Question: “I’m kind of disappointed. People keep letting me down when I need them the most. What gives?”
I can relate. I recently sent an email to a friend sharing the latest goings-on in my life and I didn’t get a response. So here’s what I’m learning these days…that part of growing up is learning to live with the reality that I may never hear certain words that I am desperate to hear from certain people, and then once I accept that, to learn to live free and whole without them.
I think there are a few reasons why we feel disappointment from other people.
Too high expectations. There’s a small chance that we, and when I say we, I mean I, expect much too much from other people. Most people I know are super busy with ridiculously full lives. And, in general, even the most unselfish follower of Jesus is still pretty self-centered. It’s hard not to be. We are who we are with all the time, and our hands are already full to overflowing with our lives, let alone with those who live under our roof. I need to remember that I am not anyone’s highest priority. That can sting, but that is the truth.
Humans let humans down. Some people just don’t know what to say, or honestly don’t know how to take care of the hearts of other people. And even when you find someone who does, they are still only human. And we hurt each other left and right, even with the best of intentions.
When we are hurting, we are more needy. When we are in a higher place of need, either living in difficult, lonely marriages, or walking through a separation or divorce, or any kind of crisis, our needs are bigger. So we are more vulnerable. We are more lonely. And we are more in need of human contact and help.
But it hurts, so what can we do about?
Surround yourself with others. Add to your friendship circle during this time. Join a recovery group where you are meeting people who are working through similar issues. Get a counselor who, to put it bluntly, is paid to be your friend. Choose to spend time with people who you can really trust. The person I sent that email to isn’t someone who is in my inner circle, and she is not someone I typically go to with a problem. So, in a sense, I set myself up for disappointment.
Press in even more with Jesus. Not to sound like a broken record or a cliché, but he’s not going anywhere. God has all the time in the world for you. Though I know sometimes we want someone with skin on, there is a certain comfort with being in the presence of the One who created you, who knows you better than you know yourself, who will never leave or forsake you, who loves you just as you are, and who promises to heal you. Take the disappointment that you’re experiencing from other people and roll it onto Jesus, as my mentor would say.
People are just people. People will hurt you. You will hurt others.
God, on the other hand, is steady and sure, and he thinks you are precious and honored in his sight. He wants to hear from you, and if you wrote him a hypothetic email, he’d write you back instantaneously, every single time.