Thursday, April 09, 2009


Today I tweeted this:

Disappointment is not about "what happened", it is about one's expectations about what happened. Still painful and annoying though.

Some people on Facebook thought that I was referring to some sort of potty training setback (because we have embarked upon that lovely challenge at the instigation of the two year old). The situation I was referring to actually had nothing to do directly with the kids.

I realized that the oblique nature of my Tweet made the statement relevant to so many areas of life and that those who read it could immediately apply it to their own personal situations.

That silly tweet doesn't say anything deep or new. In fact, a former boss of mine once said to me: "All the problems in the world are the result of unmet expectations."

I guess the real question is how we deal with the disappointment of our unmet expectations. Do we stomp around and pout like a child? (Sometimes.) Do we wail at the unfairness of it all? (More often.) Do we burst into tears as if our best friend has died? (Depends on how much sleep has been had. Or not.) Do we decide that we are never going to expect anything good again and always assume the glass is half empty? (Been there, done that.)

It probably depends on the nature of both the expectation and the depth of the disappointment. Also depends on what you think you deserve.

Parenting is full of expectations. Of ourselves, of our children, of our spouses. Of our parents, if they are still around. We are probably more forgiving of ourselves than others -- at least I am -- yet I disappoint myself on a daily basis.

Sometimes I wonder how often I disappoint God. I mean, He gave His only Son to die for me, and I can't muster the energy to thank Him as frequently as I should.

But that is where grace comes in. Getting something beautiful that I definitely don't deserve on my own merit. By any human calculation, I fail and disappoint on a regular basis. And God extends grace to me in the form of Jesus.

Although this morning I was very disappointed because my plans were thwarted and I was tired, today is still Holy Thursday, and tomorrow is Good Friday. Good Friday is called "good" because it is Christ's death which paid the price for all of our failures. And in three days we will celebrate His Resurrection, which sets our expectation for eternal life with Him. And that expectation is one that will be fulfilled, because it was promised by the Creator Himself.

Easter reminds me that the disappointments of this life are fleeting, but the promises of the next are forever. And at the end of this life I want to be able to say what Paul said to Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV). And so, during the disappointments, I look to the Father. And this life becomes less disappointing.

*Apologies to Veronica for sortof stealing the title of her last post at 5 Minutes for Parenting.


Veronica Mitchell said...

Apologies? Man, I must have a lot of apologizing of my own to do.

Loved the post. It helped me with my sermon.

Raise Them Up said...

Some really great thoughts!

Jennifer Fink said...

So appropriate for me today, as I struggle to deal with expectations and my responses to my expecations.

Thanks for writing this!


Kristie said...

catching up with your blog a bit this am. so many good thoughts here. expectations matter so much, and sometimes the only thing that rights them is deep disappointment. The good news is that neither Our Father, Our Savior, nor Our Counselor ever disappoint --in fact they always exceed our loftiest expectations.