The Lesson of Disappointment

I planned on going to NYC this summer to study with American Ballet Theatre, one of the top ballet companies in the world. It was a dream of mine, a wonderful, crazy dream.

When I broke my foot, I stopped dreaming. It hurt too much to anticipate something clouded in uncertainty and pain. I thought it better to not desire this opportunity at all than to desire it and then have it taken away. 

I didn't want to desire something, because to desire something is to face disappointment in the eye. That is a hard battle. 

I lost.

And so, the disappointment of the broken foot claimed yet another dream. 

"Mom," I said a few days ago. "I thought that I already learned my lesson. I missed recital. I went through the pain, complications and inconveniences of breaking my foot. I've learned so much about trusting God. Why couldn't He have let me have this?"

What she said stuck with me. 

"Sometimes, we have to learn the lesson of disappointment." 

When I face a trial, I want to know why. Why did I go through this? There must be some lesson that I need to learn, some person that I am supposed to inspire. I put the pressure on myself to make the suffering worth my while. If I’m going to go through this suffering, I might as well write a book about what I learned through it.

If I’m honest, though, sometimes the lesson learned isn't something big and inspiring.

Sometimes, I have to learn the lesson of disappointment.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic. I don’t mean to say that life is a pit of sorrow, and we should just give up and watch Netflix all day. What I mean is that on this earth, we will face disappointment. It’s part of sin. It’s part of learning. It’s simply part of life before eternity.

This rhythm of disappointment points us in two directions: pity parties or praise parties.

No one throws a pity party like a disappointed person. Trust me, I know. And the world expects us to throw spectacular pity parties. After all, Adele makes her living off of pity parties!

There is another reaction to disappointment, though. Hope. Praising God in hope.

I don’t mean that we hope that our disappointment will go away. I am talking about a deeper, more secure hope. An eternal one. I am talking about the hope of Jesus.

Jesus comes to us in our disappointment and reminds us that this world is broken, but He has fixed our souls in His grace. He reminds us that this world is fading, but He has built an eternal home for us. He reminds us that our lives are not about us, but He has given us a purpose far bigger than any disappointment.

Jesus comes to us in our disappointment and reminds us of Himself. He gives us the chance to take our eyes off of our disappointments and onto His faithfulness. He takes our desires and holds them carefully, all the while making Himself the chief desire of our soul. (See my Tangled post for more of those thoughts.)

God doesn't promise us a life without disappointments. He does, however, promise strength for the suffering, grace for the hurting, and rest for the weary. He teaches us so much through trials, and sometimes, He teaches us the lesson of disappointment.

The lesson of disappointment is a slow one. It is a humble one. It is a quiet one. You have to really hush down the pity parties to hear it, but when you do, you will find that the disappointments are invitations to let go.

Let go of trying to force everything to be clear. Let go of seeking to understand the lesson in suffering and simply seek Christ in suffering.

That's the beautiful thing about the lesson of disappointment, it points us to Christ. It forces us to lean in faith upon His goodness even when we can hardly see the path beneath our feet, let alone five feet ahead or behind. It shows us just how wonderful He is because the things around us- and even our own selves- seem so frail. 

Emily Freemen’s book Simply Tuesday has a chapter that inspired part of this blog post. On page 178 of her book, she says:

“I confess how disappointed I am that I don’t have clarity. But in the confession, I begin to see Christ. I begin to release my obsession with building my life into something linear, something I can figure out. Instead, I believe that letting go doesn’t mean I’ll be left with nothing. It means I can more fully hold on to Christ and trust the life he is building within me. I sense him inviting me to trust him, not because I’ll finally understand, but because I’ll begin to believe that he understands me.”

Here it goes. Life, a life full of desire and disappointment, lies ahead of us. We could go about it scared. Scared of desires which disappoint. Scared of disappointments which crush our desires. Or, we could live confident in Christ. Confident that He is bigger than any disappointment, even the ones that don’t make sense. We can live with Him as our chief, secure desire and hope.

Have you dealt with disappointment? Are you getting tired of this rather lengthy string of posts about suffering? Tell me your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Princess Hannah


  1. I'm not tired of people talking about suffering. Suffering is a part of life, and while society dictates we should only show the best parts of our lives, if you're being vulnerable, you're being real. I've suffered so much disappointment these past several months, but most importantly, I'm disappointed in myself and wish I could have done better... yet life moves on, and we must learn and strive and hope, despite people saying otherwise.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    1. Disappointment in self is the hardest kind. The catch is that it isn't about us after all, it is about the grace of God. He welcomes us into forgiveness, including self forgiveness.

  2. Let go of seeking to understand the lesson in suffering and simply seek Christ in suffering. I like that line so much. That's me - wanting to analyze everything, get down to the root problem, and fix it! I have so much to learn.

    Thanks for this post. It's so inspiring to see you taking the harder times in life and using them as a illustration of grace. xx

    1. YES! Over-analyzing can get us tangled up in a big mess.

      Thank you for this lovely comment :)

  3. This is really really good. I am in a bit of a season of disappointment myself, and I have had the mentality that I need to figure out why. Your words both challenged and encouraged me. Thank you, Hannah.

    Praying for you, sister. ♥


    1. This is exactly what I went through! I'm SO glad that I got to encourage you.

      God's got this.

  4. that was such a beautiful outlook on something I really never would have thought about.
    Im so sorry for your disappointment, but its awesome to see that God is already making the most of a crappy situation.

    1. Amen! God is really making something beautiful out of our brokenness.

  5. This is so true and encouraging <333

    Praying for you!!


  6. This post was so beautiful and I feel blessed for it to have made it's way onto my screen. I'm definitely going to check out more of your blog after I post this comment.
    - FiFi

  7. You are so uplifting and such a blessing, Hannah. <3