Happy New Year!! It’s officially 2019 and the first month of the year has come and gone pretty fast! I hope your new year started off great, and if it didn’t you still 11 months to make it right. For the first blog post of the year, God has really placed on my heart to talk about disappointment and how to overcome it. In fact, I was considering another topic but God confirmed a few times that this was what He wanted me to write about this month, so I know someone needs to be encouraged in this area, especially as we go into this new year. My hope is that this post helps you to identify the source of your disappointment, overcome it, and give you strength to hope again.
I’ve personally had my fair share of disappointment. At the beginning of 2017, I dealt with heavy disappointment from things that took place the previous year. It took months of going before God to get healed of it. Even after I thought I was over it, God showed me on multiple occasions throughout that year and even going into 2018 that parts of it were still lingering in my heart. It was a process to fully get over it. It prevented me from having hope in certain situations, believing some of the things that God had promised, and growing in faith overall. During that time, it was like I prevented my heart from believing God for anything or believing that anything good would happen because my heart was so crushed and I didn’t want to get my hopes up only to be crushed again.
Disappointment is something that we all go through in life. There are small disappointments that are easy to get over, but then there are those huge disappointments that are like a crushing blow; those can be very detrimental emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. And if you’re not careful it can even thrust you into the pit of depression. One important thing I’ve learned through all this is that we have to identify the source of our disappointment. I’ve noticed that disappointment can either stem from (1) an event(s) that took place or did not take place and/or (2) your own hopes, dreams, and things you expected God to do. I’ve faced both of these before and I know first-hand that it’s possible to heal, overcome, and hope again!
I want to tackle the second point first because I believe often times, we set ourselves up for disappointment when we hope, wish, and dream for things then convince ourselves that it’s God’s will for us to have those things. The word disappoint is defined as to fail to meet the expectation or hope of. I know what it’s like to hope for something so bad or have a desire for something so much that you daydream about having it, pray to God about it, and plan for it so much that you somehow convince yourself that God is going to give it to you the way you want it and in the timeframe that you want it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having hopes, setting goals, and making plans for something, but sometimes what you’ve planned is not what God has planned. Sometimes the things you have an expectation or hope for is not what God has in mind for you at the time. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Yes, it’s good to plan, and we should, but God directs and establishes our steps; whatever He has willed for your life in each season is what will prevail, not your own plans and wishes. So, you can pray, wish, and hope for something, but if It’s not God’s will for you to have it or to have it when and how you want it, it will not happen as you expect.
It is so important to understand the difference between wishful thinking vs. “God said.” Wishful thinking is when you hope/believe that something happens a certain way – it’s kind of like a daydream. “God said” is when God has actually promised that something will happen – He has actually released a word. Often times as believers we do a lot of wishful thinking and put all of our expectation into what we wish to come to past. We even expect and hope that God will allow things to happen the way that we have wished. Then when things don’t happen the way we want, we become depressed, hopeless, doubtful, etc. because we banked on our own wishful thoughts rather than on God’s actual promises. Sometimes we call this “faith,” but Romans 10:17 says “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So, if God didn’t say it, then you didn’t hear it, and you can’t have faith for something you didn’t hear God say because faith comes by hearing a word from God. And even when it comes to the promises that God has made, if He didn’t tell you exactly WHEN they would be fulfilled, be patient until they are fulfilled. Don’t cause yourself to believe that it’s going to happen right away or within a certain timeframe if you don’t have an assurance of it from the Lord. When God says “soon,” it could literally mean right away or a long while (in earthly time). His time is not our time. He makes everything beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3:11). If God has said that something will happen, don’t be disappointed because it hasn’t happened yet or the way that you expected it to. When He does it, it will far exceed your expectations. And there’s nothing wrong with hoping that something will happen, but don’t hold tightly to it unless you are sure that God desires to do it.
It’s especially important to know the difference between wishful thinking and “God said” as we go into the new year because this is the time where everyone is making their resolutions and vision boards. But we have to ask ourselves: Are the things that I put on my vision board things that God has even said I will have? Are they even in line with the will and purpose of God for my life or are they just my own desires? If you ask many people why they were disappointed with the outcome of the previous year, they will likely say that it’s because the things that they desired didn’t happen. But what if the way their year went is how God wanted it to go? What if the things that they didn’t obtain is how God intended it to be for that year because He was building up their character? I know this may sound harsh, especially if you had a really hard year. I’ve gone through years that literally felt like hell, but when I look back now, I see that God was making me in the fire of affliction. I had to go through those things to become who I am today. Had I not gone through those seasons, I would not have experienced so much growth.
