What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Overcoming Disappoinment

Disappointment is the death of a hope or dream. Like all deaths, it's good to grieve. Some of you would rather skip that step. That's foolish. There's only so much sweeping things under the carpet you can do before it starts to smell real bad under there.

But for those of us who have no problem grieving disappointment, there's the equal and opposite temptation: to dwell in disappointment land forever.

Grief can be such a powerful and loaded-up emotion that it can demand all of us. And for a season we might need to pay that steep cost--especially if the disappointment is life-altering in some significant way.

But eventually you reach the point of diminishing returns. Your grief over your disappointment is no longer healthy or processing. It becomes wallowing and incestuous--an endless rehearsing of the events or the feelings.

There comes a point when you have to either decide to allow grief and disappointment to be your God or God to be your God. They aren't fundamentally mutually exclusive--certainly God leads us through grieving processes and, in fact, grieves with us. But there comes a point when he invites us to carry our grief with us into another season, towards a different destination.

And so we have a choice to make. Will we take up this cross and follow Jesus, or will we linger over the disappointment, nurse it, keep the anger and hurt fresh by recycling through the whole thing over and over again?

My father-in-law worked at Kent State University for several years, a campus famous for the shooting of students during a Vietnam Protest. He talked about how for some of the folks who were around back in those days, the clock stopped. They were so shocked that something like that could happen on their beloved campus and they just couldn't move past it.

Alas that some of our lives are stagnating by pooling at the place of disappointment well beyond the shelf life of healthy grieving.

There comes a time when you've got to move on. Some of us try to over-rush that process--those of you in this camp need to allow Jesus to tend to your wounds rather than rush on. But many of us are tempted to over-stay our welcome.

And for us, the point is that this life doesn't stop because of disappointment. There's good work prepared in advance for us to do by our Father. If we let disappointment hijack our lives, we pay the steep cost for the idol we have made in the image of our shattered hopes.

There comes a time to say good-bye to the disappointment and move on.

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