Disappointments Are Stepping Stones

In 2006, I gained admission into Obafemi Awolowo University to study Biochemistry. I struggled academically from 100L, and by the time I was in 400L, my CGPA was 1.89 with 2 extra years waiting. I had 2 options; either I start all over again in another department/faculty (usually Social Sciences) or risk being advised to withdraw. I chose the first option; I got a transfer to Demography and Social Statistics. So, while my colleagues in BCH were resuming 400L, I was resuming 200L in DSS.

Although I was in 200L, I had to take all the courses in 100L, and when it was time to graduate, I was told that I didn’t meet up with the minimum requirements for graduation. Part of the requirement for graduation was completing 12 units of special electives. That meant that I would have an extra semester to write electives that would have no significant effect on my CGPA. I was disappointed, depressed, and frustrated.

On several occasions, I asked God “Why”. I never failed any course, so why would zero-unit electives hold me back in school? I thought God was being unfair to me, I didn’t know he had bigger plans for me. After 7 years in OAU, I eventually graduated with a second class (upper) honours degree. Those extra years prepared the foundation for the journey ahead.

Let me share a few of the lessons I learnt about disappointments with you.

  1. God uses disappointments as a catalyst to get our attention and prepare us for our next season, even if the process is ugly. Disappointment is God’s tried-and-true catalyst for greater calling.
  2. God allows us to enter desert seasons not to discourage us but to detox us. He removes the God substitutes, i.e., all of the things and people we instinctively and habitually turn to to get filled up. When God breaks what we’ve built, then God is building something better and bigger.
  3. Disappointments, if misunderstood, can put a dent in our confidence: In all honesty, I felt like a failure but later I understood that in order for God to work through us, He must first do a new work in us.
  4. Disappointment is actually divine timing at work. Disappointment delivers a message God needs us to pay attention to right now — one we’d otherwise ignore. The mess is meant to mature our outlook and upgrade our thinking and beliefs.
  5. Disappointment shows us what is already within us. Obstacles are meant to reveal your anointing — your divine strength, not your weakness. God uses disappointments to unveil and realign us with His greater vision for us.

So, instead of asking God “Why?”, take a step back and ask, “Where are you taking me?”

Always remember that God loves you too much to leave or lose you, He will use every means necessary to not only get your attention but also free you from foolishness.

Atinuke Ayo-Makinde (nee Ladele) is a strategic project management professional. While an undergraduate, she played key roles in several ASF endeavours, and now serves as a member of the Senior Friends’ Christian Network executives.

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