The new year also comes with a lot of “words for the year.” Now, I wholeheartedly believe in prophecy, prophets, and prophetic words, etc. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 even says, “do not despise prophecy,” so I definitely don’t despise a prophetic word when I hear it. But the verse right after that (vs. 21) says to “test all things; hold fast to what is good.” So, we are instructed not to despise prophecy but to also test (examine) it and see if it’s good. I think sometimes people release blanket prophetic word/statements and we tend to hold onto them because they line up with what we want. At the end or beginning of every year, soooo many “words of the year” and “declarations for the year” are released, especially over social media, and we don’t always take the time to really examine it before we receive it and stand on it. We don’t take the time to really ask God if that word even applies to us. We read/hear it, we like it, say “amen,” and run off expecting God to do it because someone made the statement and we wanted it. Then the whole year passes by, the word doesn’t come to pass for us, and we end up with major disappointment and feel like God has forgotten about us because the word didn’t come to pass. I see this happen all too often, someone types on Facebook “God is going to send your husband this year, type amen to receive your blessing.” Before you run with it, stop and TEST THE WORD! Do you honestly think God is going to send a husband to any and every woman who types amen under that post? Is God that careless to send someone a husband just because they type amen or “touch and agree” with a word even though He knows they are not ready for it? Then we have the words like “this is the year of breakthrough, miracles, etc.” Now, I believe some of those words are accurate, but ask God if it applies to you first so you don’t end up with disappointment when you don’t see those things happen by the end of the year. Ask God for a specific word for you to stand on for the year, don’t just run with every blanket prophecy that is released online or even at a church.
As I said, I wholeheartedly believe in the prophetic, but I also wholeheartedly believe and know that there are many, many false prophetic voices out there, especially on social media. They claim to speak on behalf of God but God never released that word through them, it came out of their own heart (Jeremiah 14:14). Then there are those that are releasing a true prophetic word from God (even on social media). Although it’s a true word from God, you still need to ask God if it applies to you. Usually, you will know in your spirit if it applies to you because it will confirm what God has already been dealing with you about. There have been times I’ve come across a word and I knew it applied to me or God was speaking to me through it because it was confirmation of either what God had been speaking to me about or confirmation of what He was doing in my life at that time. God will ALWAYS confirm every word He gives you. He will either confirm it before you receive the word or after. Always ask God for confirmation, even when a word is given directly to you. People can miss the mark when it comes to prophecy. And if they miss the mark and that word doesn’t come to pass, the disappointment can really weigh you down and it can cause you to question God. When we use wisdom with receiving prophetic words, it will prevent us from going through so much unnecessary disappointment and hurt. Sometimes we’re bitter about certain things and I believe God is in heaven saying, “but I never promised that to you,” so we end up being mad at God about something that He never even said. Our own emotions and desires led us down that road and resulted in the disappointment. I have had to learn to be wise in this area. God is not always giving you what you want when you want it. There are seasons where He is pruning you and having you to go through the fire to make you. When you know what season you are in, you can better discern what words apply to you in each season. And God can release a word to you that isn’t necessarily for the present season, it could be for the future but you have to be mature and discerning enough to know that it’s not for right now. God will at times release a word way in advance to give you encouragement and hope for the present season and to give you direction for where He is taking you.
If your disappointment stems from an event that did/didn’t take place, remember that there is always hope in Christ. Maybe someone you trusted spiritually let you down and it caused you to question God, maybe a family member or friend passed away, or maybe you’ve gone through one hard situation after another. Whatever it is, don’t let your hope be anchored in life events, situations, or in people (even Spirit-filled people will let you down), let your hope be anchored in Christ. Life comes with many ups and downs, but Christ is the ONLY constant. I went through a long season where a particular situation would not change no matter how much I prayed, and it really discouraged me and caused me to think things would always be the same and it made it really hard to have hope for the future. God showed me in that season that my joy and hope were attached to that situation. My hope was anchored in what was going on around me rather than in Christ. God wanted me to be hopeful and joyful whether the situation changed or stayed the same, He didn’t want my emotions to be tied to life events. God used Hebrews 6:19 to encourage me a lot. My soul had to be anchored in Christ and His finished work, not in what was/wasn’t going on around me. My joy had to be anchored in Him. I also had to ask God for understanding about the situation. God is often doing something behind the scenes through situations that we don’t like. But I had to remember that He had plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). So instead of letting your heart shift to disappointment, ask God to give you understanding about what’s going on around you. I know what it’s like to look at seemingly dead situations and to not want to dare to hope because your spirit is tired of being let down time and time again. I know what it’s like to have your hopes crushed to the point where it seems like it can’t be revived again. But I want to encourage you to put your hope in Christ, He has a reason for everything He allows and He is not a man that He should lie! His plans for your life will come to pass no matter how long it takes. In due time, He will begin to allow things to blossom and prosper around you.
