I’m no psychologist (though I am taking advanced psych right now, which is everything I hoped it would be), but if I had to hypothesize about what distorts people’s minds the most in life, it’s disappointment and rejection. And by distortion, I mean the things that stay with you and have the potential to influence how you think and behave in a negative way. The things that stay with you and hurt you and give you the potential to hurt other people—if you let them, that is. Of course there is always the choice to overcome the bad things that have happened to you, but many people struggle with this, and I think especially so when it involves two of these feelings, which at many times overlap with one another.
I had something that happened to me recently that felt like one of the biggest letdowns. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments before; you look ahead to a certain moment or event and think it’s going to give you some sort of completeness and joy, and then something comes up and screws everything up. There are so many things in life that God has blessed us with to give us joy, but completeness is one of those things people have to be careful with because anytime someone expects something to fill one of their deepest needs, it literally invites disappointment. That’s why it’s so crucial to trust God with those deepest needs because He always delivers. I almost said that God will never disappoint, which IS true, but I have to be honest, there are times where it doesn’t feel that way. If we put life in perspective and look at the grand scheme of things, which I did upon getting some upsetting news that led to my disappointment, you get this beautiful view of life that examines it and says it doesn’t matter. Disappointments and rejection, that is, do not matter, not when you have God. He’s bigger and so much better than even the worst trial and can give you peace through literally anything. When you take time to calm your mind and conflicting emotions that arise in intense situations, you get that supernatural perspective.
However, emotions can feel paralyzing at times. I know when this event happened to me and I heard about it, I had to be strong for other people, and before I could even pray and process it myself, I actually did feel this sense of calm and peace that certainly came from God just when I needed it, and I had the strength needed to speak wisdom to others. I wish I felt that way all of the time, but being human and at times broken myself, that didn’t last forever. When the reality of it all had time to sink in, I was left with an overwhelming sense of emptiness. It felt debilitating. In fact, I remember feeling abandoned by God altogether, which tends to be the natural response whenever disappointment surfaces. That feeling, let me tell you, is one of the worst ever. It’s one thing to feel abandoned by people, but to feel abandoned by God makes you feel hopeless. So many of the Psalms talk about feeling abandoned by Him, though, so you’re not alone if you’ve ever felt that way and it doesn’t make you a bad person, AND most importantly it doesn’t mean that He actually has. He never leaves your side, though sometimes He lets us struggle with our emotions so that we can humble ourselves and grow closer to Him. I know it’s easy to wait for big, showy reactions from Him, but He works his greatest powers through even the seemingly most littlest things that end up working behind the scenes to coordinate things in your life that you don’t even comprehend. It does make you wonder how many things we take for granted that He’s worked behind the scenes on or how many things He currently is and you just have no idea.
I remember John Piper had a really good quote that I know is so true, about how God could be doing thousands of things in your life, and you are probably only aware of a couple of them.
I think that’s what we just have to remember in the midst of disappointment. It only tells one story. And it may seem heartbreaking, but you have to look at how some of the most inspiring and beautiful things in history have first started out looking depressing and irredeemable, but behind the scenes, God works everything together to make it beyond special. Look at the death and resurrection of Jesus Himself. Emotions can make us feel crippled, but tell yourself that God is greater. You don’t have to feel Him all of the time because feelings only tell a part of the story, too, and He’s there anyway. You get the strongest perseverance in life through those nights where all seems hopeless. The sooner you can learn that in life, the more peaceful, joyful, and mature you’re ultimately going to be.
There’s a song I heard recently that is not in any way associated with faith (so don’t get mad at me if my interpretation of the lyrics is way off hahahaha), called “Night Changes” by One Direction. I love One Direction, okay, and this song from what I gather talks about how a night can set off one way where you’re going on a date or something fun like that, and then something comes up that tries to ruin it. But the overall message seems to be that even when things come up and the night does change, it won’t change the relationship of the two people involved.
Like I said, hopefully I’m not way off on this and that song is not X-rated like one of my favorite songs of theirs when I was at the ripe age of 10 and had no clue as to its actual meaning until now…BUT I do not think that is the case with this one, and I think it can be applied to our relationship with God. Even when things come up and try to steal our joy and happiness in life, it’s never going to surprise or hold back God, and it is never going to stop His love and careful watch over our lives. It is never going to stand in the way of His joy and peace that we can have no matter what.
By the way, to all my girls, the One Direction music video for “Night Changes” is absolute gold… Five cute boys each take you on a date, what could be better? Look it up and thank me later, it’s the little things in life. :’)