On hope - the hope I had for this year, the hope I had for friendships, for a relationship, for the future, the hope that has brought me to a stronger place, and the hope that has lead to heartbreak...
Let's get down and dirty shall we. I am a guarded person. I have been hurt, and have seen the damage of allowing someone in. Letting them see the deep dark side of you. Letting them see all your imperfections, only to watch them use those imperfections to crush your spirit. So to admit to someone that I am hoping for something, well that is a big risk. One better kept in the deep safe of my heart, told to no one, surrounded by walls. Walls so thick no man or beast could ever chip through them.... or so I thought. Then one not so special day... something happened. Something cracked, things began to leak, and I sat in fear of everything crashing down, desperately trying to stop the leak, to patch the hole, to keep it all in. Not even knowing how it happened. Somehow, someone had slipped in, undetected by the radar and patiently over time made progress. Slowly chipped away, slowly destroyed layer upon layer. Not with loud explosions or heavy machinery, no, that would have all too easily given away their position. But gently, with hand tools, slowly and painstakingly, pouring in love, time and effort chipped away until they were through. Who you ask? Who could manage such a feat? Someone who can love like no other. Someone who would be undetected on the outside of the walls, because much like my hopes and dreams, I thought they were tucked away inside the walls.
Now don't panic. I'm not saying I wasn't saved, or that I had been living a lie to please others. No, deep in my heart there was a genuine desire to know the Savior who suffered for me. Who said I was worth it. Who paid the highest price. But what I didn't understand, was that by locking my hopes and dreams so deep inside, I was holding on so tightly, and I was not allowing Him to shape and mold my dreams. When I said "no way! That dream is too big! I could never do something like that! I better come up with something a little more... achievable." When I looked at myself and hated who I was, or thought I was a mistake, or that I had messed up too many times for Him to possibly ever choose to use someone like me.... I put a wall between Him and my dreams. This... is what leads to heartbreak. When you build your hopes and dreams on the One who holds your heart, they are protected, and He will shape them. But when you lock Him out and start to form your own dreams and plans, claiming it all in the name of Jesus. Claiming He must be leading... because it's what you want... Can I tell you... that's a painfully wrong road to venture down. And yes, my God is faithful to redeem. He can work all things for the good of those He loves (Rom. 8:28). But how much less painful could it have been to just submit and allow Him into the plans in the first place.
Heartbreak - watching friendships I thought would or should last a lifetime... crumble; seeing a "potential relationship" stripped away... all because I let my heart go too deep to soon; having to come to a painful place of admitting my pride... and admitting I was wrong. Of being so defiant that only in total brokenness could I be brought to my knees and be ready to submit.
Was all of this fun? NO! Am I saying that Jesus caused me all this pain in order to bring me to this place?... That's a theological question that I don't see the point in arguing over. Because what I do know is this: Whether I choose to follow the Lord or not, He will love me, and He desires to be with me. Whether I choose to spit in His face every time I think I am not worth it or I see the beauty He has created and allow that to strengthen me... It's not about what HE has put me through or made me suffer... it's about the choices I made, whether right - allowing Him to work the way He desires. or wrong, causing Him to have to redeem - unless I begin to take responsibility, and realize I play an ACTIVE part in my life... hope will continue to lead to heartbreak. Because my hope must be built on the ONLY solid foundation of Jesus Christ, or it will fail. I must both hold tightly to my dream - pursuing it passionately, desiring to see it to completion, AND hold it with open hands, knowing that the Lord is the one to protect it, and I must be willing to allow Him to shape it and to change it. It may look different than I ever hoped/thought/dreamed it would. But I promise you, walking with Him is much sweeter than anything I could do on my own.
And when I am walking in His plan for my life, allowing Him to shape my dreams... it's ok to allow others in. Now I'm not saying share everything the Lord ever downloads into your life, and not everyone is supposed to be shared with. You know you have those people in your life who won't understand, or will tell you to do something more practical.... BUT! You also have those people who also love the Lord, and understand that He doesn't always work in the ways we think He should or in the ways that seem most logical to us. And when you are able to share with them both the excitement of what the Lord is doing in and through you, as well as what you think He is calling you to... they are there to help. They will be excited with you! They will encourage you to reach for the things you don't think are attainable. And when, if for a moment, you forget where the Lord is taking you, they are there to remind you, to help pick you back up off the ground if you fall, and give you a gentle nudge back in the right direction.