We usually became very discouraged and disappointed in pruning seasons. Those are seasons where God is cutting a lot back. He’s cutting off people, things that we are familiar with, our plans, etc. to make room for what He wants for us. I went through a loooonggg pruning season that lasted years. I didn’t understand what God was doing at first, it just felt like He was causing just about everything to fall apart around me. He was shaking my foundation and whatever wasn’t rooted in Him (whatever didn’t come from Him) was falling off. Although everything around me was falling apart, I was growing a lot spiritually really fast. He was rooting me in Him by removing what wasn’t of Him in my life. I was discouraged about the course of my life but He encouraged me time and time again and even revealed some of His promises and plans for my life. In due season things began to turn around as He began to establish His plans for my life. I just had to stay close to Him and be VERY patient. I had to trust Him no matter what. So don’t be discouraged because it seems like there’s a delay and things aren’t moving, the promise is on the way, things will unfold in due time! God never takes and doesn’t replace. Whatever He removes from your life, He will replace with something better.
I’ve also learned that unmet expectations can make a person bitter, but sometimes their expectations are unmet because they were unrealistic expectations. It’s very important that you have realistic expectations for each season. There’s nothing wrong with having goals, plans, and dreams, but aside from seeking God about those goals, plans, and dreams, you have to make sure that they are realistic. Go into the new year with realistic thinking and a sober mind. If you have practical goals that you can actually work at, then practically work at reaching those goals. But don’t expect to cross off all your goals when you haven’t worked at them, then get disappointed when the year ends and no goals are met. There are certain things that you have to work at to obtain. God can promise that you’ll finish school or become a business owner, but you still have to put in the work to accomplish those things. He’s not going to supernaturally do it for you. He will work with you as you step out in faith and do it. And at the same time, realistically give yourself space for error or for other unforeseen situations. Life is full of unforeseen situations. Things will not always go the way that we expect. And when they don’t, don’t beat yourself up or feel bad. You may not have seen that situation coming but the beautiful thing is that God saw it coming and you can rest in knowing that He has everything under control. That’s also why it’s important to involve God in your plans, He can show you things that you can’t see and He can prepare your heart for things that you can’t even see coming. He can also help you recover from letdowns. Don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. Often times the timeline that we have set for ourselves when it comes to our goals isn’t God’s timeline for us, and that’s ok. In the Kingdom, we are not in a race or competition with anyone. Our desire should simply be to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us and to be where God wants us to be in every season. And yes, God can do the miraculous, but God is not obligated to miraculously fulfill our every desire and expectation. He performs miracles when HE wants to, not always when we want Him to.
So, if you’re dealing with present disappointment or you’ve noticed that disappointment is still lingering in your heart from a past situation, I encourage you to GIVE IT TO GOD and LET IT GO. Holding on to the resentment and bitterness of that situation will only cause your faith to die out. It will cause you to become doubtful and hesitant when God speaks a word to you or a new opportunity is presented to you. It will literally hinder you from going forward. Be honest with God about how you feel. If you’re mad with God, tell Him – trust me, He already knows. If you have resentment, tell Him. If you’re afraid to go forward in anything due to fear of the same thing happening, tell Him. If you’re bitter about the situation, tell Him. Be honest with God, He’s not mad at you when you tell Him how you feel. We can’t get free from something we won’t admit. Once you do tell Him, open up your heart to healing. God doesn’t just want to know your issues, He wants to heal you. Open up your heart and allow the Master Surgeon to do surgery on your heart. Open up your heart to hope! It will take vulnerability and trust, but He is able to restore you. Then identify the source of the disappointment. It could be very likely that you had false hope in something that God never said. In that case, you need to be honest with yourself, repent for putting your faith and hope in your own desires rather than the word of God, and begin to trust God in where He actually has you now. Or maybe your disappointment comes from someone giving you a false prophetic word that never came to pass. I actually went through this. I eventually realized it was a false word because they said God said it would happen by a certain time and it didn’t happen by that time. It crushed me and left me in deep disappointment. In this case, you have to acknowledge that the word did not come from God because any word that God releases comes to past (see Isaiah 55:11). Then you have to forgive that person and entrust them to God. God may even lead you to confront the person about the word being inaccurate. You may also have to search your own heart and see if there was a place in you that was open to receiving a false word. Sometimes people can pick up the desires of your heart and “prophecy” it to you. Whatever the case may be, you have to forgive and let it go. God has so much more for you and when He releases a true word to you, you can be confident that it will happen.
