DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT
Success in life is not a casual stroll. It's a press.
To press means to expend maximum effort. Some Bible translations use the word strain. For example, instead of "I press toward the mark," another writer interprets it as, "I strain to complete my race."
I received a great deal of feedback a couple weeks back regarding "pressing toward the mark," that I want to expand my discussion and talk about dealing with disappointment.
Our life is comprised of more than spiritual things alone. There is a press that is necessary to make relationships work and to manage your money effectively. A press to keep your body healthy. It’s a press to eat the same food in the DFAC over and over...It’s a press to succeed in your tasks and skills as we prepare to deploy. These are areas that have a very practical component to them.
My pastor taught me that just as a diligent press of faith begins with hope (or in other words, a positive expectation), the opposite is true as well. The first step toward defeat is a negative expectation.
Negative expectancy is an enormously destructive attitude that develops through repeated disappointments.
The force of disappointment in human experience is far more powerful than most of us ever suspect. It's responsible for sending many believers to defeat.
Once disappointment has set in, the second step down the path of defeat is discouragement. The children of Israel once took that step. When they left Egypt their hope and expectancy had been very high. But the harsh realities of the desert soon brought them to the place of disappointment. And disappointment unchecked always leads to discouragement. How will you address the harsh realities of the desert?
If you don't take decisive action to break out of this cycle, you will invariably move from disappointment to discouragement to despair.
Obviously, if you're going to avoid defeat and walk in the God-kind of life, it's crucial that you deal properly with disappointment. To find out how to do that, just look back at Philippians 3:13, where Paul says you must forget "those things which are behind."
The quickest way to get into discouragement and despair is to focus on past disappointments. So don't do it! Don't dwell on the disappointment you felt when you didn't get promoted. Don't keep mentally rehearsing those words of rejection that were spoken to you. Those memories will put you on the fast track to despair, deception or worse.
Even thoughts about the good things in the past can trip you up. They can lead you to feel disappointment about your current situation if it's not quite as bright as in days gone by.
Good or bad, you must leave the past behind. So, every time a memory of a disappointment arises in your consciousness (the Bible calls them "vain imaginations"), cast it down. Then press on toward "the mark for the prize of the high calling of God."
Be encouraged: If you’re not pressing now, then you have to change. And we don’t like change. The bible says we are changed by renewing our mind to God’s word. When we get to our next assignment, we must feed ourselves God’s word, known as the bread of life! Bible studies, committing your way to Him, and starting to overcome the circumstances that threaten to trip us up and take us down the road of defeat. It's critical to pray regularly and to surround ourselves with people who encourage us and lift us up, not simply help us wallow in our sorrows. It’s then that we’ll begin to live God’s kind of life, pressing toward the mark, and moving into a new season of growth, joy, and a satisfaction that comes from knowing that we're running the race God designed just for us!
LEADER PRAYER: Lord, the path before us is known only to you. We are secure in knowing we never press forward on our own. Help us remember that truth as we lean on you to lead us for your name's sake. Thank you for sending Jesus that we never walk alone! Amen.
Blessings on your week --