We went to the botanical gardens near our home this morning. I was so excited. I love looking at flowers and just being out in nature, and I love sharing this passion for “growing things” with my children.
The whole way over I was in a great mood, so excited, really bubbling over with anticipation.
You know those times when you anticipate something and build it up in your mind, and then the reality ends up being much different?
The last time we had come, we had a great time. We stumbled upon the right paths (it was our first time) and just thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
This time, we couldn’t find where we wanted to go, my son was fussy, we kept walking into spiderwebs everywhere…and on and on. It was a “comedy of errors.”
I felt my joy slipping away and quickly being replaced by frustration and anger– and then the negative thoughts starting floating in-every time, every time I try to do something fun, something I enjoy, it all gets screwed up and we have a horrible time…and spiraling down and down.
I didn’t want to go down that road again, so I took a deep breath and started praying.
How do I handle this Lord? I am disappointed. I wanted this to be an awesome time and everyone is upset and things have not gone at all like I wanted…and I feel angry and frustrated and sad.
I wanted this to be a special memory.
When I have expectations for something- when I have built it up in my mind- those are the times I struggle with most if the reality does not match my hopes.
So, I prayed…and prayed some more, and then we decided to leave. I was quiet on the way home. Concerned I might get angry and say something I regretted- because I was still seething inside.
I eventually tried to steer my thoughts in a positive direction. I tried to think about things that I was thankful for, to laugh a little at the ridiculous string of mishaps that led to us having to go home.
I started thinking about how my attitude in the face of adversity is teaching my children how to handle disappointment and difficulty.
Do I want them to get angry at everyone around them and make everyone else feel bad when they don’t get their way? Or when circumstances disappoint them?
I wanted to spend the whole morning looking at plants and taking pictures. It didn’t work out. Does that mean that I never try again? That’s the other lie that always creeps into my head. “There isn’t even any point for me to try to go back, it will just be a disaster again.”
When disappointment comes- not if- WHEN. We know that we will be disappointed in our circumstances. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to.
Friendships fade, we don’t get that job we wanted, vacations get cancelled, cars break down, kids get sick…
What do we do? How do we approach those unexpected moments? How do we honor God and bring Him glory- even in our disappointment?
1. We must pray. Tell God how we are feeling. Ask for wisdom and guidance in how to deal with our emotions in a way that honors Him as well as acknowledging our unmet hopes and expectations.
2. Either meditate on a Scripture you have memorized or get our your Bible and read for a few minutes (or longer). Ask God to speak to you through His Word and get your mind focused on the blessings in your life and not just the present disappointment.
3. Guard your thoughts. Don’t entertain thoughts that are negative. Dismiss them and instead bring to mind happy memories or focus on other things that you are looking forward to- run through promises of God in your mind. (We did actually have some fun moments during our outing- so I focused on those).
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In every situation- every thing that comes up- be thankful– seek out thankfulness- approach God with your petitions with thanksgiving in your heart.
Even in adversity- situations that make us anxious, as well as those that leave us disappointed.
We choose to be thankful- and say, Lord- what do you want to teach me through this? How is this adversity going to help me grow?
James 1:2-4– 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Phil 4:7- and don’t forget what comes next. The peace of Christ will guard our hearts and minds. That’s what I want- daily- the peace of Christ guarding my heart and mind.
What better preparation is there for adversity?
For times of disappointment and trial?
Oh Lord grant me the grace that I may teach my children to let your peace reign in their lives- that it may guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
It transcends all understanding. Peace that completely consumes us with calm. Utter tranquility. Yes, I want that Lord. In the midst of my disappointment I want your peace to descend.
Lord, we will have disappointments and unmet expectations. We may face great tragedy. I humbly pray that you will grant us the grace and wisdom in these times of sorrow and frustration- possibly of utter despair- to seek your peace. To humbly pray to you, with thanksgiving on our lips. Thank you Lord that you know our hearts, and you have given us the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we don’t know how to pray, or even what to pray- so in those moments may your Spirit intercede on our behalf as we throw ourselves at your feet. Grant us peace- help us to look beyond the intense emotion of the moment and see how you may be working beyond what our eyes can see or our minds conceive. Thank you Lord for the promises of your Word. May we seek you in our distress. By the power of your Spirit working in us and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.