3 Tips for Dealing with Disillusionment
With such eagerness, we all waved goodbye to 2020 and invited the 'fresh start' that 2021 promised...But as time passes, there's an unspoken sense of uncertainty, as every news break could announce the next COVID19 lockdown.
I am sure, like me, you have wondered how exactly we are ever going to be completely rid of it. If I were to name the emotional condition accompanying the aura created by this illness, it would be disillusionment. It wasn't caused by COVID19, but it has been highlighted amidst a culture rooted in the kind of expectations impregnated with disappointment. Long before COVID-19 came along, this intimidating truth has lurked: Life doesn't work the way we think it does. COVID-19 simply forced us to confront some suspicions that we already contended with:
- Sometimes the hardest working person doesn't get their dream
- Sometimes the most loving person doesn't keep their family together
- Sometimes the best church community doesn't survive
What do we do with these inevitable cracks in apparently realistic expectations? In our sense of rightness?
Well, that's precisely the point of my latest book: Disillusioned, When You Get Lost Following Jesus.
Disillusionment is when a person perceives a conflict between their ideals and reality, that cannot be unseen. The turmoil stems from the pain and frustration involved in trying to reconcile this discrepancy, particularly when this ideal has occupied an infallible foundational status.
To many, disillusionment hardly warrants its own unique identity.
To many, disillusionment hardly warrants its own unique identity. Isn't it essentially a more palatable version of offence? This is a common misconception. With offence, the offender is clear and obvious. The scriptural solution is also fairly straightforward: forgiveness. On the other hand, the disillusioned person often struggles to isolate the nature of the offence. And if they do find a party to hold accountable, forgiveness doesn't dissipate the emotions because forgiveness can't erase the discrepancy they now see.
So if you suspect that disillusionment is hanging around, here are the top 3 pieces of advice I can give you to begin your journey of healing:
Endeavour to understand everything you can about disillusionment: why it happens, how it happens, what it looks like, what statements are typical of the disillusioned etc. When you are able to identify disillusionment, it frees you from simply reacting to situations and forces you to consider how disillusionment is influencing your choices.
2. Mourn it
Your pain and disappointment should not be discredited. You are disillusioned because something hard to digest forced you to take stock of your current belief system Sometimes we really do need to mourn the loss associated with our disillusionment. Sometimes it's just the loss of the firm foundation on which you built your life, even if that foundation had some serious holes in it. It still provided you with comfort and security for a time. And now it's gone. So mourn it.
3. Confront it
Your disillusionment can only be healed when you decide to take it head-on. Conflicts are resolved by the parties facing each other and confronting the situation. It's rarely ever resolved by time or distance...although it may help ease the emotions. Your sense of security depends on the reconciling of these loose ends.
It's entirely possible that more lockdowns will happen. But this year could be the year your faith grows deeper as you face disillusionment.
Melanie J. Saward
Christian author and communicator
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