Friday, December 01, 2006

processing disappointment

I was grieved and disappointed over something last evening. What it was is beside the point for this post. I just want to reflect a little on handling disappointment.

Usually disappointment has to do with experiencing loss of some sort of expectation. Of course the expectation can be good and legitimate. And fitting, as in appropriate. But it also can be not good or legitimate for the one holding it. Or not fitting, or appropriate.

In my case I'm very much grieved. I'm not sure what to do with it. I do know that during such times I'm more vulnerable to fall into a mild depression. Or say or do something I may regret later. So what I want to do is simply to bring it to God. And maybe to a good friend or two. And not say or do anything more, for some time. I'm saying now, until January. That will give me plenty of time to get over it. And God can do his healing and necessary work on me during that time.

Waiting on the Lord is an important part of this process. It is a waiting which involves a hope which involves, again, expectation. But an expectation that is open to God's will. Knowing that God is good, and will do good in this, and in every other situation.

What I must avoid is taking matters in my own hands. If I do that, then I've missed the boat. Then I show myself in need of God's correction, for that alone. But if there is something I should do or say, very soon, then surely the Lord will make that clear enough to me, so that I can proceed in that direction, by faith.

One thing I need to keep reminding myself is to be careful around my loved ones, my family. It's so easy to expect more from them than what they can give. They have their own struggles, difficulties and disappointments in life that they too, are processing. I must be careful not to be so all consumed in mine that I forget that. I must confess I failed in that way last evening. My wife is good in supporting me, as I hope I'm good in supporting her (though I believe she is better)- she is a good helper and gift from God. And our daughter is loving and sensitive, as well. They will be an important part of helping me through this.

What thoughts might you have in processing your own disappointment? Or on this subject?


L.L. Barkat said...

Not easy. I have dealt with disappointment in a big way since childhood (with good reason).

Mostly I find that I'm better at handling it when I look inside myself... I ask... "what if others treated me the way I want to treat them right now, based on all my inadequacies and the way I disappoint them?" Ouch. I would be a lonely person.

Ted Gossard said...


Thanks for sharing here.

Probably I wrote this post mostly for me. But trying to think through this subject is good for us. And living through it can help us help others. So I'm all for that.

Thanks for sharing from your own life on this. And your thought, which is good, and so true. Good to think before acting (or not acting) rather than react, as I at times, have done.

Dana said...


Waiting is like brussels sprouts: undoubtedly good for me, but difficult to swallow.

If I can realize in my mind that it's not really something I should be taking seriously, it often helps to get semi-private (meaning, away from people who would think I needed to be committed!) and throw a temper tantrum. The physical exertion gets rid of some of the energy that's been packed in, and after about 45 seconds, I start feeling silly, and I can smile again.

For more serious matters, my treatment of choice is hugs. Hugs RULE. A warm brownie with raspberry sauce and a dollop of ice cream helps, too.

Dana said...

PS: *hugs* :)

Ted Gossard said...



Nice solutions.

Sharon Brown preached/proclaimed/shared a wonderful message yesterday to us on WAITING. It is such an important part of God's work in Christ for us, in grace. I think both short term and long term.