How to Combat Disappointments
We can all relate to a time we were tired, worn out, stressed, pushed to our breaking point, and wondering where the God was. It's those tests we studied our hardest for, only to receive a bad grade. It's the boys we liked who didn’t return the feeling and we watched them love another. It's those moments when our dreams seem in reach but are suddenly wretched away.
Why does God allow that to happen to us, His people? How can we trust in Him disappointment after disappointment? Recently, I had my fair share of disappointing experiences. I came into my junior year of college excited and ready to find the perfect internship for the summer. I knew this would help me figure out what I wanted to do with my communication degree and catapult me into a job for the future. All I have to show for what seems like thousands of internship applications are rejection emails and" better luck next times." In my mind, I did everything to ensure I would get an internship. I have good grades, am heavily involved in my campus community, and with good people skills, feel like I performed well in my interviews. Honestly, why won't God allow something to come easily just this once? I am scared, wondering how I am ever going to find a job when I have no internship guidance and when many of my peers seem to be getting internships as quickly as statement necklaces fly off the racks at J. Crew.
Additionally, I was very excited as my sorority picked the date of our formal (it happened to be on the same day as my birthday!). What could be more perfect? And, to top it off, I did not have a track meet that Saturday for once in my career. I asked one of my guy friend’s to go with me early and continued to be excited as I set up person after person with my other great guy friends, happy to serve since my date was in the bag. Unfortunately, a week before the dance our coach announced that we actually did have a track meet the day of formal, and my date, being a competitive runner, could no longer accompany me. When I say that the well was completely dry of any potential formal dates, I am not exaggerating. Frankly, I was pretty fed up with God and His apparently “great plans.”
- “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”- Proverbs 16:9
- “A lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.”- Proverbs 16:33
- “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in Him, and I am helped.”- Psalm 28: 7
- “I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears.”- Psalm 34:4
Though these words brought me comfort, I was still a girl without an internship and trying to find a formal date. The ironic thing is throughout the whole week all my Jesus Calling devotionals said something about trusting in God and waiting on His timing. I love one of the quotes I found:
When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these fours words: I trust You, Jesus.
These words are so powerful, because how many times do we completely discount God when the things in our lives seem to go wrong? The boy I liked asked another girl out so I'm going to skip my devotions for the day. I didn’t get the job I wanted..."thanks a lot God." I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life that is coming immanently closer every second. God you said you always hear my prayers but where is my job?
We doubt, cry, and pout like a toddler who didn’t get candy at the grocery store, but why don’t we rejoice? Why are we so quick to forget all the times God rescued us? Why do we forget the things God is doing in our lives right this second that enable us to survive?
As difficult as it can be to believe and as often as people suggest James 1:2 (as if reading that verse magically solves your problems), it’s still true. Life is not easy, but God never promises it will be. We can’t control the plans of our lives or what direction they will take, but we can change our attitude during times of trial and disappointments. We can choose to thank God for all He has done and the faithfulness He has shown us in the past. We can choose to take delight in the gifts God has given us each and every day. And we can rejoice when life twists our carefully orchestrated plans.
It is not easy. It isn’t without great work, but the only one who can truly give us joy in any of our circumstances is the God who created those circumstances and who created us. I love the quote by Bob Goff, “I used to think that I could shape the circumstances around me, but now I know God uses circumstances to shape me.” God is using what you are going through right this now to prepare you for something in the future that you don't have any idea about. Maybe that boy you’re pining after is getting in the way of the great Godly guy in your sociology class that God wants you to notice. Maybe you didn’t get the job because God is protecting you from a horrible boss. Maybe you didn’t get on the team so that you would find time to plug into a ministry in your church or college campus.
The constant in all those statements is the word protection. God is always protecting us from less than His best.
For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. -Psalm 84:11
This verse doesn’t say you won’t be crushed at times in life, disappointed, and even devastated by God’s circumstances, but it does say that God is sovereign and He is protecting us from ourselves. Our best does not necessarily equal His best.
In conclusion, if you are in a period of waiting and disappointments, God has not forgotten you. I am currently a social media intern at a great organization near my hometown. Though I cried for days and while writing this post about never getting an internship, God provided more than I could ask for. As for my formal date debacle, I was set up with a friend of a friend who proved to be the best date I’ve ever had to a function, even though he was the one I knew the least. Though you might not get the ending you wanted, God is still providing for you despite your doubt. Today, try to desire the plans and things God wants to give you instead of what you think you deserve. Remember, without disappointments we would not be able to fully unlock the great provisions of our Savior.