I spoke before a group of sweet ladies last week. Since then I've been asked several times to recap the three Ds. They are a progression, and with God's help, they can be managed. So here goes.
The first is disappointment. It always starts here. Disappointment is just a part of life and cannot be avoided. The example that I gave of a simple disappointment is what happens when you are in a huge hurry and you go through a drive-thru. You order a burger with no ketchup. You don't bother to check it because you wouldn't have time to go into the restaurant and get it redone even if you discovered that it was wrong while you were still there. Isn't that why you are in the drive-thru in the first place? You are in a big hurry.
You get where you are going, you take fifteen seconds to thank God for your food, and as you multitask through several pressing demands, you open up that burger and take a bite. Disappointment. The only condiment on that burger IS ketchup. Of course. :)
The first way to manage disappointment is to change your expectations. It's not negative thinking; it's actually very positive. As you go through that drive-thru think to yourself that today of all days they are probably gonna get that burger wrong. The words 'no ketchup' are gonna sound like 'ketchup only' by the time they land in the worker's ears, even if you repeat it several times. It might be burnt, too.
Now when you get where you are going, take that first bite, and discover 'ketchup only', you see it a bit differently. You take thirty seconds to scrape as much of the ketchup as you can into the trash can, give it a quick squirt of mustard, notice that at least it's not burnt, and you're good to go. Disappointment managed.
The problem is that not all disappointments are that small. Some are huge and cannot be anticipated. And sometimes they come at you rapid-fire. Adjusting your expectations helps, but sometimes disappointments are just going to pile up on you. If you can get yourself together enough to realize that it's happening, then STOP! Take a breath. And then pray!
Did you notice that you (okay, it's really me) spent longer scraping the ketchup off that burger than you did praying? And you and I both know that wasn't a real prayer anyway. It was just the quick fulfillment of an obligation. How many times do we ask as we take that first bite, "Did we pray?" I wish I had a dollar for how many times I've been guilty of that. And we wonder why our lives are a mess.
So, stop. Talk to God for real. It doesn't take long. But make it real. Tell Him you need Him. Ask for His help. Get empty if you need to. I always need to. My new understanding of empty is still not automatic. I battle it constantly. So I need to get empty and allow Him to take over. Tell Him you love Him (if you do). Thank Him. And then go on. Life is better. Disappointments are lessened. I promise.
No matter how well you manage life's disappointments, there are times when they are going to get you. And when they do, you are going to find yourself discouraged. It will happen. Remember, it's a progression. We will talk about discouragement next. It's the second D.
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