Dealing With Disappointment

May 31, 2021 —– CALEB BROUSSARD

Life is filled with disappointments. Maybe you’re about to take a drink of a nice ice-cold Coke only to find that it is Diet Coke. That’s disappointing. Maybe a relationship didn’t pan out as you wanted. That’s disappointing. Maybe a doctor’s visit has some news that’s less than good. That’s very disappointing. No matter the road you’ve walked in life, you’ve encountered disappointment along the way.

What do you do when your expectations in life go unmet, and what remains is disappointment? 

To answer these questions, we must look at a couple of other questions that guide our conversation and help us shift our perspective that as we face disappointments, we can reframe our disappointments to see them as divine appointments for God’s mercy and grace. I believe there are some things you can’t learn on the mountaintops of life; they’ve got to be learned in the valleys. Here are some things I’ve learned in my valleys that I hope are helpful to you when you walk through yours. 

1. Recognizing your disappointments leads to the revelations of your heart. 

Why are you disappointed? It’s a simple question, but it’s often one whose answer roots out of unmet expectations in any given circumstance. Two truths come to light with this answer. First, our desires and fears often reveal themselves by our deepest disappointments. So, what are you afraid of, and what are your desires? Those are questions that only you have the answers to; it’s your truth. If you are not honest with yourself and God, you will not find freedom. Because you are trading the truth for a seemingly more comfortable lie. The truth is, the lies only create a greater burden on your soul. You’ve got to be honest with God, with yourselves, and with your community. Honesty with God leads to forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and honesty with others leads to healing (James 5:16). 

The second truth your unmet expectations reveal is where you anchor your soul. Is your hope anchored in the eternal or the temporal? Because of the saving work of Jesus Christ, there is a hope that is far greater than any burden that the days may carry. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Not to say it’s not okay to want things in life, but when disappointment hits and derails us, we must check our hearts to see if our hope is in the eternal or the temporal. Again, that is something only you can answer. 

What do you do with these answers found in your unmet expectations? Bring them to the Lord. He cares for you, and he wants you to bring your burdens to him. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” You can find relief from your burdens when you release your burdens to God. 

2. Disappointment is not a destination. 

In the grand scheme of the story, your disappointment is not the end. More than likely, you’re in the middle of a miracle. If you let disappointment be your destination, you’ll miss the miracle happening in front of you. A prime example of this is the miracle is the cross. If you look at Matthew 1, you see all the generations listed, all of the people in the line of Jesus starting at Abraham, and Abraham wasn’t even the first human; that’s Adam. In Verse 17, it notes that there are 42 generations between Jesus and Abraham. Within those 42 generations are hundreds of stories of disappointment after disappointment, but disappointment was not the destination. The destination of the story was the resurrection of Jesus and the glory to come. 

Some miracles we won’t see play out in our lifetime, but we get to be in the middle of them right now. Yes, disappointment can disrupt your dreams and desires, but it doesn’t disrupt God’s plan. Often the greatest disappointments in life lead you to your destination. God is not a God of coincidence; he is a God of intentionality. He has a purpose that we often do not see and cannot comprehend. Maybe your disappointment is the beginning of a miracle? 

3. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it. 

Ultimately, how you deal with disappointment is your choice. Will you let disappointment derail your life or propel you towards your destiny? The decision is yours. I’ve walked through seasons of disappointment in my life. I don’t pretend to be an expert on dealing with disappointments, because quite frankly, it is the Lord who gives us the ability to deal with disappointments. These are just some lessons I’ve learned through my journey. An odd truth I’ve recently learned is if I don’t have it, I don’t need it. Or, in a more positive light, I have all that I need. 

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Everything you need is in Christ, and Christ is the supplier of your needs. He set the stars in place, knows the hairs on your head. Surely, he will supply what you need. But that, in turn, is also a tough pill to swallow. What you want in life may not be what you need in life. Even if it’s what you want most, but if the psalmist was right when he said, “surely goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life,” I think that there is something far greater than any disappointment life may bring you that is awaiting you at eternity’s shore. 

4. Filter your Feed. 

Often disappointment is fueled by comparison, and comparison kills calling. Comparison comes from an unfiltered feed directly to your soul. When you do not filter what is going into your mind, you’re building up tendencies to let comparison live and your calling to die. The Apostle Paul talks about spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10, and in verse 5, he gives the call to action for believers to take every thought captive to obey Christ. 

What thoughts are you letting into your life that are leading you to places of disappointment? Again, only you can answer that. Might I encourage you to filter the intake of your soul by filtering your thoughts through Philippians 4:8, which says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.” Build a filter for your intake, unfollow certain trains of thoughts that feed into the disappointment of your unmet expectations. 

5. Where you fix your focus, your feet will follow. 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34 

As a photographer and videographer, I’ve learned a lot about focus. I’ll use auto-focus for many shoots, and most times, it works great, but then there’s manual focus. In manual focus, I have to be incredibly precise to get the image just right. With just the slightest shift of my body, the camera, or the object in frame, the image will be out of focus. The same is true in life; where you fix your focus, your feet will follow. Psalm 121 gives an invitation to look to Christ who is your protector, defender, and sustainer. Fix your focus on Christ.

Instead of focusing on the circumstances, focus on the Savior. 

Fixing your focus on the Savior does not mean ignoring your situation but recognizing the bigger story. Recognize that God is taking care of you and that every season and situation serves a purpose. Fixing your focus on Christ is not a cop-out to be passive and lazy, but the strength to walk through the valley with faith instead of fear. 

Conclusion 

There is so much more to say on the subject of disappointment, but I hope this little blog post has been useful and that my thoughts will be a helpful resource to you when you encounter disappointment along your journey. My hope is that as you continually refix your focus on Christ that you may find some of your greatest disappointments were some combination of God’s protection, a divine appointment, and a better outcome. But through it all, I hope that through your disappointment, you discover a deeper beauty of Jesus and his love for you as you lean into his presence. 


Caleb Broussard serves as the Multi-Media Coordinator at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, AR. He is pursuing a Masters of Divinity in Worship Leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Caleb’s passion is for creating and cultivating art that connects the hearts of people to the truths of God. He also enjoys running, watching movies, and drinking coffee.

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