“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” Proverbs 13:12
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Disappointment and discouragement can come at any time and from almost any situation. Often disappointment comes when you least expect it and before you know it you have slipped into discouragement, frustration, confusion and temporary irrational thinking. If you are a person who loves the anticipation of an upcoming event, like I do, then the progression from disappointment to irrational thinking can occur quickly and turn your life into emotional chaos.
I was the unlucky recipient of a bit of news this past week that quickly set me on a roller coaster of emotions and took me on the challenging ride from disappointment to discouragement before I could catch my breath. Compared to many of the VERY difficult things I have faced in my life, I am surprised that I was so thrown off by this seemingly insignificant curveball that was thrown my way. Sitting here this morning, 4 days after the disappointing news, with a better perspective on the whole situation, it is a bit hard to understand how and why my disappointment moved so quickly to discouragement. And with discouragement come the inability to think creatively and problem solve effectively.
My husband and I have saved and dreamed and planned for a VERY long time to go on a Pilgrimage to Israel. We were in the planning stages 3 years ago to celebrate both of our 40th spiritual birthdays, but the trip had to be postponed for a GREAT reason-both of our older daughters were pregnant and one of them was having twins-such a blessing, but not an appropriate time to be overseas. So this fall seemed to be the perfect time to go on our pilgrimage. We had been excitedly preparing for the past few months. This would be the trip of a lifetime with, until things started heating up politically over there and our trip was canceled.
I knew in my heart that I could be patient once again for the perfect time to go to the Holy Land and I understood the practicalities of NOT going into a political hotspot, from a safety standpoint. So rationally, I knew in my head that the decision was wise and yet I was so terribly disappointed. What I was not prepared for was how quickly my disappointment turned to discouragement and emotional confusion. After much discussion and many tears (I am embarrassed to admit), we have come to the conclusion that it is OK to be disappointed but the important thing is that my husband and I will still be able to spend some quality time together, we will still be able to make wonderful memories and explore places we have never been before and it is up to me to have a good attitude. So rather than mourn the loss of a dream, I will trust that the hope of that dream being fulfilled will come to pass someday at the perfect time for both of us. I will be grateful that I get to go on a wonderful adventure with my husband, even though we will not be going overseas and we will see what God has in store for us together during this time.
We then were faced with a dilemma-cancel the entire vacation or plan another adventure during the same time frame. Since it is so difficult for my husband to schedule time off, we decided to plan an alternate vacation. But because I am the one who plans every detail of all of our vacations and I was so emotionally distraught those first few days, the thought of planning a 2 week vacation in a matter of a few days seemed overwhelming. A wise woman, (one of my precious daughters) gave me some sound advice when I was struggling with my disappointment and discouragement over the loss of the “dream” of our perfect celebration. She challenged me (and my hubby-her Poppa) to write down three things that we WANT to accomplish with this block of time we have to spend together and to write down three things we do NOT WANT to have happen. We spent some time writing down our wishes, our fears and our desires and it turned out that we wanted the same things-time together, doing something new (an outdoor adventure) and not being rushed. My husband was NOT interested in spending too much money and I was most concerned about having to plan all the details by myself in such a short amount of time and to be perfectly honest I was afraid that if we stayed in the USA where internet is freely available that my husband would be able to work during our vacation (which really does NOT appeal to me). So we agreed on the parameters and I “got to work” yesterday to plan our adventure and although there were moments of discouragement, I was able to keep at it with many encouraging phone calls from my husband to cheer me on and at midnight last night we had a grand adventure planned that we are both excited about. God is in the midst and with Him all things are possible!!! (Pictures from our adventure will be added to this post next month.)
“I have sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”
When have you experienced a disappointment and how did you handle it?