When You Don’t Win: Three Encouragements To Help Process The Hurt

In Inspiration by Kristen Dalton WolfeLeave a Comment

Last night was Miss USA and it was exhilarating! I coached several girls this year and I was incredibly invested in them. I sat there in my seat bouncing my knees excitedly like they were my own sisters. As they called the top 15, praying silently, I cried when they called some of them. They had worked SO hard and have hearts of pure gold. My heart broke for my girls who didn’t make it. They had also worked incredibly hard and have glittering hearts.


I absolutely love my new Miss USA sister, Sarah Rose Summers because she is so sincere and exuded what I call, the Sparkle Effect. (I wrote a whole book on this concept that’s available for pre-order now.) But this morning, as I sit in my hotel room I have this pit in my stomach for the 100 young women getting on planes today feeling…probably a lot of things. Shell shocked, sad and a little aimless might be some of them. I know this “next morning” feeling so well because I’ve gone through it myself and also with my sister. As a matter of fact, every year at Miss USA, I seem to wake up with this heavy feeling. I think it partly has to do with the fact that I can feel the heartache of the girls packing up their suitcases to go home.

The loss of a dream like this feels like a breakup when you have invested so much energy and thought life every day for so long. The grieving process is a little different than other let downs because you don’t get another chance to try  again. There can be questions like, “How could I have felt so strongly that I was ready for this and I didn’t win?” “How did I hear God wrong?” “What direction will I go now?” “Did I not prepare the right way?” “Am I not a winner?” I realize how many girls feel this way. There are so many young women who have this burning dream in their heart and put their lives on hold in order to compete and to give it all they’ve got.

It’s painful and deflating. As I’ve processed on this, God has revealed some insights. I know what it is like to struggle with a loss that you can’t redo and I also know it’s something you can feel alone in. Please know, you aren’t alone.

1. His Will 

God’s will can be confusing through life, very confusing at times actually. It’s important for us to remember that suffering, pain and injustice was never part of His original plan. So when a loss or injustice happens in your life, it may not have been his will. BUT He will absolutely work out something fabulous and worthwhile out of your pain. He takes whatever disappointment or seeming rejection we endure and uses it for our good. His will, which is pleasing and perfect will always prevail, though the journey to get there can be frustrating or even humiliating at times. When your heart is ready and willing to see, He says, “I will give you praise and honor among all the people of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.” Zephaniah 3:20. Thank God in advance for the way he will redeem your broken heart and re-direct your path.

2. His Reasons

His reasons can be mysterious. Sometimes we understand in hindsight and sometimes we’ll understand on the other side in heaven. Maybe God placed that dream in your heart because he wanted you to go on the journey. Why would he make you do that when grief is the outcome? Because this is a journey like no other you will ever experience in your life. The preparation involved to compete at this level is all-consuming, engaging and intense. You get in the best shape of your life, learn how to handle yourself under pressure, visualize yourself winning, learn more about yourself than maybe you ever wanted to know, meet remarkable people and make professional contacts.

Through the journey, maybe God led you to tap into to a passion or a voice you didn’t know you had. Look for a door to open for you to rise up. My next door neighbor was 1st runner up to Miss Connecticut, but had she won she wouldn’t have been able to launch her music and acting career when she became a finalist on American Idol a few months later. Now, she stars on The Bold Type on ABC. Keep your eyes open for how God wants to guide your steps. “In his heart a man plans his course, but The Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9


His Perspective:

The most powerful thing you can do is to keep an eternal perspective. Goals and dreams are exciting, but your identity can not be wrapped up in them! You are way more than a fleeting life, position, accolade or title here in the earth. Come on now. God cares about your hurt and nothing is too trivial for him. He is your comforter. But even if you had won, you still would have heartache and pain in another way later. I know I did, even as the winner. And that’s why baby girl, you have to know who are you. Really know. You have a heavenly citizenship. You are a co-heir with Christ.

Don’t worry about the sponsors, coaches and people who lost interest in you because you’re done now. Think of those moments that make you feel small as training for reigning. You are actually called to reign in this life. Not just one year. And not placing at Miss USA or winning doesn’t change that. You better rise up. It’s okay to grieve, but don’t wallow for too long. You are a QUEEN. And God has worked something really awesome out in your character you may not know about yet. And he did it for the next dream. Everything that happens in your life is preparing you for the next unfolding…your calling.

God made you intricately with unique and special plans engraved with your name. Don’t get hardened or bitter. Don’t allow this heartache to stunt your progress or stop you from walking through the next door of opportunity. Remember, though you may fall seven times, you will rise again. I am here to help you process through all this through faith life coaching because I want to help you get on the other side of it at an accelerated pace. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to figure out how to Train To Reign in your life after the crown and for your eternal life.

For more encouragement on this, check out my podcast on Life After The Crown with Tim Tialdo.

The Lord within her is righteous, he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice and every new day he does not fail.” Zephaniah 3:5

If you pre-order The Sparkle Effect today, you will get two free downloads to Declarations of a Queen: Speaking Identity and Power Over Your Life. 


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