Dr. Stacie Norman

January is such an interesting month. It is often a time of reflection, new beginnings, and the birth of hopes and dreams and promises to do better. It is a time of making resolutions, setting goals, and developing plans to meet those goals in hopes that this will be the year – the year we become better parents, better leaders, better employees, better spouses and better Christians. This will be the year that we meet those fitness goals or educational goals or financial goals. People go into January with such hope and zeal.  People proclaim, “This is my year, and nothing is going to stop me from being the best me I can be.”

Most of us have done it. We have made the resolutions, set the goals, proclaimed the proclamations and gotten off to a great start for a week or two, or maybe even a month. Then life hits. The teacher calls about a child’s behavior. The car breaks down and costs a small fortune to be repaired. A loved one receives a frightening diagnosis. An argument with a spouse leads to a broken heart and a wounded marriage. There is a confrontation with a boss or a co-worker that leads to even more stress at work. Life happens and disappointments begin to erode our hopes and dreams. Exhaustion settles in and there is no longer energy to strive for those goals or aspirations. Disappointment invades and hope fades.

As you know, our theme for this year is “Battle Plan for the Family.” This quarter, we will be focusing on personal attacks. Disappointment is a personal attack of the enemy to keep us distracted from the work of God in our lives, in our families and in our communities. Disappointment leads to doubt, distraction, disillusionment, depression, discouragement, despondency, and despair. 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV) says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” The devil wants to use discouragement to devour us. However, we have authority over the enemy. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Disappointment is a stronghold the devil uses to try to keep us from being everything God has created us to be. However, as Christians, we do not have to yield to the devil’s tactics. We have the power to pull down the strongholds and cast aside all the thoughts that attempt to fill us with doubt, discouragement, and defeat!

This year I want to encourage you to fight disappointment with determination. The definition of determination is “firmness of purpose; resoluteness.” This year, be resolute in your resolutions. The enemy is going to attack. We see that over and over in Scripture. However, we do not have to be defeated by those attacks. We have a savior that loves us very much, and this is what Scripture says about Jesus: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39, KJV) The author of these verses is determined that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, and because of that, we are more than conquerors. Let’s follow this example. This year, when you feel disappointment begin to seep in and try to get you off track, stand firm, take up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit! Cast down all the thoughts and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God! Stand your ground and be determined that this is the year you wholeheartedly commit your heart and your works to Christ and walk in the fullness of His promises to you and your family.

• Dr. Norman is a professional counselor at Cord of Three.