"Hey Chris, I'm sorry to let you know that I've over-scheduled myself and I'm no longer available to lead a small group this fall."
Email, voicemail, face to face, it doesn't matter how the news is delivered, when someone bails on you it's like a punch to the gut. Disappointment can be delivered in a variety of ways and it can be a result of many situations:
- A minister who can no longer serve and bails at the last minute
- A student leader who posts pictures from last week's party on Facebook
- The teen who said that he would show up, and ends up no-showing
Each time it hurts, and it never gets easy.
Dealing with disappointment is difficult. However, there is a right way to handle each situation.
In my experience, it starts with:
Embracing Your Emotions
Own your feelings, lean in, and write them down. If you run and hide it'll eventually find you. Embrace your feelings and take ownership before the disappointment becomes something worse.
Opening Up To God
Whether it's a few hours or a few days, take some time to listen to God's wisdom on the situation. He might not tell you why, but He will tell you what to do next. To move forward you are going to need God's grace.
Identify The Source
Go back to the emotions you wrote down and look at the source. Was the disappointment caused because of rejection? Was it caused because it exposed a weakness? Was it caused because of failure? Identifying the source will help address the pain.
Plan Your Next Step
While you don't want to ignore the emotions, you'll want to move through them. After you identify the reason for disappointment you'll need to know how to react. If you have been rejected, do you need to forgive? If you have been feeling vulnerable do you need to seek encouragement? How are you going to move forward? Too often we find ways to hide from the disappointment or find someone to blame. When we run away from our emotions, or refuse to lean into a situation, we risk something manageable becoming something detrimental.
So next time disappointment rears its ugly head, take time to slow down, examine the situation, and allow God to lead you forward.
How do you deal with disappointment?