Joy has tended to be an easy thing for me, innate even. Even in the midst of situations of seemed despair, I usually can find joy.
Hope, on the other hand, well….
I’ve struggled with hope.
I’ve done that “Well, I don’t want to hope for this or for that, just in case it doesn’t happen.” Or the “I’ve hoped before, and it turned out differently.” Or even the “I hoped for this situation to happen, and it was drastically the opposite of what I wanted.”
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Ugh.
And, so, hope has been confusing for me. And in times of transition or hardship, hopelessness has seemed somewhat easier. Easier not to hope than to hope in vain, I suppose.
There are a few things we need hope for in our house right now. It’s nothing on a detrimental scale (compared to Boston), and yet I had a time of silence. And in this silence, I simply prayed. “We need a breakthrough, God. Here and here and here. Help us to align with what You want for us, and what we want for us.”
It was simple. There was no extra fluff or formulated begging. It was just that, a prayer that came from silence.
You can even say it was a prayer of response. I believe our best prayers come from listening. We don’t listen until it’s silent. And in silence, we can hear His still small voice. In doing that, we can respond to His grace. I have no good ideas or good prayers apart from my response to His heart for me. And in the silence, I can hear His heart.
Upon the girls getting cozy in their beds, I took a few minutes to look over a book that I’ve already read. It’s Brene Brown’s book called “The Gifts of Imperfection”. In it, I kept being attracted to a chapter on “building a resilient spirit”. These small trials I’m working through, they are building my resilience (and showing me my sometimes lack of patience). They are also teaching me, yet again, how important rest is.
Anyhow, within the scope of the chapter, there was a section on Hope. I wasn’t even thinking of Hope, I was thinking of breakthrough….like, “Please God, get me out of this. Clean the wax outta my ears, and let’s get going!”
And, yet, He wants to talk to me about Hope.
Brene went on to explain how Hope is not an emotion but a learned behavior. She spoke on how we teach our children how to hope, not by keeping them from disappointment, but by teaching them hard work and perseverance. She that that in hope, we are to expect to disappointment, and that disappointment is ok. It is part of Hope’s cycle.
I had never thought of it that way before.
She explained that entitlement breeds hopelessless and hopelessness breeds powerlessness. And what is worse than feeling powerless? Not much. Powerlessness makes us think we are incapable of change, that our situations are incapable of change, that our country is incapable of change, that our world is incapable of change.
I usually see in terms of BIG. And, so, hopelessness can sometimes seem easy. Look at our country. As a whole, it is messed up. Entitlement runs rapid. Shootings, bombings, kids in despair. And, here I go down the hopelessness slippery slope……
But when I looked at Brene’s suggestion to learn Hope, here is what she said:
1. Set goals (what do you want to do? What do you want to change?)
2. Expect disappointments and setbacks (accept them as part of the climb up!).
3. Believe in yourself (You can do this! I can do this!)
In these three small steps, something in my brain aligned. (Thank you for the prayer, God.) Something clicked. And in what was less than 15 minutes of reading, I realized how to defeat my own sense of powerlessness.
How easy is this? I can learn to hope. Hope is not flighty and fickle, it is learned. He can teach me. How profound.
So, even in the midst of bombs, and shootings….in the midst of lack of sleep, nauseating hormones, and potty training…..I can make Hope practical in my every day life.
I may not be able to solve our world’s problems today, but I can change my day. And in changing my day, I can do my part to change the world…
“As hope deferred makes a heart sick, a desire fulfilled is a Tree of Life.” -Proverbs 13:12
And, well, Eden is my favorite place. The place where this Tree dwells. How beautiful is this? God is so intimately acquainted with me…
Everything, even the horrors of this world, bring us back to His original intent for us. Nothing is in vain. No hurt or destruction or evil gets the best of us. He can turn anything around…..always taking us into a deeper place of understanding…
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