Don’t hold onto your disappointment more than you hold on to the truth of God’s word. Search out the Scriptures for verses about hope, joy, healing, and expectation. You should always be in expectation of the goodness of God no matter what season you are in. God is good regardless of if you are getting your desires met or not. Don’t trust your pain and past experiences more than you trust God. The pain of a major disappointment is very real and I know it first hand, but you have to move on and trust in God again. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Without faith, you can’t even please God. If you don’t have faith that God is good and He has good intentions for you, and faith that He will reward you as you seek Him, you’re not even pleasing Him. If you want to please Him, you will need to have faith again. Ask Him to restore and revive your faith. It might take time, but He can do it. He can totally heal you from the pain and trauma of disappointment. You may cry and you may be afraid to release it because you’re afraid it will happen again, but God CAN restore your heart in that area. The longer you hold onto it, the more likely depression and bitterness will grip your heart. The enemy wants you to get lost in depression. Many people end up turning away from God altogether because of huge disappointments. But make up in your mind that you will come out of that dark cave and believe God again, and when He tells you to make a move, you will trust Him and step out. The enemy would love for you to stay in that dark place so that your faith in God dies and you don’t step into the things that God has for you because of fear. SHAKE IT OFF and LET IT GO! You have to choose to let it go. And stay close to God so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Run after God and LIVE AGAIN!! Decide that your hope in God will exceed any letdowns that you face in life. There is so much more for you in God, let your hope and faith LIVE AGAIN!
“Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”
– Isaiah 43:19
Don’t miss the new thing that God is doing now because you’re still stuck on the old. Push past the old and GO FORWARD!
If this topic really resonated with you and you are dealing with disappointment, pray this prayer:
“Lord, I release my past and present disappointments to You. I let go of the bitterness, the resentment, the fear, the hopelessness, and the lack of faith. I put my faith IN YOU and not in my past or present situations. I repent if I have put my hope in things that You have not promised. I repent if I have allowed my imagination and my expectations to run ahead of You. I repent if I have put my hope in my own desires. I repent if I have run with prophetic words that You have not said were for me. I repent for idolizing my desires. Disappointment and hopelessness will not hold my faith captive any longer. I shake it all off and I trust that you have my best interest at heart. I open up my heart to trust You again. I open my heart to the new things that you re doing. I know and believe that Your intentions towards me are good. You are a good Father who gives good gifts at the right time and I trust You and Your timing for my life! Amen.”
A Few Announcements:
So, it’s a new year and God has been speaking to me about some things that He wants me to do with this blog. I’m in the process of starting those things now. So be on the lookout for:
- A new look and design
- “Heart of Worship” gear and store (shirts, bags, mugs, etc.)
- Webinars/Live video teachings (It’s time to get more up close and personal with my readers! I get a loooot of emails and comments from many of you, especially in the area of relationships. My heart is really to see people grow in their relationship with God and I believe this will help do that even more. Lord willing, I will do some live Q&A’s and topic studies this year. Let me know in the comments section what topics you would like to hear me cover and I will prayerfully consider them).
- Speaking engagements (I’m now open to taking speaking engagements. You can find the booking request form under the contact tab.)
Thank you for reading, commenting, and emailing me with words of encouragement of how this blog is blessing you! It encourages me to continue doing this. I’d appreciate your prayers as I step out and obey God to make this ministry even more effective.
Love you all, God bless! ❤
8 thoughts on “Overcoming Disappointment”
May I share this?
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Or rather, re-post this?
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Sure! As long as you give credit to the source. 🙂
Thank you Deborah for being a vessel in God’s kingdom.
God has used this blog to confirm a lot to me in ways you can’t even imagine. I am grateful for your obedience and I am grateful God is God in our lives.
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Praise God! I’m so happy to hear that! 🙂 God is so faithful!
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Great post. Wonderful message.
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If God does not perform in the way we think He should, we become disillusioned and then start to reevaluate the promise He made to us. This can lead to us wavering in our faith, especially in His sovereignty and His goodness. The scripture says when we are faithless He is still faithful!
When God does not act when we think He should it’s because he moves in His timing not ours. The key to avoiding disappointment with God is to align our will with His will and submit to His rule and reign. When we do this we are saying, “not my will but yours be done.”
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Amen! Very true. When we move ahead of God with our expectations, we become disappointed because we put our hope in what we expected instead of what God actually said.