Yes, the new year means new beginnings. For many of us, it is the time for new starts, new ways of viewing the world, and new approaches to situations. It is an exciting time. If this is you - I pray that you take on your new journey with much enthusiasm, and that prayer to our God for pursuit of this journey is part of your process.
For others, this can be a difficult time of year. It is a time of year when we look back upon our lives and say, "What has happened - why didn't what I planned last year work out?" Maybe you are facing disappointments that range in many different areas. Exploring those now and gaining an understanding of how God can truly HELP us through those disappointments is a great way to start the new year. Wallowing in the disappointment, although very attractive at times, really doesn't help any part of what we are facing. Let's take a look at how we can handle the disappointments.
Disappointments happen in a variety of ways - we can be disappointed in God, we can be disappointed in others, and we can be disappointed in ourselves. Being disappointed in God shows many faces. Did we put our trust in Him and the way we thought things should turn out didn't come through? Let us always remember that God's plan is the one that triumphs over whatever our plans may be. His greater plan, His greater good - will always reign. We don't usually see it that way short-term, yet, long-term, His plan always prevails.
Being disappointed in others happens often. Our expectations and others' actions don't align. This can, many times, be the greatest disappointment of all. Especially when it is with people we love very much. This, as well, can take on many faces. We can set solid expectations with children, spouses, loved ones, and those expectations can be broken. It is very disappointing when that happens, and our heart breaks. Yet, we need to remember that God is the one that, once again, is in control. People have free-will to make decisions that may or may not be good for them. God's plan is always a good one. As people, we need to move forward with what is right, what is good. If we make decisions that are not in line with God's plan, that is the human side of us, the free-will that chooses things. There are ways to prevail - I'll let you in on it soon.
The other area where we find disappointment is in ourselves. We KNOW we are making poor decisions - we KNOW we are doing the wrong things. Yet, we continue to make these decisions, despite what the outcomes bring for us. Many times, it takes personal disasters for us to truly understand the magnitude of our decisions - and our disappointment is great. We can be disappointed in choices, in actions, in words, etc. Being disappointed in ourselves can levy much guilt on us, creating a sense of darkness that is difficult to rise above.
Maybe you are experiencing one of the above disappointments. Maybe you have in the past, and understand the emotion of what I am sharing. I have experienced all three in my lifetime (thus far). Being disappointed in God for His plan was not yielding my plan has challenged me through the years. More recently, I have understood greater that His plan is the one that I follow - and it brings about much more happiness. Being disappointed in others is difficult, especially with those close to you. The expectations you have can be small or great - yet, if they aren't met, it can be tough to manage the disappointment. When people "let you down" it is hard to understand the "why" behind it. I would constantly ask myself a series of questions that would only yield more disappointment. Realizing that people have free-will to make their own decisions, despite encouragement, is hard to grasp. Yet, we need to know that we can't control other people's actions. Being disappointed in ourselves can be the greatest disappointment of all - because we can actually be the ones to change the outcome. It has certainly happened to me. I have missed the chance to make a difference, to say things that would have been more positive, to be more supportive, to handle situations differently. The importance is to find a way to move from that disappointment - from ALL these disappointments.
This only comes in one way - prayer to our Heavenly Father and patience that He will prevail over all the situations we may be facing. Pray to Him for the vision to see His plan (either short-term or long-term). Pray to Him for others that may be going down paths that aren't fruitful for them, that are disappointing, that He will share with you how to handle the person. Pray to Him for the path YOU need to be on when you disappointment yourself, and the ability to forgive yourself for decisions/actions that are not in line with God's path. By focusing on God's word, we can see His plan, we can see His journey. There will be disappointments in life. "God didn't promise you a rose garden." Yet, He did promise you that He would always be there for you, to guide you, to comfort you, to hear your prayers and act upon them in His time.
Confide in God. Talk to Him about everything. Give Him your disappointments. Trust Him with the future of them. He will be forever with you through it all. Hope will be restored and life will be light again. Here's to less despair in disappointments and more hope in Him!!
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)