What to do when things don't turn out how you expected

At some point in our walk with Christ we are guaranteed to walk through disappointment of some kind, there is just no getting around it. Life has the innate ability to pull the rug out from underneath us and leave us grasping for something that makes sense. So on the blog today I want to talk about something we all need wisdom and guidance in, “What to do when things don’t turn out how you expected”.

I’m currently walking through a season of life that has knocked the wind out of me. Ive been wrestling with God through unmet expectations, disappointment, and hope deferred. Everything I once held as most important has been stripped from me and I’ve been left to try and piece back together a picture that looks familiar to me. But what do you do when God allows you to walk through a season that looks totally opposite to what He has previously spoken to you? What do you do when you find yourself hurt and angry at God for the situation you find yourself in?

Im sure there are many of you who can relate. Maybe you have always longed to be a mother and felt like that desire of your heart was from God but you’re struggling through infertility. What do you do when you envisioned a house full of little ones running around but when you look at your life it is completely different then you imagined?

Maybe God has given you a vision for your future but it has been shattered by a diagnosis. What do you do when you are having to walk through something you would have never expected to happen to you. Maybe you ask, “where is the goodness of God in my situation?”

I may not be ability to relate to the specifics of your life but I do understand the feelings that arise when you are walking through seasons that are totally different than what you expected.

I have found that we shouldn’t shy away from the feelings that come up when we are walking through disappointment. You are not the only one who has been hurt and angry at God, or who questioned why He would allow something to happen in your life.

You are not the only one who has been hurt and angry at God, or who questioned why He would allow something to happen in your life.

Your not the only one that has second guessed everything. Your not the only one who has felt like God has forsaken them. I was and still am processing all the questions I have.

Your not the only one that has second guessed everything. Your not the only one who has felt like God has forsaken them. I was and still am processing all the questions I have.

But there are a few things I have learned from my mistakes of navigating a season of disappointment and hope deferred. I hope you can learn from the lessons I have learned along the way.

So what are some things we can do when things don’t turn out how we expected?

1. Give Yourself Grace To Feel

Disappointment is a heavy thing to deal with. When things don’t turn out how we expected when we fully trusted God for another outcome, it is a natural human response to grieve the expectations you once had.

The only way I knew how to process through my disappointment with God was to grieve through the expectations I once had. I think sometimes we think we just need to get over a situation because God would want us to but I don’t think we realize fully that God is not afraid of our emotions or our questions. You may be questioning your situation or even questioning God Himself but He is not offended by these questions, in fact, He welcomes them. When we come to God with our disappointment and humbly seek Him, He will be with us in the grief we feel, the disappointment we walk through, and the confusion we find ourselves in.

2. Don’t Run from God

# 1 leads us perfectly into tip # 2

While we need to give ourselves grace to feel the range of emotions we are going through we cannot let those emotions cause us to harden our heart toward God. The best place to seek God in His Word when we are battling disappointment from our circumstances is in the book of Psalms. There are many Psalms where the Psalmist is struggling with God and what He is going through. One thing we can learn from them is that they didn’t turn from God but to Him. One of my favorite aspects of those Psalms that question God is the fact that it always end with the Psalmist praising Him even though they may not understand.

For example, lets look at Psalm 10. The very first verse in Psalm 10 begins like this, ” Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?’ The Psalmist is not shy in his questioning of God is he? But by the time the Psalm ends the Psalmist says, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear…” (VV. 17) What a total difference right? First he is asking we have you forsaken me, God? And then ends declaring that God hears His people. This should be our example when we are confused. May we give ourself grace to feel but always run to God even when it doesn’t make sense.

3. Guard Your Heart

Guarding your heart is such an important spiritual principle. From experience I can tell you, if you are not diligent in guarding your heart while you are experiencing disappointment and confusion, you will start to harden your heart towards those around you and God Himself.

When you have been delivered the biggest blow of your life and you are reeling from hurt, anger, disappointment, confusion, and sadness, it is incredibly easy to lash out from the overload of emotions.

Like I said earlier, God is not afraid of your emotions, He gives us room to feel but its when we don’t consistently give those feelings to God, we run the risk of allowing bitterness and resentment to take root.

For me, I went through a period of being so hurt and angry at a circumstance in my life that I became angry with everyone around me, I was not fun to be around. I allowed myself to get cynical, lash out at those closest to me because I was angry, and ultimately kept God at an arms distance because I couldn’t believe He was allowing me to experience something I never thought I would go through. I struggled worshiping Him, didnt wanna go to church, and isolated myself all while not working though the emotions that were driving me to be, well lets face it, mean.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” We have to be conscious of guarding our heart so the right attitude, and perspective flows from it. Living in bitterness and resentment will only cause hate and ugliness to flow from you polluting everything around you. But when we protect our heart, even though we may go through difficulties, we are still able to love God and others well and walk through difficult time with grace.

