This past week I encountered the animal of disappointment.
We’re house hunting, and the opportunity for one that I had grown to really like fell through. Guys, there were tears. I was already decorating that home, daydreaming of inviting friends over for dinner. Then it fell through, and I was sad.
Disappointed. And this may sound ridiculous, but it was one of the few times I was strongly hoping for something to happen and it didn’t, leaving me genuinely upset. A closed door. (Besides the big unexpected turns in my life, of course, like my injury. These were similar responses to that season of life also.) My default, even if it isn’t super easy, is usually to quickly say, “You know what, it’s okay, we’ll find something better.” But for some reason this time was different. I wrestled with it.
Wrestled with a discontent about continuing the house search — “I’m only going to compare these houses to that one, I need a break.” — but then a desire to keep looking because I had reached the point that I was eager to move. Our lease is ending and I’m excited to make this step together.
I’m at peace now. Thanks to God’s grace, the love of my husband, and the encouraging (“Chelsea, look at the big picture. Get a grip.”) words from a best friend. Since then I’ve been reflecting about best practices for handling disappointment, asking for wisdom and insight for the next time it happens. Here are my takeaways….
1. Pray. First. Not second or third… first. Granted, mine was a quick prayer: that I wouldn’t wallow too much.
2. Be bummed. It’s okay to release. If I hadn’t let out the tears I would probably have built up some unnecessary resentment, and that’s never great.
3. Move on. You can only sit and stew for so long. Flesh it out, hash it out, talk it out. When you yourself get tired of rolling it around in your mind, it’s time to move on.
4. Shift your perspective. Think of the bigger picture. I thought about all the reasons that maybe this house wasn’t the best for us. I reminded myself that God is in control, that He knows all the details of our lives; He knows who our neighbors will be, what kind of traffic we’ll deal with, etc. This house wasn’t the best for us right now. Praise Him for his provision, His looking out for us, always caring for us!
5. Get motivated again. Start daydreaming again, set your sights on something new and different. Take the opportunity to re-brainstorm what excites you, what you truly want. As you move forward, the setback/let-down, will move to the back of your mind.
Life is full of unexpected changes, hopes and disappointments, ups and downs. Coming out of this experience, I find myself wanting to truly practice these habits, not letting disappointment defeat. We never know what could be waiting just around the bend!