Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rethinking Disappointment

What is disappointment? 

Wikipeadia (which is by no means definitive!) defines disappointment as: the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that the individual feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while the individual feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself. It is a source of psychological stress.

Disappointment is the feeling we get when we focus on the outcome itself. 
I found this very enlightening. There is a sense here that when we are disappointed, we are suffering from a removed locus of control. The expectation we had of a particular result or outcome are not met. We have not reached our goal. 

When we have failed to put our trust in God, when we have trusted ourselves and 'the plan' over the "The Plan" of our Creator, we open ourselves up to disappointment. 

Is disappointment unhealthy? I don't think so. I think what is unhealthy is when we become so disappointed that something didn't happen a certain way and we begin to blame things outside ourself, and for many people, blame God. 

I entered a free competition some years ago. There was a 1 in X chance that I would win this competition, but I started to get excited about the prize. I began to think about what my life would be like if I won, what I would change, what I would become....  I didn't win (along with thousands of others!). 

I was disappointed. I had a lot of plans, logical, serious plans. And I was disappointed. 

But the disappointed stemmed from something that was never mine in the first place. 

These are instant times. We are used to getting what we want. Now. 

But one of the most important things we must realise as Christians is that God didn't promise us anything more than eternal life and a way to deal with the temptation we face in life. 

We didn't receive a promise for the last piece of cake, a birthday present or a much bigger house. 

Don't let your disappointment in the earthly get bigger than your focus on the eternal. 

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23 (New International Version, ©2011)

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