4. Be Open To Things Looking Different

When we have hoped and prayed for a specific outcome and it is everything but what we expected it is easy to reject what God could be doing in our situation because of doubt and confusion.

Sometimes our expectations are not met but that doesn’t mean God has less for us. Sometimes what He wants to give us is exponentially better than what we expected if we would just trust Him.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

Walking through disappointment is a tricky thing, it causes us to question so much but the verse above gives me hope in the midst. I don’t know why things happen but I know God is good and He has our best interest at heart. God always sees the bigger picture.

Maybe what you wanted to happen wasn’t the plan God had for you, maybe it would have harmed you, or maybe He just out right has something that exceeds your expectations, but you have to be open to things looking different.

Maybe your going through something that God obviously did not give to you, like sickness. Friend, I don’t know why your walking that path but I do know a God who uses all things for your good (Romans 8:28). I don’t want to lessen the gravity of your situation but I do want to acknowledge that God can accomplish His will through you even when you are facing that circumstance.

Lets yield to God and be willing to find Him where our expectations end and His will begins.

Lets yield to God and be willing to find Him where our expectations end and His will begins.

5. Surround Yourself with Biblical Community 

It is so important to have solid biblical community surrounding you when you are dealing with doubt, confusion, and anger. Its important because when you try to deal with those things by yourself you can easily be fooled, manipulated, and tricked by the enemy. Thats like giving him free access to mess with you and you have no-one there to help you realize the schemes of the enemy. Sometimes we need others to call us out when we are having a pity party, or when we need to hear encouragement and truth when things look bleak. Dont isolate yourself, find someone you can be open and honest with about your struggles, find someone who will always point you back to Christ and the power of His Word.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

6. Become Full of The Word

Finally, getting into the Word of God daily is vital to helping you walk through disappointment, doubt, and confusion. When things don’t turn out how we expected sometimes we are left reeling from the loss and that can set us down a dangerous path. But when the Word is constantly your anchor you will have the truth of God to keep your stable and grounded. The Word gives us direction, shows us what to do with those feelings of anger and hurt, and reminds us of the promises we have through Christ. Staying in the Word allows us to continually be reproved and corrected when our flesh rises up in response to pain.

Staying in the Word allows us to continually be reproved and corrected when our flesh rises up in response to pain.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

 

Walking this life in a fallen world will guarantee us that we will eventually be thrown a curve ball that may shock us to our core. What we do in response to that curve ball will determine how much we allow God to open our eyes to what could be. Our response, attitude, and perspective all determine whether we are defeated by our circumstances or find victory through them.

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If you are struggling with the pain of doubt and confusion I would love to pray with you. Be sure to leave a prayer request here 

Follow me on my social media account on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter @itsinthewaiting

Let me know in the comments your testimonies of when something didn’t turn out how you expected in your life and how God showed up in the midst!

Love, Alyssa 

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7 Comments on What To Do When Things Don’t Turn Out How You Expected

  1. Jen
    May 12, 2017 at 11:26 am (7 months ago)

    I love it you said give yourself Grace to feel. I say this all the time. If we’re hurt or upset or angry we need to take that to God instead of pretending that we don’t feel that way. We have to deal with it, not shove it down. And yes, get in that word! God gave it to us for a reason. Great post!

    Reply
  2. Logan
    May 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm (7 months ago)

    I love this so much! We have been dealing with some things in our personal lives that have really hit us hard lately and reading this today was perfect timing! Thank you for these tips and encouragement.

    Reply
  3. Lori | Choosing Wisdom
    May 12, 2017 at 10:40 pm (7 months ago)

    Guarding your heart is critical! If we allow it to harden towards Gods will for us we will be missing out on the greater vision he has for our life. The answers don’t come quickly but as we continue in faith they will come. Great post!

    Reply
  4. Misty Eilar
    May 13, 2017 at 11:37 am (6 months ago)

    Just keep your head up and focus on other things in your life. Distract yourself from bad thoughts and it will make your day better. I go day by day and start new. I have struggles, but I don’t let them affect me like I used to. Keeps my sanity, my emotions and my marriage intact.

    Reply
  5. Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins
    May 15, 2017 at 12:59 am (6 months ago)

    I love this. When we go through hard things, it’s totally okay to ask questions and try to work through what we’re feeling. But it’s important to not let that take us away from God. We still have to lean on Him and ask for His help as we navigate through hard and unexpected things.

    Reply
  6. janae
    June 13, 2017 at 10:05 am (5 months ago)

    i love this! I am a christian and you did a great job writing your post! keep up the good work, and continue to spread positive messages!

    Reply
    • Alyssa (Admin)
      July 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm (4 months ago)

      Thank you for taking the time to read!!

      Reply

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