I was disappointed.
Actually, I was beyond disappointed. I had to take a moment to honestly assess my thoughts and feelings. I pride myself on trying to look at things rationally, not just emotionally. After all, I am a lawyer, purportedly trained to not take things personally and not react emotionally
But I did take this personally. I was hurt. Wounded. I told myself I had predicted this outcome correctly. I, and everyone else, should have known. Hadn’t I expressed my doubts? A part of me wanted to shout out, “See I was right! If you had only listened to me! I saw this coming.”
The more I thought about the situation, I realized that not only was I disappointed, I was actually angry.
Have you ever felt that way? Utter disappointment, perhaps verging on anger?
I think most, if not all of us, have faced some level of disappointment in our interactions and relationships with people. Let’s face it, people are people. Even those people who we call fellow believers and lovers of God disappoint, sometimes inexplicably, painfully so. And maybe, because we have greater expectations of believers, rightly or wrongly, the hurt and disappointment seems more acute. I’m sure I’ve unintentionally caused my own wake of pain in those around me. But, here I was, the one hurt, angry and disappointed. And it stung. I tried to distract myself with “happy thoughts” but the woundedness kept creeping in.
What was I to do with this disappointment, woundedness, and anger?
I wish I could say my initial response was loving, kind, and “godly.” It was not. Did it matter that the thoughts were only in my own mind or shared privately with my husband and close, trusted confidants? I had to ask myself how would I respond when I next saw this person.
There are several responses we can have when we are disappointed and wounded:
- We can lash out, hurt back, call someone out.
- Dwell in sadness, hurt, and anger.
- Rise above.
I wanted to pick Option A. I can be pretty snarky if I want to be.
But, my heart, spirit and mind were telling me to forego that option. Oh, it would be so satisfying, if even momentarily. Vent. Let it out. Snipe. Let loose a well-timed passive aggressive comment. Be nasty. I mean, wasn’t this person in the wrong? Shouldn’t they be called out?
Then, I considered Option B. I knew I would probably dwell in Option B for a while. How could I not feel the hurt and disappointment? Was I just to ignore what had been done and pretend it didn’t happen? Live in denial? I’m not a denial kind of gal. Besides, I think it is pretty unhealthy to ignore the woundedness when someone has hurt you. Denial is unhealthy. You either end up eating too much ice cream and cinnamon bears or you default to Option A. I had to give myself time to feel the disappointment and process it.
The more pressing question was, how long was I going to dwell in this state of woundedness? Too often we choose to dwell in the wounded state for way too long.
I analyzed the facts and took an honest, rational assessment of the real hurt. Had I been abused in this situation? No. Had I been irreparably wounded? No. Had the wound been so terribly egregious? Well, it was pretty bad. It was not something I could just wave off as a misunderstanding. A wrong had been done.
I then considered, whether I had done something to bring on this hurtful action? No. If I had contributed to the situation, it certainly would have been incumbent on me to ask for forgiveness. But, I had done nothing wrong, even looked at in the most critical light.
I then asked myself the question I did not want to ask, “Did this person intend to hurt and disappoint me?”
If this person had intentionally meant to hurt me, then I had to review the circumstances and decide whether it was even healthy to remain in close connection with this person. A person who intentionally hurts time and time again is not a person that I choose to spend time with. However, if this person hurt me, even intentionally, but it was a solitary offense, then I had to admit, that I too have probably chosen poorly in the past, and maybe, just maybe, this person needed to be forgiven.
Moreover, if this person had unintentionally hurt me, then maybe, just maybe, I need to move on, whether or not the person asked for forgiveness. Yep, even if. Why? Because if they weren’t even aware of the hurt, how could they ask for forgiveness? And, if I decided to confront them, it would it just raise unnecessary drama. To what avail?
I decided for my sake, not the “disappointer’s” sake, that I would move on. I would rise above. Besides chances were the “disappointer” was unaware of the emotional havoc wreaked on my soul. So, while I would eating that 5th cookie, (let’s be honest that 10th cookie) they would be blissfully Pelotoning themselves into fitness.
I concluded, albeit grudgingly, that I had to rise above. Did this mean forget or condone? Absolutely not. They were clearly in the wrong, even if they didn’t see it. But what good was it going to do my heart, my soul, my emotions, my body and mind to dwell on the poor choices of someone else? I did not have to answer to the Lord for their actions, only my own. So, I chose. I chose to respond kindly and civilly. I chose not to be passive aggressive. I chose to go high, even though they went low.
I think of the disappointment Jesus must have felt when Peter denied him; or when he saw Mary and Martha’s response after Lazarus died; when the disciples prevented the little children to come to him; or the rich ruler chose his riches rather than follow him. Jesus understood human nature better than anyone. People will disappoint. Only God will never disappoint. We may never understand his ways while here on earth. We may not always receive what we want. We may wonder and question why something, especially something horrible, may be happening.
I know that someday, maybe not here on earth, but someday in heaven, the Lord will make things clear. He will bind my wounded heart, wipe my tears, soothe my mind and reward my commitments and choices.
I Peter 1:13 (NLT) says: So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
I can only prepare my own heart and mind to practice self-control. I cannot control what those around me do. May my action always be to choose to rise above. My hope lies in Jesus. My justification lies at his feet. My true advocate for what is right and righteous resides in the loving and just hands of Jesus, the ultimate judge. I rest in the knowledge that His grace is there, not only to cover the offenses of others, but to cover my own.
Margi is the proud wife of Bill Giovannetti, Senior Pastor of Pathway Church. She practiced law as a litigator for years before receiving a different calling on her life, and is now the Director of Communications and Special Projects for Pathway. She is the mother to her stunning, witty, musical-loving and incredibly smart daughter, Josie, a college student, and her fun, kind, brilliant, tennis-playing son, JD, a high school junior.