Accepting Life's Disappointments through Spiritual Memoir


You can overcome life's disappointments through spiritual memoir or spiritual autobiography. This page can help you use a spiritual journal to understand the role of disappointments in your spiritual story. Everyone can disappoint us. We don't like to think about the people who have fallen short. But, our story is not complete if we only look at the champions in our lives. If this is our focus, we might find we have an awfully short story to tell.

Spiritual Memoir and Hope

I have tried to look at more than just the champions in my life. But, it's good to have a place for someone extraordinary in my story: someone who is usually not a disappointment. My dad has always played the truth and fairness game pretty well. He’s never been the type to get angry for no reason. He rarely tries to make me feel guilty. My dad doesn’t usually manipulate or lie. He’s a good man and a righteous one. This is a good part of the reason I’ve always felt safe with him. I don’t do well with “Job people.”  Truthful and fair people are what I prefer. I prefer people who see who I now am instead of what I once feared I was. I prefer people who pull me out of the darkness and into the light. I prefer people who don’t put me “in the doghouse” when it’s not fair. I prefer people who are truthful about their anger and their feelings. I hate the blame game.

I have to accept that no one is one hundred percent truthful and one hundred percent fair all of the time. Sooner or later, everyone messes up and is dishonest or unfair at some point. There's no place on earth to go where everything will consistently be as it should be. The blame game is a reality of life. Always knowing how, or when, to avoid getting hurt is impossible. It's out of our control. Eventually, even the people we love and trust the most will disappoint and hurt us.

The disappointments of life can leave us feeling powerless and defeated. It's especially disappointing when our story is filled with people who haven't loved us like we had hoped they would. Instead, even our "safest" people mess up pretty badly sometimes. The powerlessness we feel is real: we can't control what other people say, do and think. The only power we have is to change what we can, let go of what we cannot and seek the "wisdom to know the difference." If we fight the reality of our powerlessness we can wind up pretty depleted. The key to freedom from what we can't control is realizing that we can't control it. Once we determine the difference between what we can and can't control we have "wisdom" to share with others who are struggling. Now, we have a powerful story to share: our story of how we found power in powerlessness and then found freedom..

How have you been hurt and disappointed by the dishonesty and unfairness of others? Where do you go to be safe from life's pains and disappointments? Where do you go to escape what can't be changed? Consider how God has helped you come to terms with your powerlessness. How is He part of your story? Where does God fit within your spiritual autobiography?

Sharing My Journey 

Life's disappointments and my story:

I make an angel with wings of possibilities and answers. Her wings are made of what could have been. They are also made from what is. Some of the possibilities became answers, praise God, which are helping me. Today, they are more than answers. They are salvation.

My angel's dress is made from torn pages from the book of Job. Job had people who gave him lots of possibilities. They were determined to prove their possibilities. Nothing would make them waver. They had all the “proof” they needed. I have some “Job People” in my life. They still see what they have chosen to see despite my new answers. Nothing will change their minds. If I try to change their minds they fight back. They become irritated and angry. They want to see the old darkness instead of the new light. They see what I feared I was instead of who I now know I am.

I love the way a kaleidoscope gives you tiny parts that work together to make a beautiful whole. The parts in themselves aren’t much to look at. In fact, some of them are quite unattractive when they’re seen apart from the whole. I want to learn to look at people like I look through a kaleidoscope. I’d like to see myself this way too. I want to see the whole of who they are, and who I am, instead of picking at our little parts. I don’t want to be defined by labels. Calling someone a Job Person gives then a limiting label. I need to figure out how to see people in the same way that I’d like to be seen. I need to figure out how to redefine myself and others. I know that’s what God would prefer.

My Job people left me pretty disappointed at times. I had to learn how to find joy despite life'`s disappointments. For as long as I was chained to what my Job people thought, said and did I was not in control of my own life. Instead, my Job people reigned and ruled over my feelings, moods and actions. I wasn't even living my own life: someone else was always living it for me.

There were moments when I felt like the whole world was against me and that there was no hope. My mood only began to shift when I seriously considered God's truth about what was being done to, said, and believed about me. Once I realized that the truth of my Job people was not God's truth about me I began to change. Seeing me through God's eyes, instead of through the eyes of others, shifted my attitudes, feelings and actions. Hope entered into my story, and I began to have a story of hope to share.

Angel and Prescription Drugs

Wings of Possibilities
Age 38


Sharing Your Journey

Life's disappointments and your story:

What we can and can't change is part of our story. Whether we choose to accept this doesn't change the reality that we are not in control. We can choose to accept our life challenges and do what we can to overcome them. We don't have to lose hope. Once we give God control over our story being powerless can be a gift full of hope. Now we don't have to face our challenges alone, and we have someone who we can trust to help us. Once God is part of our story we have hope and encouragement for ourselves and others. He becomes the fuel for our spiritual autobiography. He becomes the reason others want to hear what we have to share.

Powerlessness and acceptance can be themes that weave through our spiritual memoirs. Our journal becomes a place where we can explore the tension between these two realities. It also becomes a place where we can see the plans and purposes God has for our stories. Our journal becomes a place where we can begin to share.

Divide a page in your journal into two columns. Title one column "Power to Change" and the other column "Need to Accept." Consider situations in your life that you'd love to breathe change into and write them down in the proper column. How can "changing" and "accepting" change you spiritually? Pray for the strength to make needed change and find peace in the face of the unchangeable. Seek God for the role of change within your story.

Testimonies: The Power of Inspirational Christian Stories was formerly titled Dancing in the Doghouse. This spiritual autobiography has been renamed and redesigned to better reach its audience.

Past Work!

Easy Button Prayer
Easy Button,
Age 44

I recently attended this women’s retreat. The presenter said that receiving what you want from God is easy: like pressing that Easy Button you see in those Staples Ads. Some days we could all use an Easy Button, and sometimes God is happy to provide us with one. I guess the important thing to remember is that when we pray, God draws close like a loyal friend. Maybe miracles don’t come easy, but God drawing close when we need him is the part we can always count on. 

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