Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
I get my hopes up, too fast.
Let's back track a little bit. I love change. Yes, change is difficult. Having moved so many times growing up, I always missed what I had left behind, but I got this insatiable desire for adventure in return. Like Pa Ingalls, "My wandering foot gets to itching," and I'm ready to pack up and move on.
This thirst for adventure gets twisted up in my sense of purpose. Then I feel lost.
"Where I am going?"
"What is the point?"
"Is this it?"
I think about all the things I hope for, the people I want to minister to, the places I'd like to go, the books I want to write, all the things I want to accomplish...I take a look around me and I wonder if those things I hope for so desperately will ever happen. Because I just can't see it right now.
I worry that my dreams are not valid, not important to God. I worry that they don't really line up with His purposes.
I worry that if I do get to fulfill those dreams, I'll get to the other side and say, "That's it? All these years for this?"
I've already seen in my 24 years a pattern with the purposes of God. He may not give you exactly what you want, in the timing you want, or the way you want it. But it is always perfect, and better than what you wanted in the first place. So why worry right?
Easy to put on paper (or screen, I should say), much more difficult to put into emotional practice.
When the future husband, child, job, college, ministry... whatever it is you are hoping for consumes your thoughts constantly, it's not that easy to say "Lord Your will be done." We want to say, "Lord my will be done, please give it Your blessing."
Today, it dawned on me that I have been hoping for good things the wrong way. I hope to have children someday, hope to have a ministry to immigrants and the disabled, hope to live in a different context, hope to be a published author, etc. Are these things wrong and sinful? Not really. But the way I hope for them is.
I have been placing my hope in these things, rather than just hoping they would happen. How do I differentiate between the two? Like this:
When I place my hope in these things, every setback to their fulfillment leaves me hopeless. I feel empty, purposeless, and depressed. I question, "Why am I here right now?" and give myself an early morning pity party before work. I can't see God moving in my circumstances because I have placed all my hope in different circumstances.
I haven't placed my hope in God.
"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25
My hope doesn't rest in the unseen. I'm "hoping" in the things of this world, thinking that a change will make me feel happier and more fulfilled. That I will be more in line with God's purposes if I'm doing the things that I am passion about. These things are good, but I cannot place my hope in them... I cannot trust in them.
Even if I was in a dark prison with no food, waiting for my execution I could place my hope in God, in the unseen. I could know that His purposes, though inscrutable at times, were good and I would be with Him for eternity.
Though my circumstances stay the same, though my dreams continue to be dreams, and though all desires may not be fulfilled, I can place my hope in the God who created me and know that He is sovereign in this place. The place that I am today, whether that is the same tomorrow or fades away.
I pray that God would change my heart, that it would always long for the things He longs for. That I would dream about Him and desire His ways.
Instead of looking for the next big change, maybe God Himself is my adventure?
My hope is in You, Your will be done.