Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dealing With Hurts and Disappointments

How well do you deal with disappointment? Do you take it in stride and face the world with confidence or do you curl up and retreat?

We’ve all been there. We have one disappointment and probably handle it fairly well (depending on what it is). Then we’re hit with a second disappointment and well, it turns out to be a less-than-perfect day. And then someone we love and care about hurts us or lets us down, and well, that’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

And that’s the true test of character. How do you deal with that kind of triple-whammy? I’d like to say I embrace the challenges and accept them with grace. Yes, I’d like to say that. But that would not be true. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case as of late, especially.

My dad used to give me fatherly advice about life issues that seemed too big to handle. He would say, “That’s what makes life so enjoyable,” talking about working out problems and dealing with things. He embraced challenges and loved working through issues. I guess I’ve never shared his enthusiasm of dealing with such things. I’d prefer life to go along smoothly. I don’t need the challenges my dad so enjoyed.

My mom, on the other hand, took a different approach to mentoring me. She would say, “If we don’t experience the valleys, we can’t truly appreciate the mountain tops.” And while this adage made a lot more sense to me growing up than appreciating the curves life throws us, I still preferred those mountain tops she referred to. But I suppose most of us do. I’ve been feeling like I’m climbing up that mountain and when I gain a couple of steps I fall back a few more. Know what I mean?

I recently heard someone say that God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. Now that makes perfect sense to me, too. Clearly God has much to teach me and my character needs a lot of improvement. I’m not sure I’m learning the lessons as quickly as I need to. I’ve had several personal hurts and disappointments in the last few weeks and I have to admit that I am not dealing with them as gracefully as I would like.

When I feel this way I remember a line from Steel Magnolias (that someone else probably said first): “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Let’s hope I get stronger and stronger and my character becomes more Christ-like. It appears I have a long way to go.

How do you deal with disappointments and hurts? Do you retreat or take the bull by the horns and accept the challenge with vigor? What is God trying to teach you in this molding process?

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