Monday, July 13, 2015

Some thoughts on my word for 2015 - hope

My word for 2015 is hope. I haven't written much about this word because I haven't been sure why it is my word this year. Am I going to be given renewed hope? Am I supposed to look for hope? Keep hoping? And for what am I allowed to hope?

Hope is a scary thing for me because many things for which I have hoped have not happened. People change, diagnosis remain unchanged, situations disappoint, and I am left frustrated and confused. Yet my word for the year is hope.

It stands out these days when I read it in a verse, hear it in a song, or notice it as a theme. But I don't feel like I personally grasp it. Some days hope feels like sand, slipping between my fingers as I try to hold onto it.

A number of years ago, a Christian counselor told me to "fake it till you make it." It was some of the worst advice I've ever received. What happens when you fake it and you don't make it? What happens when you try so hard to be what people need you to be and it destroys your heart and soul in the process? Isn't honestly the best policy? Wouldn't it be less destructive to say, I cannot be what you want me to be at this time or maybe ever, and deal with the consequences of that mess rather than realize months later that you were wrong. That you can't handle the emotional and spiritual pain of a situation, so you will not be faking anything, even to keep the peace (which in itself is fake peace)? The fake it till you make it philosophy felt hopeless because I never ended up making it.

When it rains or it shines on this pillow of mine
I will lift up my head to the sky
So I have chance to see where my hope has come from
Know there's nothing that I can't abide

When nothing satisfies you
When nothing satisfies you
When nothing satisfies you
Hold my hand
(Jennifer Knapp)

Somewhere in the Bible it says hope does not disappoint. I've been pretty disappointed by hoping in my life. Hoping for it not to be a miscarriage.  Hoping for my dad not to leave. Hoping for the diagnosis to be wrong. Hoping for people to do the right thing. Hoping to not be erased and replaced. All that hoping has only disappointed me.

But tonight I realized that's not the Hope that does not disappoint. People disappoint. Bodies disappoint. Circumstances disappoint. Relationships disappoint. But Hope does not disappoint because my hope is not about the temporary (and still very painful) situations. The hope that does not disappoint is the "hope of salvation." Romans 5 goes on to say, "And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." (v.5-7 NLT)

Without Jesus, my dad will never change. Nothing anyone can do will turn him into the person he should be. It is hopeless, and no amount of pretending can make it better. I can't make people want me to be in their family, and that feels pretty hopeless if I dwell on that.

But my hope isn't in a relationship with my dad. My identity isn't found in his acceptance or rejection of me as his child. There is hope for a hopeless me, and it isn't in circumstances but in salvation. I can have hope this year because I have been accepted by the author of Hope.


  1. Your words are a great reminder not to place my hope in things here on earth since sadly, that rarely works out no matter how hard I try. I need to focus on the author and finisher of my faith even when my earthly body and mind don't understand the things that happen here.


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