It is my own expectations that cause disappointment, when I experience it, not the reality of the events going on in my life. Life will never be perfect, and we will never stop experiencing tribulation of various kinds, while we are on this side of heaven (or the Lord’s return). It is when I expect no tribulation that I get smacked with disappointment when it shows up. It is when I expect a person to never act sinfully toward me that I get smacked with disappointment when they do.
If disappointment were tied to events, instead of to expectations, then our brothers and sisters living under repression, in chains, or without what we would consider bare necessities of life would be living in a constant state of disappointment. And if anything, the opposite is true: Westerners are the most depressed people in the world, as well as the most affluent, and the most free.
Our expectations are out of whack. If I focus on what I can do every day to be a blessing to my dh, instead of what he could do (that he is not) to be a blessing to me, then when he does do something completely sweet and self-sacrificing, I can be blessed by it, truly blessed, rather than having that snarky little thought in the back of my head, “Well! It’s about time.”
If I focus on what I can do to be a better teacher for my children, instead of what they should have learned by now (but haven’t), then when they really do learn it, I can share their joy in accomplishment, rather than already be uptight about the next thing they haven’t learned (yet).
And if I focus on how I can serve my Lord today — how can I worship Him? Value His thoughts, His heart? Thank Him today for my elder Brother, Jesus Christ, for the free gift of grace, life, freedom from sin? — instead of the great ability He has to arrange everything to my liking in my life (but is not), then when a deeply-desired answer to prayer does come, it is oh so sweet. And I do not have the bitterness toward God sin to repent of.
Proper perspective. Realistic expectations. They are my key to contentment.