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Handling Defeat and Disappointment When You Run But Lose
Thursday, November 8, 2018 3:48 PM

Handling Defeat and Disappointment When You Run But Lose

Thursday, November 8, 2018 3:48 PM
Thursday, November 8, 2018 3:48 PM

You prayed about it, had peace about it and sensed God's prompting you to run for office. You ran a hard fought, faith-filled race but came up short. You "lost."

Unless one has experienced the devastating defeat of losing a campaign, it is impossible to know that sinking, kicked-in-the-gut feeling when it becomes apparent that winning no longer is an option.

The worst part is making that phone call of concession and be at best cordial to an opponent who for months had been the adversary and depending upon the tone of the race, just a downright enemy. One who tried their best to destroy your name, tear down your character and distort your record.

What do you do when you run the best well-planned race, but come up short? How do you handle what can and is for some the embarrassment and shame of defeat?

The weight of loss doesn't come all at once, but "losing" an election is a grieving process. The shock of "loss" doesn't come all at once.

The night of and the day after, you will handle things pretty well, keep a stiff upper lip and appear to roll with the punches. You're still in campaign mode, you just don't realize it.

As the days and weeks wear on, defeat will begin to wear on you. You will question decisions made, get somewhat upset at the thought of those whom you believe could have done more to help; and, you will begin beating up on yourself, telling yourself you should have done this differently or that differently, that you should have worked harder.

NONE of this is entirely true. It is the mind's way, however, of coping with the shock, pain and grief of not winning. 

So what do you do?

First of all, change your mindset from defeat and loss to believing that the race transpired exactly according to God's will and providence. 

Just as you would have believed it was God's will and favor in victory, believe the same in defeat.

I had to come to grips with the same when I lost my first city council race. It hurts, no doubt about it, it hurts.

Losing an election is a grieving process. It is the death of a long-hoped dream and one that you sacrificed so much for - only you and those you love and love you, know the sacrifices you made.

As a follower of Christ, know this. While the numbers didn't fall your way, you didn't "lose."

Three-fourths of people will never have the courage to put themselves out there as you did to take the attacks, character assassinations, sleepless nights, sacrifice of precious time with family, missed moments you can't recapture, the money spent, the verbal assaults, social media attacks; and, misrepresentations of who you are.

You didn't "lose," you actually gained! While you did not get enough votes to win an election, what you gained will last past any term ever could.

You will discover things about yourself that but for defeat at the ballot box, you never would have believed possible. You will discover strength you didn't have before, stronger self-confidence, stronger self-image and an indomitable spirit. Even more, deeper faith and a greater hunger for and anticipation of what's next. Whereas before you maybe meandered along, you will move with purpose and determination.

Know that there is a what's next. As long as God sits on the throne He always has a what's next.

Rest. Rejuvenate. Re-examine your heart and know in your heart this was part of God's plan for your life - the unseen, providential hand of God.

Trust that He knows. He knew before you filed and before one vote was cast. He had to allow you to fight this fight so that you would grow in the faith and courage needed for the next leg of your life journey.

God doesn't tell us from the outset all of the hurdles and hardships we will encounter in pursuit of success.

Just know as a Christ follower, on the other side of every wilderness is a promised land.

He couldn't tell the Hebrews about all of the "ites" and enemies they would encounter. Why? Because they would have been too afraid to leave Egypt and would have missed the biggest blessing and answered prayers for not only them, but for generations that would come after them, even up to today.

God knew what they would face in the wilderness, but He had much better in store for them on the other side of it.

So does He for you! When we fall short and experience the pain of defeat, we're in the wilderness. Had we thought we would lose, we never would have taken the journey.

Just know as a Christ follower, on the other side of every wilderness is a promised land.

No, my friend you didn't "lose." Keep going. What is ahead of you is so much greater than what is now behind you.

Know that you are blessed and still as a child of God, highly favored.

Rest, breathe, take some days away to clear your head and don't linger in the wilderness of defeat. Your promised land is still up ahead and the best is yet to be.

Click on the image below to take a look at the video I created just for you. Be encouraged!

Dorothy Burton is an author, conference and keynote speaker for various organizations and governments across the country. She is the author of the new book, Why We Fall: The Power of Self-Awareness.

Interested in having Dorothy speak at your event? Please complete the SPEAKING REQUEST below.


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Bouncing Back From Defeat: What To Do When You Run For Office But Lose