Pulling the Plug: Overcoming Disappointment

Disappointment.  Obviously it is a part of all of our lives.  You open your heart up to a dream, a desire.  Something that you want.  Maybe you know it is a long shot, but you begin to hope.  Maybe you even feel an invitation.  Almost like God is wooing you.  Wanting you to open your heart more, dream more, bigger, beyond what makes sense.  So you dare.  You step into it.  You lean into it.  You hope.  You choose to believe.  You buy in.  Along the way life is happening around you and it is good, but you are going beyond just good.  There is going to be a dream fulfilled and you are going to be a part of it and God is on your side and it is going to happen.  Like a sailor with the wind at his back - you are going where you want to go and all the momentum is in your favor.  There is little better than this feeling.  You know that this is going to happen.  

As your hope and your dreams grow so does your boldness.  The naysayers and the pharisees come with their “just take it easy son” commentaries.  Instead of listening and dismissing their rabble privately you invite them in.  You put yourself out there.  You let them know that God is doing something different here.  You thank them for their time - but you know that there are brighter days coming.  You are excited about the story that is going to come forth when this comes to pass.  Not only is it going to feel awesome.  But people will know.  They will see a difference and they will be invited to recognize that God is moving.  This is the stuff that great stories are made of.  This is how it happens. 

 Dream.  Risk.  Believe.  Hope.  Move into action. Pray.  Believe.  Live it.  Celebrate.  This is awesome.

Except when it doesn’t happen.   The dream comes crashing down.  The financing doesn’t come through.  The storm does.  The doctor doesn’t say what he is supposed to.  The promotion never comes.  The accountant has some bad news. The man or woman that you thought you married walks away.  The house gets sold out from under you.  The business fails.  It goes bad.  Then what? 

When a dream dies you have a few choices at your disposal.  You can  huddle up with the pharisees and thank them for sharing their infinite wisdom with you while you apologize for daring to dream.  You can shut down your heart and drink from an unending flow of bitterness that will flow from the disappointment that is inside of you. You can stay in bed and try to block out the world.  You can grit your teeth and keep moving. Bound and determined not to let things get you down you can keep stepping forward.  You can surround yourself with safe small minded thinkers who nourish your fear and encourage you to become and remain risk averse.  You can become jealous and angry of anyone who has the courage to dream.  Or you can do something different.  

You can be honest about the pain and you can let it go.

Letting go of a dream is hard.  Letting go of the disappointment that comes with it -even harder.  Perhaps it is one of the defining moments of our lives.  Can we let go of the disappointment and move forward?  For me the letting go is not pretty.  Usually it involves tears and snot, colorful language and at least one close friend looking me in the eyes and loving me enough to firmly challenge me to let it go.  Then when it rears its ugly head again 5 seconds or 5 minutes or 5 months later I have to go though the process all over again.  It is like grieving.  Because it is grieving.  The only thing that you can really do is make a choice to keep your heart open to the Lord and to those who love you.

So I let go.  I start to feel better.  It feels like I am letting go of control.  In reality I am letting go of the ability to be controlled by the past.  When I do this I inevitably end up feeling like myself again.  Criticism and irritation go and peace comes.  Anger and frustration leave and vision for the future is released.  I can dream again.  Letting go of disappointment is hard.  It is a process.  It is also the only way to move forward armed with all that we have learned in the journey up until now.  We have been given a lot that is meant to serve us in the next season of life.  We just wont be able to access it the way that we are supposed to without letting go of the disappointment first.  

So get honest with God today.  Get honest with a trustworthy friend.  Pull the plug on the disappointment and let it drain out.  And as you do embrace the peace that comes.  Embrace who God has made you to be and start dreaming again.  That is who you are.  A dreamer who is making a difference.