Downsizing Disappointment

Disappoint: 1. To fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of a person. 2. To defeat the fulfillment of hopes and plans; to thwart; frustrate.

Failure – defeat – frustration. These words hit very hot spots in the emotions of people dealing with homosexual problems and relationship addiction. In speaking to one man recently, I saw this in such detail and clarity. He said, “I can feel the dread of disappointment as it approaches, and when it comes it hits me in the chest with a great thud. Then, I am not only disappointed to a great degree, but I also feel that I myself am disappointing in that I did not matter enough for someone to fulfill my wishes and hopes.”

This example shows us how disappointment works in a person who had almost no fulfillment of hopes and wishes as a child. As the mind becomes more and more occupied with how to avoid the pain of disappointment, the dread of it is increased as well. Now, the person is dealing with an intensity about disappointment that is larger than life. It is out of proportion to truth but seems realistic, as avoidance becomes the consuming goal. Similarly, dwelling on pain intensifies it.

Then, added to this intense emotional condition is the deeply held position, “If I am disappointed by those I expected to care for me and my happiness, then I am a disappointing person. I caused this situation because I am not worthy of being considered or having my hopes fulfilled.” This misperception about worth is the typical emotional reaction of a person who does not know his or her worth, has had little approval and acceptance and, therefore, has not been able to develop a healthy selfhood.

It is no wonder that such a person would turn to “people pleasing” and being a “good little boy or girl” in order to gain some acceptance. But the whole plan backfires, since the true selfhood is not developed and the person becomes a bland and boring reflection of what people want him or her to be.

Another dimension is added if this person begins to find God disappointing. At salvation, most people experience a great sense of joy and newfound hope in having God as one’s protector and savior. But there will be an emotional letdown when old problems re-surface and God does not seem to come through as expected.

This is a lack of knowledge about how God works in our lives. He allows us to experience old frustrations and defeats so we can clean out our old ungodly reactions and “fixes”, and turn to Him for our needs. If this truth is not grasped, the person can feel God is like all the rest – just another disappointment.

On the other hand, if the person encounters disappointment after salvation, he or she may feel they are a disappointment to God. “I don’t pray enough, give enough, do enough for others. I don’t read the Bible enough. He is angry with me because I sin. I am always a letdown and God is let down by me as well.” These are nothing more than old emotions from childhood’s false self-concepts being read into God’s view of the person.

These perceptions are not true because God looks on the heart and understands anyone’s emotional condition. This may seem to be an overwhelming problem to defeat since it has affected so many areas of life – emotions, selfhood, perception of God and His perception of the person.

But, in another way, it is truly only one root – disappointment – and if we can change the ways we think about disappointment, the whole root will be cut. This will release truth into the emotions, the selfhood, and the perception of God.

Begin to write a plan of how you will process disappointment when it comes next and you will be able to change your exaggerated dread of it. Instead of seeing it as something that will devastate you and leave you broken on the floor, see it as a chance to build a new response to it. You can then cut the effects of it down to size and react in the truth that you are stronger than the experience!

When you see that having a life marked by defeat, frustration, and failure can cause you to live as if that is all your future will hold, then you can attack this lie. One major plan of attack must be to see experiences in a positive light, not the old protective survival patterns that expect the worst so you won’t get hurt.

If you lose your job, believe that God is using this for good to strengthen and prepare you for future development. If you didn’t receive someone’s approval, think that God wants you to know your worth on your own without looking for others to set your value. If you feel homosexual desires after trying to be free for a number of years, turn that into a blessing by realizing that the desires are a guide to an area of your emotions that have not been processed in truth.

In other words, let all events be grist for the mill of your life, giving you a future and a hope, a new way of looking at what happens to you. We can learn with so many others, that “All things work together for good for those who love God”. If you feel the dread of disappointment coming, don’t hunker down to endure the blast, but see this dread in a new way. It is truly an exaggerated childhood outlook from the hurts and letdowns and living in expectation of bad things.

To turn this around, we first need to admit to God our dread, fear, and desire to control disappointment. From that point, admit that your view of it is very likely larger than it truly is. Take some time with your journal to write the truth of this and that you choose to cut failure, defeat, frustration, and disappointment down to size. Then it will be an experience that can lead to growth and freedom, not continuing dread and attempted escapes that feed sexual desire and sin.

After you choose to downsize disappointment, ask the Lord to keep you in reality whenever you deal with it – to help you avoid the old pitfalls of dwelling on the pain, anger, and victim mentality of it all. This is the childhood reaction – “All is lost, life can never be good, I’m doomed, why me?” These thoughts are passive and negative about any future hopes and dreams and will hold you in patterns of fear.

As you write, choose and pray, God will give you new ways of seeing disappointment. It will become a chance to work on hope and faith, the true products of disappointment that have been processed according to God. See the story of Joseph in Genesis!

As we begin to see hope out of disappointment, we are truly growing in godly vision. “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24,25)

We are breaking the disappointment barrier and seeing a way out. The way of hoping as Abraham did – against hope. Here is an example of true hope for us to look at:

For Abraham, human reason for hope being gone, hoped on in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised. So numberless shall your descendants be. (Genesis 15:5) He did not weaken in faith when he considered the utter impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s deadened womb. (Genesis 17:17; 18:11)

No unbelief or distrust made him waver or doubtingly question concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God. (Romans 4:18-20 Amp.)

As we see here, true hope is not just longing or desire. True hope is a certainty, a confident expectation that God will do what He has promised. This kind of hope will hold us up in times of disappointment – it will shine through the darkness and strengthen us. It does not disappoint. The longings, the desires – yes, they will disappoint, but the true hope, the confident expectation of God’s provision is a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. Downsize your disappointment and hold firmly to the hope appointed for us and set before us!

You do have a future and a hope. God is pleased that you are considering the truths presented here. He will strengthen you as you dare to begin to hope in the truest sense!

Hope does not disappoint – because His love is being poured out on us. I realize that for many of you, the idea that you exaggerated your pain may anger you, but when we dwell on our pain, it does blind us to the gifts that God is offering us.

It is very sad when we let our problems keep us from Him who wants to solve our problems. It is time to turn toward hope. “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17,18)

Downsizing Disappointment
by Joanne Highley