Handling Disappointment

Life is full of disappointments.

Its not cheery, but its true. They come in all shapes and sizes and they matter.

I’ve been journeying through a few disappointments recently. Some of them big, some of them small, some personal and some relational.

As we grow up we learn so many practical and educational things but not many people grow up with someone teaching them to properly care for their hearts and handle their emotions. When it comes to handling disappointment I admit Ive never really known what to do. I guess Ive mashed together what I saw around me growing up with what Ive learnt from observing both the world and the church. The messages Ive received go something like this…

  • keep calm and carry on
  • have a good attitude
  • find the positive in it
  • be sad inside but don’t show it
  • but on a brave face in front of people
  • handle with humour, sarcasm and diminishment
  • toughen up and move on

Ive chosen to disregard most of those ways. They don’t work for me.

Im trying a different way, a more honest way, a more wholehearted way, a way that honours my story, reflects my faith, grows my character. A way that keeps me soft, open, willing to risk and try again. A way that I would advise others to do but struggle to give myself the grace for. By no means have I got this nailed but I’ve been trying this instead of the above….

  • Brutal honesty in prayer, there’s no point of sugar coating stuff with God…he knows what we really think and feel, and he resides in our reality not our denial.
  • Honesty with my family and a trusted few.
  • Acknowledging and owning my disappointment and other consequential feelings.
  • Catching and rejecting lies about God, myself and others that come up.
  • Allowing myself to fully feel the range of emotions that ensue.
  • Acknowledging that whatever it is matters.
  • Receiving love and comfort from the Lord.
  • Mourning what I’ve lost if its a big disappointment
  • Looking forward with gratitude and hope….I’m going to be ok
  • Seeing what I can learn from it

That sounds like a lot but considering most of this stuff happens in our minds and we think thousands and thousands of thoughts every day its not really. I want to give you an example of how this looks with a real situation to bring it to life.

I had a writing rejection last week and I was deeply sad and disappointed. When I got the email I knew immediately that it was a big moment, I felt the weight of it, I knew my response was critical. I could sense the love of the Father so strongly inviting me to walk with him right from the beginning, I knew there much freedom he wanted to teach me.

Its personal and raw but I want to walk you through it, because God walked me through it and it was hard, beautiful and worth sharing.

I got the email in front of Jon and Sophia as I read it out I tried not to cry, I knew instantly, this is worth tears…let them come…so I did. I wanted to harden up to protect Sophia but instead I was vulnerable in an age appropriate way, giving her permission to be sad when she is disappointed. I wanted to go inward and shut Jon out, but I softened and let him comfort me. It was so hard and so holy.

It was time for the school run and Jon offered to do it and take Soph. I wanted to say no, I hate feeling like a burden, but I didn’t I gave in and let him help me. It was so hard and so holy.

The dog needed a pee so I took him out in the garden, horrible thoughts assaulted my mind

‘Your a rubbish mum anyway, your not the right person to have written that book’

‘Your writing isn’t good enough’

‘Just give up’

‘Im totally overwhelmed, Im never looking at it again’

I wanted to agree with the negative thoughts, indulge in them, let them grow, allow in negativity and self pity. But I didn’t I rejected them and replaced them with truth

‘Im an imperfect writer and mum but I try my best’

‘I can cope’

‘Im not giving up’

It was so hard and so holy.

I went upstairs got in the bath and sobbed my heart out, I felt ridiculous but it was so releasing. I prayed, I read psalms, I journaled honestly about it all. I fought against ‘putting my best foot forward’ and ignoring what I felt, I let all my emotions pour out. This took a couple of days because Im a mum and my life isn’t filled with endless hours to reflect, but I found the time when I could. It was so hard and so holy.

I spoke to a couple of people I love and trust about it all. I wanted to sound super spiritual and say all the right things, I wanted to make jokes to lighten it all, but I didn’t. I let their words of love and encouragement come into my heart, I told the truth about how I was doing. It broke down my pride and faking it. It was so hard and so holy.

One of the most beautiful parts of it all was chatting it though with my kids. Letting them see me sad, inviting them into my process with the Lord, letting them see that I get affected by life too, and thats its ok to have feelings. Showing them we can be disappointed without giving up hope.

Finally I began to look forward with hope and honesty, trusting the Lord for my future. Im still figuring out all that Ive learnt through the rejection and disappointment, but one things for sure Ive learnt how to handle my heart better in disappointment! Im shedding off the false messages and destructive coping mechanisms. Im saying no to medicating, distracting and diminishing my pain, and you know what I feel good. I feel hopeful for the future.

Sorry for the long blog, it was a long journey!

As always I hope it gets you thinking about your own story

Love Emma x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sabbath; practising a value driven life

As a family we aim to practise sabbath. A day of rest, delight, fun, beauty and togetherness.  Sunday through Friday is busy with life. Like most families we juggle work, school, cooking, cleaning, shopping, after school clubs, church, friendships, exercise and a few surprises along the way! So Saturday is a day apart from duty and obligation. It is removed from expectation and demands. We all love it.

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Two weeks ago we got a puppy and it’s been a little crazy to say the least. Where some vague routine used to exist it’s plunged into survival mode. The previous 7 weeks included 4 trips away, although sabbath is something we practise….let’s just say it’ been a while.

I woke up on Thursday and I was done. The house quite understandably was a tip and my abiliy to cope with it was over. I decided when Saturday came we were going to have a sabbath. I know myself and my family well enough to know we never rest as well in chaos. Rest is not just a lack of activity it’s a state of mind.

So for 2 days we all chipped in and cleaned and tidied the whole house. At 7pm last night after 48 hours I finished the final touches and set the table for the following morning. I sat down and chilled….it was worth the work, I relaxed and slept like a baby.

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I woke up and I felt so light,  the joy of just walking through a clean house, eating, reading, playing, laughing and connecting,  without the weight of jobs that would normally need to be done. The kids felt valued and seen as a special place was set for them at the table in place of the normal rush and grab of a bowl of cereal

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We took our time, we went out for a walk and giggled at Barney diving in the sand. We ate chips in the car then came home to a movie

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I’m typing this in the bath now the 24 hours nearly over. We never switch off on a Saturday night with last minute plans and thoughts for church on a Sunday. So this 24 hours is our good gift given to us by a good God if we will take the time to plan for it and time accept it

Every Saturday is not perfect. That’s not a standard I would ever try and aim for.  I don’t want a perfect life.  That doesn’t’ exist. But I do fight to live by my values and sabbath is a value that keeps our family, faith and sanity strong.  It let’s our kids know they are important. I remember I am a human being and not a human doing. We all remember that we are loved for who we are and not what we do.

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Is there a lapsed discipline or delight in your life?

Have you ever considered a sabbath? Life is busy,  our minds and timetables are busy. Every family is different and a whole day doesn’t’ work for everyone,  could you set apart a few hours?

Do you need a rest?

Love Emma x