Recently I was asked this question by someone who was slugging it out with life. They were disappointed, again and again, and they were at the end of their wit.
It’s true isn’t it? Things seldom go as planned and we can lose our nerve. We often plan our steps, taking great measures to plan in detail every move. When our plan is complete we set out for the final destination. Maybe it’s a new business idea, a family vacation or personal budget. Perhaps it’s weight loss, strength training or competing in a triathlon. Whatever the plan the old phrase, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right,” rings. Doing things right means making plans, so we make a lot of plans. What happens though when things don’t go as planned? We can’t lose a pound or bench press another plate. What happens when the biz doesn’t perform, the income fails the budget, and the family vacation goes from sunny and 80 to raining and 66? Frankly, I’ve learned when things don’t go as planned most people get disappointed.
I’ve been disappointed a lot in my life. I try and get over disappointment quickly, because it vexes me. Too much disappointment and I start unplugging the lamps from the light-sockets and swaying in the dark. That may be an overstatement, but I’m not myself when I’m disappointed. I don’t love the same, don’t do my work the same, don’t exercise the same, don’t live anywhere near my potential, and it’s all because things didn’t go as planned. I don’t think I’m alone.
Many people struggle with disappointment. When I encounter them I want to help, I want to have the magic words, the necessary resources or be a miracle worker to bring things back from the dead. Most of the time, I listen, I watch, I try and be empathetic, understanding, encouraging, trustworthy, helpful, insightful, but most of the time I tell the ‘disappointed’ I love them because usually anything else I’d want to say just doesn’t seem to fit the moment. If I could here’s what I’d say every time.
DON’T LOSE HEART!
That’s it, I don’t lose heart!
If you and I will not lose heart we will experience victory over failure, triumph over defeat and recovery from loss. When I lost my mother and father in a plane crash over 12 years ago there were moments I thought I’d never pull myself from. When I faced the economic shift of 2008-2009, professionally and personally, I wasn’t sure if I could keep my nostrils above the water. When given the news of infertility after planning to have children our whole marriage Melinda and I didn’t know how God would fulfill his promise. When adopting our first child and the birth mother decided, in the last moment, to parent I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out, oh wait, I did. When we put our heart and soul into vision, we believed was from God; dreams, we’ve had since we were young; ministries and churches, we’ve entrusted others to lead; and friends, we’ve led to Jesus, but those special plans lay dormant, don’t come true, fail and leave, like you, I look to heaven and ask, “Why is this so hard?”
He answers me, “Don’t lose heart!” If we lose heart, we lose life. We cannot lose. There is too much riding on it. Too many mountains still to climb, victories to be celebrated, achievement to be honored, wedding to attend, people to laugh with, salvations to experience, people to disciple and I could go on and on.
Say this with me out-loud, yes, right now!!
Because it’s hard I set my gait to not lose heart.
Because it’s disappointing I tell my mind to be quiet when it wants to fail me.
Because it’s so challenging I stir up the gifts within me and stay strong.
Because when all is said and done I will win when I don’t lose heart!
I don’t know what your facing right now. It might seem insurmountable. Losing money, losing friends, losing loved ones, I count it all as loss, but what I cannot lose is the control center of my life, my heart! DO NOT LOSE HEART! Carry one. You can do it. You are not alone. You WILL comeback when your heart stays intact!
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)