Not What I Planned
My twenties have not gone according to my plan. So far, my post-grad years have been absent of a fiancé turned husband, a house turned home, and bump-dates turned babies. Though I have the picturesque Goldendoodle, I’ve found myself mourning these common milestones—especially as others receive these blessings on what seems like an open tap.
Deep down in my heart, I know that the Lord knows what’s best and what’s right for me. Still, the root of these feelings is nothing short of pure disappointment.
For Those Who Are Disappointed
If you have breath in your lungs, disappointment has most likely been an unwelcome friend in your life too. You might be discouraged by prolonged singleness or difficult marriage. Infertility or infidelity. Ill health or lost wealth. Whatever shape your disappointment takes, some aspects of life haven’t turned out as you hoped.
By definition, disappointment means to be let down by failed expectations. It’s the feeling we experience when our circumstances don’t match our satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with wishing for certain seasons to be marked by specific milestones. And it’s healthy to grieve when things don’t go as planned. However, a problem arises when we confuse our desires with the Lord’s sovereign plans, assuming they are always the same. We often determine that our plans are the right plans and get frustrated when things don’t go accordingly.
Disappointment is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to distract, defeat, or destroy us. If we want to truly delight in God despite our unwanted circumstances, we must first find the root of our disappointment. Here are three likely culprits:
When it feels like everybody is receiving what they want or what you desire, thoughts like Why her? or Why not me? begin to breed. We can measure our worth and value against the trajectory of others’ lives instead of stewarding our own. When we allow comparisons to drive our disappointment, we lose sight of the blessings and giftings God has equipped us with for his call on our life.
But we can also allow comparisons to birth a benchmark of where we should be in life. I’ve mistakenly measured how old my mom and sister and friends were when they got married and feel “behind” the curve. Comparisons tell us we are “behind” or “before,” but they rarely help us appreciate the timeline God has uniquely given us.
After a recent round of wedding and baby announcements, I realized the root of my frustration stemmed from entitlement. I mistakenly believed God owed me.
As a young single woman, I’ve had plenty of time and opportunities to serve the Lord. But, I’ve found myself using these times of ministry as a tit-for-tat system with God. Hey. Hi! Remember all the ways that I’ve used my singleness to minister for your glory? Will I ever get repaid?
Sometimes we use our worldly works to attempt to barter for blessings. However, viewing our spiritual fruit as a spiritual currency will forever leave us unsatisfied. Instead, as David mentioned in Psalm 37:4, actively delighting ourselves in the Lord rightly aligns our hearts to the Lord’s desires. Entitlement leads us to see the Lord as a means to an end, rather than the ultimate prize he is.
Disappointment is an issue with how we view expectations and battle entitlement, but more importantly, it shows how much we underestimate eternity. Our dissatisfaction with what we think we deserve or desire distracts us from the one thing our sin actually earns us: hell.
There’s no way to sugarcoat the truth found in Romans 6:23. It paints a clear picture, saying, “For the wages of sin is death…” Luckily, for believers in Christ, that sentence doesn’t have a period, but a personal Savior who died to fix this reality for us. Romans 6:23 goes on to say, “...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The foundational truth of the Gospel is that we have all sinned and deserve far worse than we receive. Thanks be to God! His mercy affords us life.
When we realize the only thing we deserve is death, both physically and spiritually, disappointment should dissipate. Everything else pales in comparison to the love shown to us on the Cross.
Icing On The Cake
Are there milestones and moments we will miss and mourn? Absolutely. We don’t have to brush our grief aside. However, we must realize that we often grieve for the life we thought we would have instead of being grateful for the life we’ve been given. So, the next time you find yourself disappointed, adjust your expectations and look to the God of hope. Mourn the disappointment and then fight to abide in joy. Acknowledge the blessings God has given you. But, always remember Christ, not our circumstances, brings contentment.
When we rightly view our lives in view of the Cross, we recognize salvation is more than enough. Everything else is just icing on the cake from a gracious God.
Meet the Author:
Megan Gover is the executive director of Minted Truth, an online Bible study resource for middle school and high school girls around the world. She and her team desire teen girls to know Christ deeper through Bible studies and resources available on their free Minted Truth app. When she’s not meeting with teen girls at a local coffee shop or dreaming up a new adventure, she enjoys cuddling with her Goldendoodle pup while at home in North Texas.