HOW TO STOP FEELING DISAPPOINTED ALL THE TIME
I am constantly disappointed, and it’s all my fault.
You see, I’m not naturally a fun or optimistic person, so in my effort to not be Eyore, I try to think of all the good things.
And while this involves a lot of reflection on all the ways I’m blessed and working on having a grateful heart, it also involves a lot of anticipation about upcoming things.
Then I build them up in my mind to go a certain way, and I’m disappointed when they turn out differently.
I’m also a planner.
I am a grumpy, over-planner who is trying to be an optimist and failing.
So since I’m not going to be able to change who I am anytime soon, I’ve come up with three ways to prevent disappointment.
Because the thing about disappointment is that it’s all in your perspective.
There are rarely things that happen in my life that are actually totally disappointing. I usually feel disappointed because of my own doing.
So if I have the power to allow myself to feel disappointed, I also have the power to stop feeling disappointed.
Three Steps to Stop Feeling Disappointed
1. Let others help you plan
Letting others help you plan takes a lot of pressure off and prevents disappointment in yourself. When I used to plan our whole vacation by myself, I felt like such a failure if everything didn’t turn out as planned.
And with four kids, things rarely turned out exactly as planned.
As I think back on our years of traveling with kids, I can’t remember a single trip that was fever free. At least one of our kids has gotten a fever on every single trip for the last ten years. And when a kid is sick with a fever, that changes the plans.
Another benefit of letting others help you plan the trip is that they choose different things that you would.
For the last two years, we’ve rented a golf cart for the day to ride around town during our beach vacation. This was my husband’s idea and something that I didn’t think would really be worth it.
Boy, was I wrong!
Riding in the golf cart is now one of our kids’ favorite things! They talk about it all year. And I would NEVER have chosen that as an activity for us.
2. Keep a prayer/gratitude journal
There are a ton of different prayer and gratitude journals out there. They’re all awesome in their own way, and there isn’t one that best for everyone.
In fact, a simple notebook will work just fine.
The important thing is that you make a list of all your requests of God and a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
The first part is easy for most people.
It’s easy to make a list of all the things we want God to do for us.
And while this may sound counterproductive to finding satisfaction in your life, hear me out.
In three months, when you go back and look at the list of things you’re asking God for right now, you’ll probably be surprised at how many of your requests He’s answered. And many of them will have been answered in ways you couldn’t even imagine.
So it’s important to write down what we want so that we can praise God when we get it.
Plus, if you’re like most moms, you’re a busy lady.
I forget why I walked into the kitchen thirty seconds after deciding I needed something in the kitchen. My mind is way too full to accurately remember all the ways God has answered my prayers.
But going back and reading the burdens of my heart from six months ago immediately fills me with joy and gratitude.
My God is great and awesome and loves me so much that he has heard my petition and answered me.
Also, seeing your petitions from six months distance also gives you insight into your growth. There are things I prayed for six months ago that I am not praying for today, not because God answered externally, but internally.
God is constantly stretching us and growing us. He is forming us into the people He want to empower to do His work. That changes our hearts and the burdens on our hearts.
“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
The second part of a good prayer/gratitude journal is the gratitude part. It’s the with thanksgiving that Paul is writing about in Philippians 4:6.
You need to list all the awesome things in your life RIGHT NOW.
Not that fun trip you’re taking in 6 months.
Write about how your rambunctious, rough two-year-old grabbed your face this morning, looked you right in the eyes, and said, “Mommy, I love you.”
After listing all of the wonderful things you have in your life TODAY, you are going to have a much more difficult time feeling disappointed.
3. Serve others
I know I sound like a broken record because serving others is always my answer, but if it works….
Our cues for life are supposed to come from Jesus. He loved us actively. He didn’t just lecture in the Temple. He didn’t just have awesome Bible studies with his disciples. He went out into villages and healed the sick and fed the hungry, and He taught His disciples to do the same.
If your whole life is focused on you, you will be miserable. You can never do enough for yourself to bring you joy. You will only find joy in following the example of our maker, the author and perfector of our faith, Jesus.
He called us to be fishers of men.
“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19
Not prayer warriors for men or well-wishers for men.
It’s time to get up and do.
God gifted us all with talents, so find a way to use yours to reach others.
This will put things in perspective and take the focus off you. Nothing will help you stop feeling disappointed faster than helping someone else with their burdens.
Plus this is a great way to teach your kids about serving others. It’s great to serve at the soup kitchen once a year during Christmas break, but that’s not enough.
In 1 Timothy 6:8 Paul said that he would be content if he had food and clothing.
“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content.” – 1 Timothy 6:8
I don’t know if God will ever change my heart to that level of contentment, but can you imagine how blessed you would feel if that was your base standard for enough?
Imagine if disappointment only came when going hungry or sleeping outside. We would have joy that permeated every conversation, every prayer, every thought.