“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Remember the story of the rich man who approached Jesus and asked how to get into the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus told him to go and sell all he had and follow him? The rich man was so sure of himself because he kept the letter of the Law. He left very disappointed. There’s so much the rich man must have been thinking. He was humbled. Maybe he thought he could earn it (we’ve all done that). And to let go of great wealth? Wouldn’t we all struggle with that?
We all have and will be disappointed. With others, with circumstances, with God and with ourselves. Mostly expectations of how things should be and how they actually are.
We are disappointed daily with traffic, weather, loss of a client, unexpected bill and catching the flu. There are major disappointments too like someone leaving the faith, death, relapse and absent answers to prayer. Don’t “stack” your disappointments. An example of this is I woke up today with horrible allergy symptoms, the wind is roaring and the national news is awful. I just stacked these disappointments into a miserable day like a Costco warehouse!
Fixed mindset. Things shouldn’t be this way! No, they shouldn’t, but they are. We have daily mindset training, and Paul says beautifully how and what to think about in the above verse. Martin Luther King reminds us that disappointment is everyone’s lot in life, though disappointments don’t last. Did your parents say, “The people in (some foreign country) would be glad to eat whatever food you disliked? (Peas, yuck) The start of a negative mindset. I still won’t touch peas.
There are no shortcuts to maturity. We change our minds so easily in some areas and dig our heels in others. So Paul tells us to think “about these things,” which puts us back into gratefulness. We may not feel grateful but we know we are. When I was commuting in a blizzard, anxiety and dread were strong! The vision of my car sliding into a pit was all I could see! I prayed for safety for myself and other commuters. My white-knuckling fingers relaxed on the steering wheel and the vision of having enough water in my drought-stricken area because of the snow helped me get home. Tuning the radio station dial to a positive Christian station helped. Mindset. Such a tough habit to form, especially under pressure! I have not fully accomplished this yet. A recent computer crash humbled me. Baby steps.
Self-Loathing. As the common phrase says, “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet” starts with you being patient with yourself. We have had years of disappointing thoughts and situations that it may take years to flip to hope and gratefulness consistently. I read, “It takes a day to grow a mushroom and years to grow a tree,” Our Father doesn’t change us overnight. He could but good character just isn’t an overnight achievement. With the Father’s help, we’ll have a new and positive mindset.
Sometimes we brush off disappointing circumstances and feelings but they must be faced especially our disappointments. But with grace and support, we improve much quicker and with gratefulness creative solutions appear.
We aren’t in heaven yet so disappointments are everywhere! Thank you for the discipline of centering our minds on much more fruitful and rewarding thoughts. We always have so much to be thankful for, starting with Your Son, Jesus.