Handling Disappointment & Unmet Expectations

ACFW Advice, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, Learning 3 Comments

By Donna L.H. Smith

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been disappointed in writing or life — or had unmet expectations — I’d be a rich woman.

Because disappointment is a part of life and how we handle ourselves, our feelings, our responses when life throws us a sucker punch…

Let me tell you a story. Eighteen years ago, I was in a Bible School through our church at the time. It was life-changing to me.

Something happened just about a month before I was finished with class. A teacher and I discussed an issue not related to class, but that talk had me stewing all night long.

The next morning, a fellow student said something off-hand, and I was so upset, I ran to the bathroom. My teacher followed me and asked me what had happened. Through my tears, I explained the discussion and how disappointed I was about the outcome. She said something to me I’ve never forgotten.

“This is a test, and how you respond will determine your future.”

I felt like I’d already had my guts pulled out, then stuffed back in. But you better believe I was determined to respond “correctly.” I was tested that weekend more than I’d ever been tested previous to that time. Since then, I’ve had worse.

A few years later, I underwent another test of great disappointment and unmet expectations that made the first test seem like a cakewalk, as all my dreams at the time were crushed, leaving me emotionally devastated.

I was attempting to become a “certified” teacher with a national ministry. I was so excited about it. God seemed to be opening doors for me, and I loved the preparations, the practice teaching, all of it.

But something happened. Looking back on that time, the only thing I can think of was that after passing one test, I flunked the next one. These were character tests. I did well in handling one disappointment, but an offense slipped in. As a result, I said and did a couple of things that ruined my chances of getting what I wanted.

It took me ten years to recuperate and heal to the point where I’d risk stepping out in that area again. During another time of prolonged disappointment, God inspired my pastor to restore me. I’m so thankful. It helped me get through that difficult time.

Even when things happen, we still have to try. When we’re not pleased with the outcome, we still must give effort. And sometimes the effort fails. But we can’t just dig a hole for ourselves and crawl in. We have to keep trying, keep the faith, and hang in there. God hears our prayers and He is with us.

Eventually, as we continue to pursue the Lord, things change. Doors open. God’s presence leads and guides us—and we take another step closer to our destiny—that place of favor, and what my pastor calls our “sweet spot” — convergence — where it all comes together.

Trusting God with our lives involves having faith in our God, that He knows what’s best. By Donna LH Smith #ACFWBlogs #writingencouragement @ACFWTweets www.acfw.com/blog

Donna L.H. Smith, award-winning novelist, is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Lancaster County, PA, writing for over forty years. She writes historical romance and currently serves as the ACFW Mid-Atlantic Zone Director. Her second novel, Rose’s Redemption was just released, and placed 2nd in the 2017 Golden Leaf.


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