For the past few weeks I thought I had the chance of a promotion and a much-needed raise. When I learned that it was not to be, after all, I was disappointed. At first, I was more than just disappointed. I felt as if something had been snatched away from me. While struggling with my negative feelings I tried to console myself with the fact that I had not really lost anything. I realized that I still had everything I had before. All that was missing was the hope of “more”.
Disappointment over unmet expectations can hurt and feel like an actual loss. It is important to acknowledge the disappointment and move past it with a heart full of gratitude for all you do have.
Some people try to protect themselves from disappointment with a shield of pessimism. Their philosophy is, “hope for nothing and you can’t be disappointed”.
My mother tried to protect her children from the pain of disappointment by admonishing us not to get our hopes up. She would often say something like, “well, it would be nice if that happened, but don’t count on it.” In the name of pragmatism she tried to keep us from setting our sights too high. She didn’t want us to have to deal with failure or disappointment. I don’t know what painful experiences molded this attitude in her, but it took many years for me to unlearn her teachings and lose my fear of failure.
My sense of hope was resistant to her advice, though. I still expect glorious things to happen, so disappointment sometimes ambushes me.
Faith, hope and love…three of God’s sweetest gifts and each one leaves us vulnerable. If we don’t have faith we don’t have to struggle with doubts. If we do not love, we are not exposed to grief. And if we never hope we can’t be disappointed.
Hope, and anticipation, can be as pleasant, or even more pleasant, as possessing what we long for. Sometimes the reality is less fulfilling than the dream.
If we are hoping and praying, but not getting what we pray for, then our disappointment may be the result of God’s perfect will. Our cherished hope may be for something we are not ready for, or may actually be harmful for us to have.
There are many books and articles written about the positive role of failure in achieving success. Failure…trial and error… is a step in the process of growth. The same is true of disappointment.
Never be afraid to hope. The pain of disappointment is a necessary step in the process of spiritual growth and accepting God’s will.
So have faith in God’s love.
Try new things, even though you might fail.
And cling to the hope we have in Christ Jesus, the hope that will never be disappointed.