How years ago I'd stumbled into this: getting and becoming all the things I wish won't ultimately satisfy me.
I'd followed that truth right into dark despair. Don't hope in this. That isn't the answer. Don't go there: it won't make you happy. It won't last.
A simple truth can get confused when you miss living into a greater truth: the fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. Hebrews 11:1
When you know deep in your being that no earthly possession or accomplishment will bring real fulfilment -- you stop hoping. But what was meant to happen was something beautiful, and it's what's finally gracing my spirit after all these years of questioning confusion:
Hope in God -- and hope for a million things.
We start with this essential holiness and nowhere else: hope in God.
I spiralled down into dark when I believed that hoping for anything else was futile -- and all the while failed to grow into any hope in God.
I confused hope in and hope for -- and I became hopeless in the truth I didn't fully understand. All these years and the other week I finally recognised it -- this hurdle that jammed itself right in my vision any moment I ever entertained the thought of something being good. Any time I ever considered looking forward to something, the barrier was put in front of me. And the other week I finally watched it come up, and I wondered what it was, and why it was there.
All these years and it's been crushing me. When I would consider writing a book, or counting an assignment as important enough to care about, or making plans with friends, or starting a cafe out of a shipping container, or making food, or watching a movie, or playing a game, or exploring a place, or going for an adventure -- this fence-like barrier would pop up out of the ground of my mind and you know what? It didn't really even have to say anything. I knew what it signified: this isn't the answer. It won't make you happy. Turn away from it. A sparkle of hope ignited would blow out so quick -- I let that barrier speak silent to my mind every single time, and I never questioned it. I believed it was right, and I didn't want to focus on the wrong thing -- I didn't want to get carried away by something that would only end up disappointing me.
Every time a whisper of joy would enter my mind, the barrier raised its seemingly caring head and silenced hope. I made a practice of rejecting joy, believing it was the right thing to do.
I was confusing hoping in something with hoping for something, and me here stumbled through confusing depression.
Lunch break on the beach and breaking waves recede and on a park bench I make the connection:
To be truly hopeless -- is to recognise that nothing earthly is to be relied on for true joy and fulfilment... yet, to have no hope in Jesus. To know a truth but not the Truth.
My hope barrier is growing weaker. My inner critic -- how the boy remembered me, it's not the holy spirit.
It's starting with hoping in God,
and I'm finding myself trampling over this barrier. Hoping for things.
"You must embrace your union with Christ, bravely surrender and trust that what's breaking and being lost is never the eternal, needed parts of you, but always the temporal, needless parts that were getting in the way of you becoming real." The Broken Way, pg 148
I think I'm losing something by surrendering to the call for joy? When I'm really becoming more real. Surrendering to the call for joy is choosing authenticity. When I choose to look forward to things, when I choose to hope for them -- I am making room for disappointment. And that scares me. I am scared of being disappointed. Choosing not to hope leaves no room for rejection and disappointment. And it leaves no room for living, either. Choosing to live in the risky faith-embrace of God's action for me leaves room for disappointment and rejection and imperfection. It makes failure a possibility. I'm so afraid of these things. I'm afraid of hoping and being left disappointed.
I fear the abandonment that could occur. I fear hope abandoning me -- I fear giving hope power. When I give hope power, I become vulnerable. I become susceptible to exposure -- and a disappointed hope can lead to pride becoming very, very injured. I am a good protector of my pride.
I remember days not so long ago when anxiety tore into me and I was a monster trapped inside and I began to say it, over and over: perfect love casts out fear.
I said it over, and over, and it was like something holy pouring right inside, like grace to my spirit, like air and water and bread. Perfect love casts out fear. Saying it not in beauty but in damage. Speaking this out loud transformed my inside. When no willpower or strength brought me back, this illumination of Truth made breath and sight and life where there was a sleeping, numb, absent, rock-hard raging girl.
Hope does not destroy me. Hope revives me. Hope is risky, and when I surrender to hope, I surrender control. I become vulnerable.
When I hope in God, I find myself standing in a place that will never fall through. Standing on this foundation we call Jesus, I can hope for a million things --
and always be standing, even when what I look forward doesn't happen like I hoped it would.
Hoping in Jesus, every failed hope will be a sinking into Him.
Hoping in Jesus makes the risk of hoping for things kind of non-existent.
When I hope in Jesus, it's like proclaiming over and over again that perfect love casts out all fear. When I hope for something brave, like tomorrow when I begin my first day of teaching rounds, I think that what I consider falling....
will actually be, yeah, a falling into Jesus, and that's it. That's just one embrace of grace for one cup of hope,
and eyes to see a million people and a million things to hope for.
One Jesus and a million lights that sink into a song of rejoicing.Jesu