Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Handling Disappointment -- how do you do it?

Cara Putman here. We had an interesting week at the beginning of the month in the Putman household. First, I had disappointing news from a publisher, then my eldest had a disappointing gymnastics meet.

Disappointment is terrible. Especially when you've worked as hard as you know how to work and hear that your efforts aren't quite there. They don't reach the level needed. Yet there's no clear direction on how to improve.

I cried out to God that I would do the work, I just don't know what that work is. For my daughter she can't feel the pike on her vault. How can you fix something you can't feel?

I'm such a doer. I want the four step plan, so we can take action, do something to move closer to the goal. Yet I get the sense that's not really an option this go around. I'm trying to pray. To circle the dreams with prayer and praise as Mark Batterson puts it in his new book The Circle Maker. I appreciate how God prepared me to handle these disappointments by reading this book and other things.

And as I've prayed about these disappointments, God has met me. First through a friend. He kept dropping her name in my mind, so I emailed her asking for help. She gave me an amazing gift of her time and talent by going through my synopsis and helping me identify all the good pieces I had in there and digging deeper to the elements that were missing. Then at practice I've watched my daughter put together elements and skills that have eluded her all year. She has to do the work, but that effort is being honored.

Here's what I know. Disappointment can push me to work harder, to go deeper as I chase my dreams. Disappointment can also push me away from my dreams. It's a choice I make. So I'm pushing deeper, checking that my dreams are the right ones, and committing to the extra work. What about you? What happens when you face disappointment? Do you have strategies for handling it?


Karen Kirst said...

Cara, I usually react to disappointment by being upset and venting. Only after I've cooled off can I look at the situation objectively and try again to get it right. Thanks for sharing. It's wonderful how God cares about the details, leading you to contact that one friend who could help.

Lynette Eason said...

Hey Cara, GREAT post. Facing disappointment is TOUGH. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us at some time or another. And some people it seems to be a way of life! As for me, I go kick something, maybe throw a little temper tantrum, and then I whine to God about it. But my heart is open to being taught. And God knows this. Although you would think by now, I would just skip the kicking and pouting and go straight to the One who can do something about it. Even if it's just to comfort me and tell me He has a plan and everything is going to work out. Maybe one day, I'll be there. But thanks for sharing your experiences. Hugs!

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa said...

First I cower and throw a pity party that can last from 5 minutes to years. Depending on the ammount of work I'll need to do to overcome. The less important the work the more lasting is the cower. Figurately speaking, of course.

After the cower mode comes the kneel mode, where mostly I ask for God's Forgiveness for doubting His Power and His Ways.

And then, with His Help, I go to battle. With various results in the end. Sometimes it's not possible to overcome the hurdle, other times I can't understand why I didn't try this at first atempt.

Glad to see that all is working out with you and your daughter. Sometimes (most of the times) it helps to have a sound board - in a friend, a blog, your Priest, your Comunity, a book where characters overcome similar situations.

Sending blessings your way,

Naomi Rawlings said...

So sorry for your recent disappointments, Cara. And here's to hoping you overcome them. As for me? No I don't have a plan for disappointment besides seeking comfort from God's Word.

PamelaTracy said...

We are a lot alike. I get upset and vent too. Usually, after I've cooled down I can look at the situation calmly.
Sometimes, though, I carry the issue with me like a backpack full of heavy rocks.
God is a great help. I often wonder who people who don't know Him get through certain disappointments.

Stacy Henrie said...

Usually talking it through (maybe venting) to my husband keeps me sane. :) That and remembering God's calling for me.

PamelaTracy said...

Welcome to the Craftie Ladies. I haven't seen you before. We're so glad you're here.

Merrillee said...

Pamela, I can relate to that backpack full of rocks. Sometimes, disappointment leaves me directionless. I'm not sure which way to go. I keep searching for God's answer. Eventually, I find it.


Good topic Cara.

My way of handling disappointment is to find an excuse for the person who disappointed me. Then I pray about it and try as much as possible to take my mind off it. A good book usually helps or an interesting movie. When I am balanced, I take time to wait on God for the next the next move.

It does work for me really.

Ausjenny said...

I have been dealing with this with looking for work. some I have thought I was a shoe in to get a job like at McDonnalds which opened recently only to basically be told I was to old to work there. It brought back all those feelings from when I first left school and couldn't get a job. it was like a punch in the stomach. Cant say it was a great feeling I now try not to get to excited about jobs I apply for. I want them but dont get my hopes back.

Kim Watters said...

Like Karen, I let it bother me and I vent. Then I pull on my big girl pants and read the comments and usually have to agree with my editor. Then after a conversation with God, it's back to the grind stone to come up with a different proposal.


Ausjenny, I choose this moment to pray for you that God of heaven will give a good job soon.

Meanwhile, you can look inward and see if there is anything you can start. His word says, "anything you lay your hands on, shall prosper"

It is well with you.

Olufissy said...

Ausjenny, I choose this moment to pray for you that God of heaven will give a good job soon.

Meanwhile, you can look inward and see if there is anything you can 'start'. His word says, "anything you lay your hands on, shall prosper"

It is well with you.

Missy Tippens said...

I'm a couple of days late. But what a great post, Cara. I've tried to be very open about dealing with my disappointments so my kids will learn how to handle them. I guess my way of dealing is to allow myself a day to wallow in self pity. :) Then I have to move on and do the work to try again.

The hardest part for me is to keep a good attitude over the long haul. I'm still learning that--and asking for God's help!

Sherri Shackelford said...

I'm late to the party! But what a fabulous post on a thoughtful topic. I see so many talented writers who get derailed by disappointments. I wish I had a better coping mechanism, but I don't! I just look to God and keep failing forward.