When You are Disappointed in Your Life

“This is not the way that it’s supposed to be.  My life was not supposed to go like this.  I should be in a different place.  I should be with different people.  I should have been born in a different era, to a different family, in a different country, with different physical traits or mental capacities.  I should have been richer, taller, or skinnier.  I should have a better job, a better spouse, better kids, or better parents.  I should be happier, but I’m stuck in my life and unable to escape the hole.  It is what it is.”

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?  If so, you may be disappointed in your life.  It’s not that there is only one thing that stinks, but perhaps many things that just aren’t what you expected or desired.  It’s also not that there is anyone else specifically to blame for the disappointment as if someone did something that ruined our lives (though perhaps there are some runners up).  Perhaps it is more a series of events that have unfolded which seem to have brought you to this Life of Blah.  If you’re dealing with general disappointment in how your life has turned out, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Life can certainly be difficult when you are in difficult circumstances and have difficult people in your life.  Maybe you feel like you can’t make them happy.  Maybe they cause suffering in your life and you don’t experience the happiness you would like because of them.  Remember this, if you live to please other people, or even to please yourself, you will frequently be disappointed.  Why? Because they will never be pleased 100% of the time.  And if we look inside ourselves, we also see that our hearts are also never satisfied.  We always want more (Read Paul Tripp’s book “The Quest for More” on this topic).  And as we always want more and are never truly satisfied with what we have in this world, we will always be disappointed.
  2. Although there may not be any person that has caused such disappointment in your life, there is one constant in all of your circumstances and relationships. To put it bluntly, that constant is you.  What you believe will affect how you perceive your life. How you perceive events in your life will effect how you react or respond to situations.  Disappointment stems from your beliefs.  If you believe you should receive a life without suffering, any struggles will be perceived as unfair, unjust, and unwelcome.  You will be disappointed because you did not receive what you thought you should.
  3. You have many options on what to do with this life.  When some people consider that their life simply stinks or is horrible, some people only see two options: 1) Live a horrible life without happiness; or 2) commit suicide (see my blog Considering Suicide if this is what you are thinking).  These are not the only two options.  Life can get better, but it is a series of many decisions over time that you must choose.  One such choice is to choose to live a better life.  Life is not something that happens to you, it is a gift given by God.  So choose to live it.  Make living an active verb, not a passive one.  You can overcome because Christ has overcome for you (John 16:33, I John 4:4).

My mother-in-law has many mottos to live by.  One such motto is this, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”  And if you don’t get what you want, she’d say, “too bad, so sad.”  This little bit of tough love demonstrates what we need to hear from time to time. We don’t get to choose what happens to us in life, but we do get to choose how we respond.  Disappointment is a typical human emotion brought on by certain desires or expectations that don’t come to fruition, but how we respond will either reflect our faith and trust in God’s will / plan for our lives or whether we are constantly grieving that our will was not done.  I am reminded of the lyrics of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It is Well.”  After losing his daughters in a sinking boat in the Atlantic Ocean, he visited the location and penned these words: “When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, Though has taught me to say, It is well. It is well, with my soul.”  Horatio’s peace and joy did not come with the right circumstances or the right people in his life, it came because he had the right trust in the One whom is in control and who makes good from the bad.  This is how we deal with the disappointment in life.

For more in the “When You Are Disappointed” Blog Series, click on the Below Links:

When You are Disappointed in Your Spouse

When You are Disappointed in God.