Are we sharpened or shaken by the year we hoped for? This was supposed to be the grand year that all of us anticipated. But it hasn’t turned out so. In fact this is not what, was expected.
This season – it’s like embracing an elusive shadow. Aimlessly we deny this truth, and so we drive faster. Isn’t that always what we do when we’re lost – is drive faster?
This season may be new, whether due to a pandemic, experiencing loss, or the fear of imminent loss, or the recent exiting of jail; but maybe, we can be practical in evaluating this experience
Ahead of this shadow could be what we call hope – although not sure what exactly, that looks like. Although I’m sure it sounds like this. A systematic belief we each carried prior to the current situation we’re facing seemed as if it would be different in our minds. We felt the friends and support systems would, or should be better; that the situation would only be temporary, until something better came along.
We thought we could handle it, besides we’d been through bad situations before. Reassurance soon fades into disappointment, and then hope becomes elusive when the expectations fade. I am right there with you.
How about some practical tips on Renewal, Restoration, and Growth:
- Let it die
This sounds counterintuitive, I know. Life comes out of death. Just as in the germination process, a seed must go dormant prior to regeneration. In fact Jesus described this process (John 12:24). If you’re going to bring the same thoughts, patterns, and behaviors that didn’t work previously to a new environment, you must let that stuff die. Because it definitely isn’t productive.
- Give it Time
Unless we put expectation into the context of hope, hope is never realized. It’s possible that our idea of hope is outside the context. (Note: If you and I are too over anxious to apply #1, then this really seems unproductive.)
Many centuries ago a prophet to Israel named Jeremiah cried out “ I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” (Jer. 29:11)
Unknown were the days ahead for this large number of people. To come into any unknown situation can be real scary. Because in every tight spot we want to know the end from the beginning.
Imagine if the Lord had stretched out a great canvas and told us or them, all that is ahead – including the deep experiences that are required and that really shape us, we would probably shrink back from fear.
- Grow it Up
Develop better communications, incur new habits, and create effective network of resource. Just like driving faster when we’re lost, so we refuse to give the time it’s due to improve our decision environment. We’re all in a new season. You and I need to utilize this time to grow our character, our integrity, our personal development.
Being assured, (or stability of solid hope) is not mind over matter, or a name-it-and-claim-it faith. But to put to death some previously established beliefs and false expectations that the Lord is too far and not concerned with poor little me. Feasibly, let’s stop whining and fretting so much and get busy like it’s off-season training. Renewal, Restoration, and Growth. We’ll both be much stronger and fit when next season begins. And it will.
Sometimes when we are asking guidance we want it all one way, and this is usually the reason why we are so often misguided. We are biased in our preference. Just as it was in the days of a prophet named Gideon, we want the dew always in our fleece, and we are not so willing that it shall be dry.
Remember, it’s through that death one finds hope. It’s through dying to ideals that are bent on selfishness, false hopes, and addictive/ destructive behaviors. If we do not put to death some former ways and thought, and really let what we considered our expected end to die inside our minds, then hope really does seem elusive – and worst of all unattainable.
How will we ever rest, if we’re so anxious that our thoughts are not consecutive? Please feel free to reach out and get some answers to your most troubling need. We may not know it all, but more than anything, we can listen and you can lean on us.