Disappointment feels like a heavy rock sinking to the bottom of my spirit—especially when others disappoint or deceive me. Often I ignore my disappointment, shut it in a box and hope the lid holds. Sometimes I gloss it over with a quick, “People will let you down, but God never will.” True, but does this really help me process the hurt?
One morning, I poured out my sadness, anger and disappointment to God about a close relationship. As the tears slipped down my face, I begged for an answer:
What do I do with this? Show me. I’ll do it because what I’ve been doing is not working.
In my spirit, Jesus said, “Grieve.”
Really? I questioned. I remembered that Jesus knew disappointment—Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal and the disciples falling asleep during his anguish before his crucifixion (see Matthew 26). Jesus understood my pain.
So I cried, feeling every ounce of the disappointment. I told God all the things I wished were different, all the things I thought this person had done wrong, and what I wished this person would change.
After the winds of grief subsided, I was done. Grieving was the bridge I had to cross to move beyond the disappointment. On the other side, I could embrace the relationship for what it was, not what it wasn’t.
Only after we’ve allowed ourselves to grieve will we know how to respond in the way God wants. We may need to talk to the person who disappointed us or get godly counsel. We may need healthy boundaries or to just let it go.
Once we’ve completed those steps, the words “People will let you down, but God never will” will be comforting, not empty.
By Melanie Chitwood