Disappointment is not easy to live through. It is real and will visit you from time to time. Learning to live and work through disappointment will save you from a life of resentment and bitterness.
Identifying disappointment will help us know what to expect and perhaps give us some insight on how to live through it.
1. People will disappoint you.
All kinds of people will disappoint you in life. At times, even people you love and admire may disappoint you. No one is perfect. Each of us has disappointed other people. Hopefully, it has never been intentional, but it does happen.
2. Organizations will disappoint you.
When you are involved in organizations, there is potential for them to really disappoint you. Perhaps they will not live up to what they state or they fail to respond in the way you assumed they would. This could be a school, church, business, government or civic organization.
3. Circumstances will disappoint you.
There are times in life when we work hard to shape something we love or even the future. Then suddenly, something changes, someone leaves, someone fumbles the vision, or resources are not provided. Transition and change can challenge your attitude and lead to disappointment.
4. Unrealistic expectations will lead to disappointment.
Each of us can have unrealistic expectations. We can have unrealistic expectations of the people we love the most, and even of our nation. As a person who has high expectations of myself and others, I have had to moderate some of my expectations.
Living through disappointment will require us to take a few actions on a regular basis.
Action #1: Realize no one is perfect.
Our unrealistic expectations lead us to assume that people are perfect and operate their lives and leadership perfectly. This is completely unfair and unwise. Personally, I must always remind myself that I am not perfect and I should not expect other people to be perfect.
Action #2: Forgive and let it go.
Forgiving other people who have disappointed us is the key to living with peace and contentment. We cannot hold something against someone else. We have to forgive and let it go.
Action #3: Forget it and drive on.
When we truly forgive and let something go, we also forget about it and drive on. My friend Clebe McClary, who fought courageously in the Vietnam War and paid a high price for our freedom, taught me this principle years ago. He called it FIDO: Forget it and drive on. This is outstanding counsel for each of us when we are disappointed.
Action #4: Give it to God.
God knows everything. He knows where you are. He knows what happened. He knows the people, situation, organization or experience that has disappointed you. Therefore, give it to God. He will take care of you.
There is only one thing you can control in your life: Your response to the situation.
When disappointment comes with people, circumstances, organizations or with life itself, the only thing you can control is your response to the situation. You cannot control others or their actions.
There is one thing you can control: Your response to the situation.
Choose to accept all people.
Choose to forgive and let it go.
Choose to forget it and drive on.
Choose to give all your disappointments to God.
Ronnie Floyd is senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry. This column first appeared on his blog at ronniefloyd.com.