7 Pieces of Wisdom for Navigating Through the Disappointments of Life (reblog)

Wisdom

Written by Ron Edmondson.

“I have the opportunity to sit with many people who are experiencing disappointment in life. Many times, even when we are doing the best we know how, we find ourselves disappointed with where we find ourselves in life at the time.

Life happens. It could be tragedy or a minor set back, but it hurts. Pain is always relative to context. And if we don’t know how to respond, we can have a very hard time recovering.

Having faced disappointment many times in my own life, I’ve learned a few things about navigating through these times. I hope some of my wisdom gleaned through experience can help you.

Here are seven pieces of wisdom for the disappointments of life:

Keep your heart close to God. That’s important always, but especially during times of disappointment. The Psalmist said, “God is close to the brokenhearted.” God is most likely at work in ways you cannot presently see or understand. Often disappointment ushers in some of the greatest seasons of God for your life. Don’t miss it by not listening to Him.

Wait for your emotions to heal before you make major decisions. Recall how the prophet Elijah was ready to die during a difficult period (1 Kings 19). Yet God still had great plans for his life and ministry. We tend to make irrational decisions immediately following times of disappointment. Let some time pass and make sure you are thinking rationally again before you implement major changes in your life.

Don’t quit doing what you know to do. While you shouldn’t make major changes, an equally dangerous tendency to give up or stall until the next opportunity arrives or life gets “easier.” You may need a resting period, but keep your mind and hands busy doing what there is to do today. It will help protect your heart and mind from the attack of fears and doubts. And do things that keep you alive and healthy. Eat, sleep, exercise.

Don’t allow a disappointment to determine your sense of self-worth. Read many of David’s Psalms (22, 69 and 121 are a few of my favorites) .You can read his despair—then as He reminds himself of God’s love and faithfulness, he is restored. Be restored to who you are as a child of God. Beloved. Let God and the people who know you best help determine your worth. It’s monumental worth. Yes, even today! You don’t have to be defined by your disappointment.

(And be on the lookout for signs of severe depression. Things like withdrawal, constant feelings of despair, severe worry, not eating, dark fears or thoughts, etc. Don’t resist professional help.)

Remember, you are not alone. Even though it may feel that way. Back to the story of Elijah, he couldn’t see it at the time, but God had reserved an army of supporters for him. Disappointments are a part of everyone’s experience. There is likely someone who has experienced the same type of disappointment. Don’t be afraid to find them and let them walk through this period with you. (This is not a time to remove yourself from the church community—this is a time to find real, life-giving community.)

Learn everything you can from this period. No one welcomes disappointment, yet most who have experienced it learn some of life’s best lessons during those times. Even failure can be a great teacher. Don’t miss the value of experience.

Move forward when opportunity presents itself. Too many people become paralyzed after a period of disappointment, refusing to ever move forward again. Living an abundant life requires risk-taking. Dreaming again. Loving again. Ultimately, to be obedient to God’s call on your life, you will have to walk by faith again. If you ever hope to escape the moment of disappointment—when the time is right and you’ve grieved your loss or disappointment sufficiently—get on with life.

Learning how to handle disappointments will make your life better. Eventually, God will—if you allow Him to—grant you the privilege of helping others who experience disappointment.

What wisdom have you gleaned from times of disappointment? 

 

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he’s been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.

More from Ron Edmondson or visit Ron at http://www.ronedmondson.com/

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Thank You Mom!

  1. Unconditional love. Mom loved us unconditionally.  Sometimes I would wonder if I am worth her love. She loved me.  In her eyes, I could do no wrong.  Mom loves me, despite my imperfections, weaknesses and failures.  She really has no option, really.
  2. Sacrifice. Sacrificed her own comfort so we could eat.  She would make sure all the children had something to eat, before she could eat.  Sometimes she would go to bed hungry because there was nothing to eat.
  3. Entrepreneurial. Often my father would not leave us money for food. Mom worked hard sewing, crocheting, and selling little goods so we would survive.
  4. Protection. She protected us from abuse.  She took the brunt of my alcoholic father’s anger.  She would shield us from the beatings, taking it all in, as if she were a punching bag.
  5. Advice.  Mom gave us wise advice.  She often reminded us that we should work hard, if we wanted to rise above the cycle of poverty in which we lived.  Mom often told us the benefits of marrying a Godly wife.  She would quote Proverbs 19:14 which says, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
  6. Cheerleader, encourager. Mom attended many of my school award ceremonies.  She would be there to cheer me.  I often overheard her bragging about my achievements.  She is my cheerleader.  Mom is still one of my biggest encouragers!!
  7. Teacher.  Mom taught us the meaning of life, the value of perseverance, and the importance of prayer. Missing church was never allowed.  Going to bed before prayer was discouraged.
  8. Mom hid her pain. When she went through hard times, mom hid her pain from us.  I think she still does.  Marriage problems, headaches, burdens of lack of food, mom would not let me know the depth of her pain.
  9. Hope.  Mom always hoped tomorrow would be better than today.  She often reminded us that life would not always be so unbearable. There will come a day, when all the pain would be in the past.  She taught us to always hope; to always trust; to always believe God would hear our prayers, and change our circumstances.
  10. She came back. There was a time when she was separated from my father.  Mom had run away from the abuse.  This was a time when I missed mom dearly, as a lived hundreds of miles away from her.  One time she came to visit.  When she saw my condition, she gave up her independence to be with me.  She reconciled with my father so she could take care of me.

Today, I say “Thank you mom.  Today, I thank my mom for who she is.  I thank mom for all she went through for us.  I thank mom for teaching us perseverance, love, and determination.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

mom

As we celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I am cognizant of the fact that this day brings diverse emotions in all of us.

  • For some, becoming a mother was not your plan.
  • For some, your mother was not ready for you to come into the world
  • For some, you were unable to be a mother.
  • For some, your mother was not the best mother around
  • For some, being a mother has brought untold heartache and pain;
  • For others, motherhood has brought great joy and hope.
  • For others, your mother is/was the best mother the world has ever seen.

Regardless of your experience with motherhood, I want to challenge you to wish your mother, and/or any other woman in your life “Happy Mother’s Day.”  I like the advice below:

“Make a list of 31 things your wife (mom, sister, grandmother, etc) does for you and the family which you seldom thank her for. Make a point of thanking her specifically for one on each day of the coming month. On each day of the following month pay her a new compliment on one of her good attitudes, character qualities, habits or talents. And be prepared for a better relationship than you’ve enjoyed in quite a while.” – Source Unknown.

Happy Mother’s Day!