©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
We’ve all been there. Deflated.
The promotion we expected doesn’t come.
The pregnancy we hoped for doesn’t happen.
The raise we worked for isn’t given.
Our team doesn’t make it to the playoffs.
Our son or daughter gets rejected by a college or graduate program.
Our child doesn’t get recognition at school or sports.
The vacation we take leaves us wanting.
The holidays we share fall short.
The diet we try doesn’t work.
The marriage we have struggles.
The friend we needed let us down.
The criticism from another cuts deep.
A smiley-face balloon caught in the branches of a tree surprised and delighted me. It had blown into my backyard on a day I needed it. As I gazed upward into the happy face, my smile grew wide.
Day after day as I looked into the tree, I smiled over and over again at this unexpected happiness booster blowing gently in the wind, its string wound around the branches.
Then, one day when I looked out, the face was flat, deflated, lying on the cold, hard stone of the walkway leading over the pond. The air out of it. The life gone. The inside empty.
People could easily step on it or step over it. It no longer mattered.
Just a few feet away, fish swam freely, a waterfall flowed, a restful bench waited.
If the happy face had blown into the pond, it could have floated, held up by the water as the current moved.
Instead it lay tossed aside, depleted of its purpose to spread happiness and joy.
We get deflated too. Our dreams falter; our plans fall through; our expectations go unmet.
But, deflated doesn’t mean defeated.
God breathed life into us. Then, He gave us new life through His Son. When we remain full of His love and confident of His mercy, we can rejoice in Him in the midst of sadness, disappointment and discouragement.
Even when we feel dejected; we are not rejected.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
What about the days when we struggle to find optimism? When hope seems elusive? When disappointment seems to push all the energy out of us?
We find some pointers in Psalm 71 (NIV):
Call Out to the Lord
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. (v.3)
Remember His Faithfulness
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. (v.5-6)
Remember Your Example to Others
I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. (v.7)
Continue to Offer Praise
My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. (v.8)
Neither our success nor our shortcomings define us.
God is the source of our joy; the strength in our weakness; the hope in our despair.
Like the ribbon wrapped around the branches holding the smiling balloon high and sturdy, our hands are wrapped around the cross, and God’s arms are wrapped around us.
- When was the last time you blew up a balloon? Pumped up a tire? Inflated a sports ball?
- What was the last circumstance that caused you to feel despondent or deflated?
- When has God filled you up when you’ve felt deflated in the past?
- List five things you can rejoice in and praise God about even when feeling deflated, disappointed or discouraged.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up… My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I whom you have delivered. Psalm 71:20, 23 NIV
Remember…Life Is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™