
4. Don’t dispair, rest, and when you are ready, work again: Has being hard on yourself ever helped you cope with disappointment? Why not be kind to yourself? Take time to breathe, gather yourself, take a walk, relax, drink an extra cup of coffee and have some chocolate. It is ok! And when you are ready, and life seems doable again…even just a little…do it. Keep doing life, keep living to give God the glory…you have to keep living to see how God is going to work all this out for good. right? Find something to pour yourself into and thrive in it. Because despite the disappointment…if you are still on this earth, God still has work for you to do!
5. Practice Gratitude: This isn’t easy…it is hard to be sad and think of positive things at the same time. It takes some time to get to the point of being able to do it successfully I think. But it is possible. Look around you and thank God for His faithfulness in the past and how He will be faithful even in your disappointment. Despite your situation, God has placed innumerable blessings in your life…joy is found when we see the blessings for what they are…gifts from God.
Being joyful isn’t what makes your grateful, Being grateful is what makes you joyful. – Ann Voskamp