It’s Friday morning, August 24, 2012. I’m sitting here in my home office with bright sunshine pouring through my windows. I’ve taken the kids to school, had my quiet time, and settled in for a long day of work.
That’s not how this day was supposed to be. My wife and I were supposed to have woken up at the Crowne Plaza hotel by JAX airport. We should be sitting side by side on a Jamaica-bound flight right now.
It was our time. Five days of relaxation at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay. We used our 14th wedding anniversary this month as our excuse to indulge in such luxury but the truth is, we make an serious effort to take a trip by ourselves (without our four kids!) annually. It’s good for our marriage. It’s good for our minds. It’s good for our bodies.
The frustration started piling on when the all-clear tropics were suddenly filled with the menace of Tropical Storm Isaac. Although the direct storm path is just north of Jamaica there is no mistaking the nasty weather this storm will dump on our destination over the next several days. Yesterday morning we prayed and made our final decision: cancel the trip.
I love my four children tremendously. I love my work. Yes, both of my full-time jobs. But I was really looking forward to this getaway. We booked this back in the Spring so I’ve had several months to dream of this time and have been clicking off the days for over a month. Now this.
It’s negativity at it’s worst and it impacts not only myself, but also those around me.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I was truly discouraged. I am still battling the disappointment even now. Nevertheless, walking around in the dumps is not an option. It’s negativity at it’s worst and it impacts not only myself, but also those around me.
Whether it’s a canceled vacation, a sickness, a missed opportunity or frustrations at home or in a job, discouragement comes into our lives from time to time. Dealing with it is important.
When disappointment and discouragement comes my way I try to combat it several ways.
#1. Worship & pray
I suppose this seems obvious. The truth is, when you’re really down it’s often difficult to take the initiative to worship and pray. Our flesh is weak and broken. Our emotions are strained. Our physical bodies are usually weakened, bringing fatigue when we’re discouraged. All of these hinder us in our spiritual disciplines. That is why it’s important to press through. Be honest with God but allow the Spirit to remind you of His promises for your well-being and peace. He is ultimately in control and your situation is not a surprise to God. Having faith and courage in this is the opposite of “dis-courage” so this gives you a chance to confront it head on.
#2. Form a victory plan
One of the best ways to pull yourself out of discouragement is to set a goal that you can accomplish. Choose something that you need to take care of and make it happen. In our case, we’re rescheduling our trip, hopefully, in October. We’ve set our goal and already started the process of rescheduling the trip. This takes my mind off what happened and it puts my mind on the future goal.
#3. Be honest with yourself and others
I don’t want to be negative around others but pretending that I’m not discouraged doesn’t do much good either. Confession is good for our souls. Admit that you’re disappointed but don’t end with that. Figure out your victory plan and close your conversations with the positive.
#4. Focus on gratitude
The more you concentrate on the negative the harder it is to see the positive. Make a willful choice to express gratitude. There are plenty of things you can be grateful for in the midst of your trial. Speak about those. Declare those. Bring yourself into accountability with someone who will remind you if you are dwelling on the negative and help you focus on the positive. You may find that it’s extremely helpful to write down five things you are grateful for each night before going to sleep.
#5. Bless someone else
Naturally, discouragement is centered around us. Something(s) has occurred that knocks us off track and our focus is on ourselves. One way to pull out of this is to find a way to bless someone else. Look for a need in your surroundings and find a way to serve there. Ask yourself what you can do for someone else. You will be amazed at how quickly your attitude starts changing.
#6. Perspective is everything
In our situation we can easily remind ourselves that things could be so much worse. Yes, a disappointment like this can take the wind out of your sales for a moment. At the same time I try to keep my perspective. This is an opportunity that was a life luxury. It’s not even something most people could ever relate to. There are those who will not have food today and I can easily realize how selfish I am if I allow discouragement over something like this to keep me down.
In life, it’s not if discouragement will come, it’s when. Maybe you’re in the middle of it right now. Perhaps you are coming out on the other side. I’d love to know this blog has encouraged you.
What are your own ideas on overcoming disappointment and discouragement?