Good morning, Five Minute Families. As the weather warmed a little, we had the opportunity this past weekend to work on a couple of projects that we have been putting off.
I must admit, I have been disappointed most of the winter that these projects were on hold. I was reminded every time I went outside that there were projects left undone, and we didn’t have the ability to revisit them yet. Disappointment is the sadness or displeasure that is caused by any nonfulfillment of our hopes or expectations, and disappointments come in all shapes and sizes.
Now, some disappointments are easily dismissed. Ones such as “ahh, I didn’t get the dessert I wanted because they were all gone by the time I got to the dessert line.” We don’t dwell on those disappointments, yet … some disappointments accumulate, and we end up living out Proverbs 13:12 wherein hope deferred makes a heart sick. Likewise, accumulated disappointments can lead to an inactivity – an almost inability to move forward for fear that more disappointments will be around the corner.
Unexpressed disappointment or unexplored disappointment may cause someone to become complacent and even comfortable in a cycle of disappointment. Oi. Disappointment can be dizzying. Parents and children alike deal with disappointments. Ever watched your child’s face after you have answered no when they ran excitedly up to you and asked for a new toy that was just advertised? Your kiddo may have thrown a fit. And, how often do we respond with something akin to “oh, stop and get over it. Throwing a fit isn’t going to get the toy for you.” Your child had a hope or expectation that something would happen and now they know it won’t.
So, how can we positively, biblically, deal with disappointments?
Well, we need to acknowledge the disappointment (any disappointment) and the emotions that arise from it. God may have wired our brains to process disappointments through the limbic system of the brain, which is also responsible for emotions, but He also told us to take our thoughts captive and train our minds to think His way. In neuroscience speak, that means intentionally taking the time to move the thoughts about the disappointment into our cerebral cortex. Which means, we must use reason when we face our disappointments. Yes, we need to acknowledge and fully feel our emotions from the disappointment, but we must not stay there.
Five Minute parents, that means we have to help our children train their brains to move their disappointment from their emotional brain center to thinking through the process logically. And, if we aren’t in the habit of doing that, we need to practice, practice, practice doing so!
We must make sure that we (and our children) learn not to attribute disappointments and negative events to personal failings, directing anger inwards on ourselves. Likewise, some folks turn their disappointment into anger directed to others, especially the person who didn’t meet their expectation. Either direction is unhealthy. As we take our concerns to the Lord, we see in Romans 12:2a we should not “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.”
We must consider what we have the control to change and what we do not have the control to change. Sometimes, we are disappointed in circumstances and sometimes we are disappointed by people. Pinpointing the underlying cause and its potential solutions is extremely important in dealing with disappointment in a healthy, godly way.
Unmet expectations lead to disappointment, so identify your own expectations and those of other family members. Remember, “we’re as capable of disappointing others as they are of disappointing us.” We must be ready to forgive and move forward as a family when someone has failed to fulfill an expectation. As one writer over at Bible.org stated, “When we set our hearts on people or on circumstances, we are usually disappointed. God wants us to set our hearts only on Him. He wants us to trust in His goodness, even in the midst of our deepest disappointments.”
We must seek God’s wisdom and have REALISTIC expectations of life’s circumstances and of each other. Just as Proverbs 3:5-8 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We must learn to cast our cares on Him and have confidence in His timing.
This leads to satisfaction, which should be grounded in the example of Christ Jesus and His grace. Let us end with Matthew 5:6, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.”
Thank you for joining us for these five minutes. We pray that these minutes encourage you to reflect on who you are in Christ and who you are to Christ while in community with family and fellow believers. Find out more about our ministry at clearviewretreat.org. Be blessed!