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Filoiann Wiedenhoff
 You're here » Christian Columns Index » Filoiann Wiedenhoff » Dealing with Disappointment
Dealing with Disappointment
by Filoiann Wiedenhoff
June 30, 2008
Category: Christian Living
FINALLY, BRETHREN, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Phil 4:8-9 NKJV

I can share a personal experience with you to help you understand what disappointment can mean and also how it can affect you personally deeper than you know. 

A couple years ago when we were starting our new church plant in San Diego we promoted it, invited all of our family and friends and on that day we had over 100 people in attendance for our opening day church service. It was wonderful and turned out better than we could have expected. 

My husband and I were definitely on a spiritual high feeling victory that our church plant was going to go smooth with no problems. NOT!!! The following Sunday our church attendance was nine people and all of them were part of our team that came with us. 

Needless to say, my husband seemed fine but I was disappointed.  I felt defeated and it was only the second Sunday of our church plant.  At that moment you don’t know how to feel and you are left with two choices, give up or move on.. We chose to move forward by faith because we believe that God has called us there and regardless if there is one person or 1000, if God has called us we need to be obedient to Him. 

Our Faith kept us going and I am happy to report that our church is growing and thriving. Praise the Lord. Had we of quit we would not be seeing the blessings we are now and we have learned some valuable lesson through it.

You see my problem was I had espectations that weren't realistic. I thought it would be a peace of cake to start a church plant and that it would just grow magically. I learned a valuable lesson, which was that my expectations were not based on fact or reality but my own thoughts and opinions and it was a hard lesson but it opened my eyes. I realized I needed to view my situation through God's point of view rather than my own.

I put together some tips on how to deal with disappointment and hope it helps you as it did me. The definition of disappointment is, “The state of having a feeling or emotion of being defeated in an expectation or a hope.” In looking at this definition helps us to learn how to deal with disappointment.

1. Re-Evaluate your Expectations: Are your expectations realistic? Or do they set you up for disappointment? Having un-realistic expectations will disappoint you every time.

2. Be willing to Drop Some Expectations: There are some expectations that are not worth having at all. As you look again at your situation be honest and ask yourself if you are having an expectation that is selfish, petty or unrealistic. If so, you are only hurting yourself by keeping them and should let them go.

3. Be Flexible: Learn from your mistakes and be willing to change your point of view about your situation that is realistic and considers the good as well as the bad and keep in mind what matters most.

4. One of the first exercises my husband and I give to couples in pre-marital counseling is to write down all of their expectations about the other person and then we have them read their list out loud and then tear it up and throw the list away. People don’t like this exercise very much because we are forcing them to get rid of their expectations of the other person, but it is an important one to learn and could save them a lot of grief after they get married. 

We do this because it is normal for every person to have an ideal spouse in their mind of what they will be like and how they will act. It can come from their up bringing or what they have learned along the way, television or by what they have read of what a spouse is supposed to be like and act like. They then naturally bring those expectations into their marriage and right away they become immediately disappointed that their expectations are not being met.   

Unfortunately it happens a lot in marriages and is more common than people realize and people wonder why they are having arguments and problems the first year of their marriage. 

Sometimes when I counsel women who go through similar issues, I tell them to not be so hard on themselves and they won’t be hard on others. It’s a trickle down affect that occurs when people place hard or un-realistic expectations on themselves and then will naturally place those same expectations on others. 

The worst part of this scenario is that when the person is working extra hard to fulfill these un-realistic expectations for themselves they expect others to do it too and they are constantly disappointed that others are not fulfilling their part. So in this scenario re-evaluate your own expectations of your self and see if you need to let go of them so that you can be freed from your own disappointment and not place those same expectations on others.

We encourage couples to not go into their marriage with expectations on their spouse but to get to know and accept their spouse for who they are and work together in accomplishing their goals and dreams together using their gifts and talents they both have. 

Don’t get me wrong we also go over the roles of the husband and the roles of the wife with these couples but roles are responsibilities that are given to fulfill their role as the husband or the wife and not “personal” expectations. It’s important to know the difference. 

My husband always says, “If you don’t have expectations you won’t be disappointed.” It’s true. We deal with our ministry the same way. It is what it is and we have to be willing to work with what we have to make it better and not focus on what it isn’t or what we don’t have but enjoy and be blessed with what God is doing. 

The only expectation we have now is that God is faithful and He will do it. It may not be how we expect Him to or when we expect Him to but He does it in His perfect way and in His perfect time. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways!

So if you are dealing with disappointment, take a moment to evaluate your expectations and be willing to make the necessary changes that will lift anything that may be keeping you down or others down. Sometimes our worst enemy is our own self. I hope these helps will give you something to work with when dealing with disappointment.

Filoiann Wiedenhoff is a Pastor’s Wife, Work at Home Mom, Woman’s Biblical Counselor, Bible Teacher and Writer. You can subscribe to her monthly newsletter and visit her website.

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