I had a couple of disappointments this past week. I know that’s not unique to me! Disappointment happens to all of us.
I believe our ability to shake off a disappointment is affected by the balance of our current circumstances. When life is going well, it’s easy to shrug off frustration and move on.
The baseball player who is batting .160 will agonize over a 0-for-4 day, while the player hitting .305 will quickly shrug off that same 0-for-4 day. The basketball player who is hitting 50% of their free throws will miss one and think, Here I go again! But the player who makes 80% assumes if they miss one, they’ll make the next.
You might be in a place today when it’s not so easy to shrug off a disappointment. You may be struggling with the work you are doing, your co-workers, or your leader.
If you’re unemployed right now, I’m pretty sure life isn’t where you want it to be. In times like these, we often become “creatures of the moment,” where the most recent occurrence has a disproportionate impact on our life and our mood, good or bad.
But especially bad.
Our long-term memory doesn’t do us any favors either. It tends to hold onto disappointments, not blessings. Most of us can remember every offense, hurt, and slight, regardless of how long ago it occurred.
In Deuteronomy 8, Moses commanded the children of Israel to take time and remember how God was with them, lest they forget.
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years … You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.Deuteronomy 8:1-2, 17-18
That’s good advice for us today. If we don’t take time to remember God’s blessings, we’ll get stuck in the moment when things are bad. Or we’ll assume we’re the one responsible when things are good.
Remembering is important. To regain some perspective, it might help you to stop for a moment and write out all the blessings in your life. I’ll bet your list is long.
Look for those memories where you can say to yourself, “There is no way I could have done that! It was truly a blessing of God.” I can’t guarantee the short-term effects of this exercise, but you’ll gain a happier and healthier outlook in the long run.
Count your blessings and see where it might lead you.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you remind yourself of God’s blessings when times are tough?
Dale Kreienkamp is a keynote speaker, Human Resources consultant, and the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.