Get Used to Disappointment
The sun was blazing against my back as I bent over a pump, the arduous task of blowing air into a blow up pool my goal for the afternoon. My son was in his swimsuit as soon as we arrived home with the new $20 pool. His excitement was contagious and my heart was almost bursting with the joy I knew my kids were about to experience.
But then, my boy said, “Oh, no!” and he stuck his hand through the bottom of the pool, through a hole that had no business being there.
He looked at me crestfallen and I felt the same way on the inside. “Glue, Mommy? Duct tape?”, he questioned, grasping for a possible solution to this unexpected and maddening problem. He knew the answers to the questions, but he didn’t want to accept those answers.
Life is full of disappointments, isn’t it? We learn to manage them by changing our expectations, but sometimes our expectations are perfectly reasonable (expecting a blow up pool to adequately hold water) and when a situation does not live up to our expectations, disappointment creeps in.
The question becomes not will we be disappointed in life?, but how will we handle disappointments?
When we discovered the hole in our pool, I was disappointed, but I was also angry. As a mama, I work hard to give my kids opportunities to have fun. I was expecting that at the end of my hard work of pumping air into the pool, my children would be able to splash in the water and cool off after a hot day. And so, I was angry that my plans had been thwarted, that I had to deal with my own disappointment AND the disappointment in a pair of chocolate brown eyes, and that my efforts were in vain.
Enter one of my favorite parts of being a mom. When I am irritated, frustrated and angry, I have a choice. Do I respond out of those feelings or do I make a decision to respond reasonably and with maturity? My kids are always watching and I am continually modeling behavior before them. I want to choose the appropriate behavior!
I grabbed my boy and held him close, telling him that I was disappointed too. This was not what we expected! It was frustrating to have worked hard for nothing! There was no easy solution!
But we could still choose joy in this situation. We have been blessed in so many ways- it was time to start counting our blessings.
1. We have water that is easily accessible.
2. We have water guns for cooling off.
3. We have siblings to play with us.
4. We have an air conditioned home.
5. We have a beach close by.
6. We know at least 5 families who have beautiful pools, each one welcoming us to come over any time.
7. We get to choose joy.
Too many times I focus on the disappointment. This focus pushes me into a place where I question God. I blame him for the disappointments instead of seeking to learn the lesson he might have for me.
I don’t want to super spiritualize every situation, but I do believe that every situation is an opportunity to teach my kids about God’s heart for us. And it is an opportunity to grow. While I don’t believe that God purposely intended for us to purchase a pool with a hole in it, I do believe that we were given the opportunity to trust him in a situation that didn’t make sense. We often say to the kids “Get used to disappointment”, one of our favorite lines from the movie The Princess Bride. It is an important lesson to learn.
When we understand that disappointments will come, our lives are no longer derailed by these disappointments. We don’t lose sight of truth and we won’t spiral out of control. Will we experience the emotions that accompany disappointment? Of course! But we will come back to a place of trust. Trust in a great and faithful God who desires what is best for us and we will know that his best for us will sometimes look very different than what we consider to be the best.
As I tucked my boy into bed that night, I reminded him to pray one of the most difficult prayers we are asked to pray~
Not my will, but yours be done. ~Jesus, Luke 22:42
This prayer changes everything. Get used to disappointment and see what God will do!