how to move past disappointment

It has certainly been the year of disappointment, hasn’t it? Yet we can feel the tension in it as there has been more at home time, more family time and more stillness. Are we grateful or are we let down? Are we fearful, worried or anxious or are have we made memories, noticed the moments and drawn closer?

How do we move past the disappointments not just of culture but those personal disappointments that have battered our own hearts? Disappointment with our marriage, our child, our parent, our job, our situation, our loss.

Disappointment flows from a place of expectation that is not upheld. We expect the “formula” of marriage to hold firm. We expect the “right” child rearing to produce a certain type of kid. We expect hard work to be rewarded and commitment to bear fruit.

When our expectations are met with a different reality we are disappointed.

Disappointment can be like thick mud as it clings tightly and holds us in place, breeding ground for bitterness and resentment, killers of the soul.

A quote from Amy Carmichael (a missionary to India in the early 1900s) has been a balm to my disappointed soul lately. “In acceptance lies peace.”

Rather than fight to hold tightly to the muddy expectations of my control seeking soul, acceptance says, I entrust this to the God who is trustworthy and sovereign. He alone knows the end from the beginning and He does all things well.

Proverbs 3:5-6 has long been the mantra of my heart, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (ie., or your own expectations as you vie for control of what you cannot control). In all your ways acknowledge Him (see Him in it, recognize His hand on it and know you can therefore relax and remove your own!) and He will make your path straight (and work it all out for His glory).” Obviously the parentheses are mine.

In that acceptance of where He has planted me (whether in pain, loss, disappointment of expectations) lies the very peace my soul lacks.

What if today rather than cling tightly to that which makes most sense to our limited mind, we release our expectations and accept the people, place, season or even trial that He has us in and we look for how we can better know Him through it?

In that very place of acceptance I dare say, we just might find the peace we need.


God’s Word arms us against disappointment. Communing with Him through His Word can give us the ability to accept His leading into the peace we crave. 30 Days to Communing with God is a resource to help you as you read, unpack and practice Biblical prayer examples to draw nearer to the heart of God. Click here for more info.

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34 thoughts on “how to move past disappointment

  1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on nor depend on your own understanding. But, do acknowledge Him in ALL your ways and HE WILL direct your steps. Selah. Amen. xo

  2. I think this year has taught us a lot about releasing our expectations and accepting that we don’t have as much control over things as we like to think! It definitely hasn’t been easy but I’m hoping there will be some positive lessons we can take from it.

  3. “Rather than fight to hold tightly to the muddy expectations of my control seeking soul, acceptance says, I entrust this to the God who is trustworthy and sovereign” – This. God alone knows best. I pray for grace to let go and let Him.

  4. I have always loved those words from Proverbs. Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I repeat them to myself. They are so good and so true. This year, when many of us have seen disappointment after disappointment, our reaction may have been to abandon hope, but there is a difference between “releasing expectations” (a good thing) and losing hope (a bad thing). Thank you for this encouragement this morning!

  5. Some really disappointing news
    came ‘cross the wire today,
    and it’s got me singin’ blues;
    Tab soda’s goin’ ‘way!
    Coca-Cola chose to slash
    underperforming drinks
    to hang on to cold hard cash,
    so they axed Tab – the finks!
    Sure, there are alternatives
    I’ll have to taste and try,
    but I am quite conservative,
    and it’s hard to say goodbye
    to the formative soda of my youth,
    of which ripped bod is living proof.

  6. I gave up on expectations and plans a long time ago. You are so right life may not always be easy but it’s one ride of amazing surprises when we lean on God with all our understanding fmf #4

  7. These are such great thoughts Mariel. In my own disappointment, I’ve found that letting myself feel it and acknowledge the sadness and choosing to move forward in faith has been so helpful. The scripture you chose in Proverbs brings so much peace. Thank you for this! I’m visiting today from the Grace and Truth link up. Have a great weekend!

    1. Wonderful post. Loved, “In that acceptance of where He has planted me (whether in pain, loss, disappointment of expectations) lies the very peace my soul lacks.”

  8. Disappointment flows from a place of expectation that is not upheld. Oh, how this is so true and acceptance is the way out of our misery. I love this post. Thank you for sharing it with Grace & Truth. Maree

    1. thank you so much for the feature, Maree! I am so grateful it encouraged you and I pray it will be an encouragement to your readers on friday, too. <3

  9. Thank you for these timely and inspiring words! “In that acceptance of where He has planted me (whether in pain, loss, disappointment of expectations) lies the very peace my soul lacks.” Selah ♥️

  10. Good Morning Mariel, this was such a good post as this year has held many disappointments for so many. The verses from Proverbs have come before me often over the last few months and helped me to accept what I cannot change. I lay those down in prayer before His throne and trust Him to move as He wills best. In this way, I have found peace.

  11. Mariel, expectations are disappointments waiting to happen! (heard that somewhere, not original with me!) Such a good post with many reminders of how to release those expectations and stop living disappointed!

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