All of us want to feel valued for something. To know that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, contributing to the betterment of the world around us, gives purpose to life. Our relationships, education and jobs all “add value” to who we are as individuals. But when something goes wrong in any of those areas, we can feel like an utter disappointment to parents, teachers and ourselves.
Because life has so many variables, disappointing others—and ourselves—is inevitable. We can’t be good at everything. We can’t please everyone. There will come a day when someone dislikes us or we fail a test, and in that moment we learn where we’ve been storing our value all along.
Matthew 6:21 says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If we find our value in what we do or who we’re dating, those things will control our identities—and our hearts. When something goes wrong in a job or relationship, we are then unable to separate the circumstance from who we are, and disappointment threatens to destroy us. Here are three truths to speak to yourself when disappointment overwhelms you.
1. The approval of others is not the measure of your value.
Most of us want to make our parents proud. We want our teachers to think well of us. We want our friends to love us. Ambition and motivation are great habits to cultivate, but if we chase them just to prove ourselves to people, it inevitably ends in misery. We can’t stake our value as individuals on the approval and opinions of others. Friends come and go; teachers do, too. And parents won’t think everything we do is worthy of praise. In the end, we’re all imperfect people. We can’t always be pleased, and we can’t always be perfect.
The measure of our value rests in Christ. God gave His most valuable possession to win us to Him. That act alone reveals our worth in God’s eyes, a worth that we need to embrace in order to find true purpose. The approval of people is not our measure. We are measured by the approval of God, won through Christ.
2. You are more than what you accomplish.
When we put all our eggs in one basket—staking the future on what we accomplish—we feel like a disappointment if we fail. We use our abilities as a thermometer of success. But what if you don’t get into your college of choice? Or what if you don’t pass that test?
God loved us before we had a chance to accomplish anything. He knew us while we were still in the womb. There will be times when we fail and when we don’t meet our goals, but our value doesn’t rest on those things. Our value is consistent regardless of what we accomplish because it is part of who we are in Christ. Really believing this truth is the best motivation for reaching your goals.
3. In Christ, there are second chances.
You might feel like a disappointment to your parents, boss or friends. You might think you can never start over or start fresh. But our God is all about second chances! There may be consequences for bad decisions, and the effects of sin do exist. But Christ offers us redemption: redemption of mind, body and soul. To Him, disappointment is a passing emotion, one overwhelmed by His amazing grace and love. All we have to do is come to Him, choose His way and walk in His holiness.
Next time you feel like you’re a disappointment, preach these truths to your soul. They will bolster you and help you to keep walking in the dreams God has laid on your heart, into the woman He designed you to be.