Here is #26 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search "31 Questions" in the search bar above or click here!
Q #26: How can I get through a season of crushing disappointment?
A: Disappointment visits everyone's life from time to time.
When that person you admired has a personal scandal exposed to the whole world.
When that couple you so enjoyed being with and wished your marriage could resemble splits, revealing deeper issues of unhappiness and duplicity than you imagined were there.
When someone you trusted betrays or breaks your confidence.
When that parent who you thought would always be there is missing when you really needed their help or support.
When you find out something ugly and disturbing about someone you had loved so much...
Disappointment can dull the sharpest ideals we have. We can begin to imagine that none of the things we've built our lives on are real. We can begin to think that no one is worthy of honor, praise, or admiration.
I know it's true because some of the people I have looked up to the most have let me down.
So, how can a Christ-follower weather, endure and even grow from disappointment?
#1 Don't idealize others too much.
No one you admire is ever the perfect image in all areas. This one might be good at leading, that one at communicating, the other is a strong thinker. Instead of picking one mentor to guide you through life, pick a diversity of mentors who can bring guidance to a number of areas in life. One person you turn to for marital advice. Another for financial direction. Another for spiritual direction. Often, people are left devastated by the failures of others because they have imagined that their mentor or friend or leader was ideal in all areas of life. No one is. Proverbs 11:14 reads like this: "Where there is no guidance, the people fail, but in abundance of counselors there is victory."
#2 Recognize the vulnerability of everyone to fail.
In idealizing others, we can fall into the trap of idolizing them. Everyone is capable of failing, especially in areas that might inspire pride. The apostle Paul put it this way, "Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)
#3 Determine to focus on good things in others.
While several disappointments in a row can have the multiplying effect of persuading us toward cynicism and skepticism, the Bible instructs us to be people relentlessly focused on the good and beautiful. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)
#4 Take the opportunity to reach out in love to the one who has disappointed you.
The more colossal the failure or the more public the disappointment, that person you've admired may need your friendship more than ever before. Take the time and effort to put aside your feelings of being let down and reach out with understanding and grace instead. Take the opportunity to recognize what kind of friendship you could use at a time like that if you were the one who had disappointed so many others.
#5 Put your hope in God.
He doesn't ever fail! God is faithful when all others aren't. Take sometime reflect on the fact that God is one who is forever steadfast and ask him to make your character resemble his more and more. The reward for that kind of character is always richly rewarded. Proverbs 3:3-4 says it like this: "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Check out more posts from the 31 Questions series on subjects as varied as marijuana, infidelity, 666, the eternal destiny of children who die, dealing with discouragement, cremation, co-habitation, baptism, suicide, prayer, the origins of scripture, hell, work, the third heaven, tithing, Old Testament salvation, giving in the Old Testament, reading Proverbs, recovering from failure, taking the Bible literally, understanding the parables, universalism, Bible credibility, and even speaking in tongues!
This coming Sunday at First Assembly Community Ministries, we will be changing the regular format for our service to accommodate questions from the congregation! I can't wait. Join us there on Sunday, February 1 for a morning of discovery on what we call Q Sunday for two unique services 9 and 11 AM.
Labels: 31 questions, Bible study, character, Christianity, Church life, discipleship, sin, spiritual growth, spirituality