Sometimes life throws curves at us that take the wind from our sails. If we aren't careful, we can allow the injury to haunt us for life, never regaining what we have lost.
Have you lost a job recently? If you're not careful, you will falsely assume that you could never get as good of a job again.
Have you had a business failure? If you're not careful, you'll keep yourself from ever taking a risk again.
Did you suffer from divorce? If you're not careful, you'll believe you can never recover or receive God's grace.
Did your spouse have an affair? If you're not careful, you'll never risk intimate love again.
The devil loves it when you doubt yourself.
What steps should you take to get back on track and succeed again after a major disappointment?
Here are 10 tips to consider during the recovery process:
1. Reconnect with God. This is always a wise idea, but it becomes a necessity at times like this. Times of disappointment can cause us to emotionally pull away from God. Our faith may still be in tact, but our daily trust waivers. We may know God is able, but we have a harder time trusting Him to do what needs to be done. (I preached about this issue HERE.)
2. Evaluate your life. Use this time to re-evaluate the decisions you have made in life and what got you in the situation you are in today. Are there changes that you need to make? If so, be willing to change. If you did nothing wrong in this case, release yourself from responsibility.
3. Create some new dreams. Don't allow past mistakes to keep you from discovering your passions in life. Keep those creative forces going in your mind so you'll be ready when the next big opportunity comes along. Give yourself permission to believe the impossible. God does.
4. Call in the advisers. Others can usually see things we cannot see. They approach our life from a different perspective. Give someone you trust, who has your best interest at heart, access to the painful part of your life ... and the freedom to speak into your life.
5. Don't take your pain and anger out on others. It doesn't make things better (usually worse) to hurt others because you are hurting. Innocent people shouldn't be subjected to the wrath of your pain.
6. Take a break. Don't expect to recover immediately. Your situation and the emotions and struggles because of them probably didn't start overnight and they will not end overnight. Give yourself time to heal.
7. When it's time, be willing to risk again. Yes, you may get hurt again, but just as life is full of disappointments, it's also full of joy and discovery. Remember that everyone is not the same and every situation is different. Don't hold your past experiences against others who weren't even there or against a future that hasn't come.
8. Don't let failure or disappointment define you. Be defined by God's love for you and His plan for your life.
9. Do something. Rest, yes, but at some point, just do something to stay busy and occupy your mind. It's true that the "idle mind is the devil's workshop." If you lost your job, find somewhere to volunteer until you find another job. If you lost a relationship, find non-sexual relationships through church or civic activities to keep from being alone. If nothing else, start journaling as a way to release your thoughts. Do something.
10. Get back in the game. Choose your next steps carefully and don't keep repeating the same mistakes, but at some point it will be time to enjoy life again. Life was not meant to be lived on the sidelines.
What steps do you have for receiving from disappointment?
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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