Amy Eksteen

There is no doubt, that in this life, we will face disappointment. We each have our hopes and dreams. We ensure that our hearts are filled with faith, hope and trust. We make sure we tick off all of the boxes so that things can go our way, but still, we come face-to-face with disappointment and unmet expectations.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes disappointment gets the better of me and I find myself not really knowing how to cope with all of the emotions and feelings that come along with it, especially when I have been praying, hoping and trusting for a different outcome. It can be a very overwhelming, ongoing and negative experience if one doesn’t understand how to deal with it.

One day, I was told by a close friend of mine to listen to a podcast titled “Promises Fulfilled” by one of my favourite speakers who goes by the name of Bill Johnson. It came at a time where I was battling with the feeling of disappointment and I felt as if my mood was continuously down. I didn’t have a lot of hope and faith at the time because of my circumstances. I certainly felt like I couldn’t trust God and I didn’t know how I could possibly perceive/understand the reasons behind my circumstances in a different way. The podcast and the message Bill Johnson provides, really helped me to overcome my overwhelming experience with disappointment as well as my low mood and unhappy emotions that I was trying to cope with. Long story short, he helped me get through my, as I like to call it, ‘funk’. He helped change my mindset and outlook on my circumstances for the better and that’s what, I believe, made all of the difference.

In the podcast, Bill Johnson explains that “feelings/emotions such as bitterness, regret, jealousy, loss, betrayal and disappointment (to name a few) keep us linked to the past and robs us of the ability to focus on the possibilities the future can bring”. “Being attached to the past through emotions such as disappointment also robs us of our awareness of God’s love and what He wants us to focus on in the present”. Experiencing these negative feelings and emotions can keep us attached to circumstances or events that occurred in our past, where things didn’t work for us, often leaving us feeling as if God doesn’t want to love, choose and bless us. We ask ourselves questions like “Why didn’t this work out for me?”, “Why am I not worthy to be blessed with this?” or “Does God even care about my hopes and dreams?”.

Bill Johnson warns us that the enemy tries to use emotions like disappointment and even unhealthy memories from our past to change our perception of who we are, what our purpose is and God’s ultimate plans for our lives. The enemy tries to distract us by reminding us to ruminate on what didn’t work out instead of what could work/what is meant to be – he has us so caught up in the negatives that we fail to see all of the positives within our circumstances.

What really stood out to me was when Bill Johnson said that the “feeling of depression can be linked to disappointment and that if we don’t deal with the feeling of disappointment in the early stages, it can affect our emotional, mental and spiritual health”. I personally feel like there is so much truth in this. When I feel down and find myself struggling with feelings of depression, it sometimes has a direct connection to me not being able to accept or understand why certain things haven’t worked out the way I intended them to in my life. I find myself feeling very demotivated and unable to cope with and regulate my emotions. I also don’t feel like praying or simply having faith and hope as well as I don’t feel like I have the energy to trust God anymore. This is because disappointment makes us vulnerable and as a result, we can be negatively affected.

The key to dealing with the type of circumstances that are making us feel disappointed lies within how we navigate our way through adversity.

We can learn to cope with experiences of disappointment by:

  1. Adjusting our hearts
  2. Learning to trust God in the midst of uncertainty
  3. Leaning not on our own understanding

We need to train our minds to notice that journeying through these moments is about strengthening and leading us to our destiny instead.
One of the most important ways we can navigate our way through disappointing circumstances is by reminding ourselves who God is and about His promises. God knows the outcome of every situation we face and He knows the blessings that are waiting for us on our own journeys. God gives us promises and desires to inspire/excite us for what’s to come, to give us the ability to dream God sized dreams and to ultimately have faith, hope and to trust in Him. He knows what we deserve and He wants to fulfil all of the promises He has promised to give us. As followers of God, we shouldn’t have to experience or deal with an ongoing battle with disappointment because we have a good Father who will never let us down. If your desires are good and are a part of His will for your life, they are already “Yes and Amen!” (2 Corinthians 1:20), it’s just a matter of God’s perfect timing.

What I feel Bill Johnson is reminding us of, through this podcast and what I find helpful to keep in mind during times of disappointment, is that we should be choosing to focus on the promises, the blessings and the purpose of every situation we face, instead of the disappointment. We should be focusing on what God gets to give us in the end and along the way instead of what we were hoping to get, that wasn’t fulfilled. When we are faced with negative emotions and feelings, while we are free to acknowledge them, we should be aware of those moments and we need to have ways to not let those feelings and emotions get the better of us. We should be on the look out for moments when the enemy tries to blind us from God’s love and our bright futures by trying to keep us attached to our pasts – this can keep us from not fully meeting God in the present and not being joyfully expectant of our futures. We should be dreaming and we should be anticipating the good that God wants to do/bring into our lives rather than what hasn’t worked out. We shouldn’t be dwelling on the moments when our expectations weren’t met. We should be focusing our attention on the fact that God wants to give us so much more than we can imagine and sometimes He has to close certain doors so that He has the opportunity to lead us to better ones. God never wants us to settle and He definitely doesn’t want us to brood over our disappointments when He so much more waiting for us.

I hope that this blog post can be a source of encouragement to my readers who may be dealing with disappointment.

If you’re interested in listening to the full podcast and message by Bill Johnson, use this link that will take you to the YouTube video:

For further help on how to deal with disappointment, please feel free to read the blog post titled “When life doesn’t seem to go your way” for 12 helpful tips. You can also read the blog post titled “Renovations” that uses a piece of writing by C.S. Lewis that cleverly depicts the way God chooses to work in our lives when we might not understand His purpose or plans for us.

God bless xx