Maybe you didn’t get in to the college of your dreams.
Or you didn’t get invited to a party everyone else seemed to.
Or the relationship you hoped would last forever ended.
Or your parents said “no” to a request you really wanted them to say “yes” to.
And you feel disappointed. What now? Here are five ways to cope.
1. Fess up.
Lay your true feelings before Him and trust Him with them.
It is a mind-bending truth that God wants you to bring your junk to Him. In Philippians 4:6, He asks us to bring our anxious thoughts to Him. Surely our disappointments are welcome in His throne room, too. He is your loving Father who already sees every corner of your heart (Ps. 139:1). Tell Him about your disappointment. Don’t sugarcoat it. He doesn’t need you to. Lay your true feelings before Him and trust Him with them.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us (Ps. 62:8).
Praise feels like an awkward response to disappointment. We are much more prone to pout, cry, or withdraw. But praise works like a jump-start to our hearts, reminding us that even if everything hasn’t gone right, God’s devotion to us certainly has.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy (Ps. 103:2–4).
You could count your disappointments one by one, but it won’t change your circumstances. Instead think of reasons to praise Him. The Psalmist got us started . . .
He forgives all our iniquity.
He heals all our diseases.
He redeems our life from the pit.
He crowns us with steadfast love and mercy.
Go on. Keep praising. What can you add to the list?
3. Think about heaven.
Disappointments are just part of the bargain this side of heaven. They will keep coming, but this will not always be so. Take the disappointment you feel today and set it on one side of the scale. Then take this and set it on the other side:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
Some day all disappointing shall cease. Whatever you are facing today, it is a former thing. Let this disappointment serve as a reminder of all that is to come.
4. Put it in a savings account.
When you’re drowning in disappointment, here’s a life raft:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).
God will work this to your good, but the turnaround is usually slow. You may not see a return tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, but you can steady your heart with the promise that God is already at work turning this disappointment into a dream come true. You see, in the hands of God, disappointments and failures and missteps and sorrows work like deposits in a savings account. God will add goodness to them in time. You can take that promise to the bank.
5. Wait for it.
True relief can only be won by waiting and refusing to settle for quick fixes.
When we’re disappointed, we want immediate comfort. Maybe we binge-watch Netflix to feel better or text a friend to talk us off the ledge of despair. Those aren’t bad things necessarily, but true relief can only be won by waiting and refusing to settle for quick fixes.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isa. 40:31).
Relief is coming, but it will take time. Wait for it. Rather wait for Him. He will never disappoint you.
And while you’re trusting God with your disappointments, we hope you’ll find even more encouragement through a brand-new Bible study, Elizabeth: Dealing with Disappointment. We’re praying that this study tool gives you hope amidst your hurts and perspective in your pain. Get your copy here!