What if… we managed our disappointments better?

IMG_3646Exam results; pressures of work; the weather; illness instead of that lovely planned holiday (me over Christmas and New Year); we’ve probably all experienced disappointments during our lives. Some will be much more draining and go deeper than others. Sadly, some of our disappointments can leave their mark and effect our behavior for a long time.

According to the dictionary, disappointment is ‘Something or someone that is …  not as good as you had hoped” (Collins English Dictionary). The key issue is right there. It’s not simply about something not being like we had planned or hoped for but it’s the very fact that we had placed our intended satisfaction or happiness on a thing or a person. Things and people will often turn out to be not as good as we had planned for. ‘Things’ and ‘people’ aren’t dependable or reliable.

God is though.

If we look to Moses again, trying to carry out God’s mission of freeing his people from slavery, Moses must have experienced massive disappointment. When he spoke the words of God to the Israelites, that God would free them from their slavery, they didn’t believe him. (Exodus 6:6-9). Their discouragement and subsequent disbelief caused Moses to be disappointed in their reaction and also his abilities and so when God asked him to then go and speak to Pharaoh he was really unsure of himself. How could he possibly do that if his own people didn’t even listen to him?

Disappointment is a little like fear itself; it leads us into inaction and looking inwards, at ourselves, rather than looking outwards beyond our own circumstances.

God wanted Moses to look beyond his own abilities and look to him. His ‘faltering’ voice was of no consequence to God. God knew all about his voice and his questionable skills and abilities. It would, after all, be God’s action and not Moses’ that would bring God’s people out of Egypt.

If we imagine disappointment in a child, we can see their little shoulders go down, their heads hang. What good are we in God’s mission if we are spiritually and physically turned in on ourselves? We aren’t ready to partner and neither will we be ready to see what’s needed beyond our own diminished world. We’re not going to change the world by dragging our heels and looking at the floor.

We are called to rise above the immediate satisfaction in our circumstances and to look to God and to rely on him for our contentment. Disappointment dulls us, causes us to doubt ourselves and to question our calling, but God knows what his plans are. Let’s not allow disappointments to dull any of God’s plans for us.

Prayer or reflection

Please help me to see the bigger picture. Let me rise above the disappointments in my circumstances and find contentment in you.  Help me to look up and stand straight, and not to be weighed down by people or things that might distract me from God’s purposes.

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