Scared to Hope

Several months ago I read a book that talked a little about being scared to hope. (I’ve previously written about another nugget I learned from it here.)  When I was reading this book and I got to the part about hope, it actually resonated with a situation I was in the midst of.  I had a big dream that I could see actually becoming reality, and I was literally feeling sick and scared to hope rather than be excited.

Then fast-forward a few months. I’ve  found myself in another situation that should be exciting and hopeful. I’m sitting right on the edge of something wonderful. And yet, I realize once again that I’m scared to have hope. Sensing a pattern here, I started to examine my feelings and thoughts.

I was torn up inside about it.  I wanted to be happy and excited, and mostly to be at peace.  And I remembered the book and went back to dig into it again.  I had to see what I could learn about myself and how i could pray to see things differently.

From Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs:

“So when I feel like hoping for something could make me float away into an ocean of fear or disappointment, I remember that Jesus holds me, protects me and keeps me calm. He is my hope. “

This. This sums it all up for me. I can be so fearful that I’ll be disappointed. That the big thing that I’ve desperately wanted will also be scary, and challenging and messy.  And now that it’s really happening, am I ready? Will I mess it up? Can I allow my heart to fully feel the excitement? I want to remain guarded, but there’s no joy living in that place.

My hope is not in myself and how I will handle what is coming.  I know that I will make mistakes. I know there will be disappointments. The hope I have is  a living hope that Peter speaks of.  Which brings me to another quote from the same book:

“So what if after we have suffered, persevered, and allowed our character to grow, Jesus infuses life into the hope that has been deposited in our hearts?”

I started praying for Jesus to infuse life into the hope that was in my heart. I believe the hope is there because I have gone through the process outlined in Romans 5:3-5 of enduring and patience and growing something. But now that it’s time, I’m scared to feel it. i can’t experience it on my own or in my own power, but I can through His.

The road ahead will be messy and likely hard to navigate, but the rewards will be rich. The excitement of what’s to come is real, and I want to embrace it fully. So I’m praying that Jesus will keep infusing life into the hope that is growing in my heart.


College Mailers Are Chipping Away At Me

Almost every day these colorful little mail-outs arrive for my son.

He’s never gotten so much mail before. He gets more mail than anyone else. Because he’s halfway through his junior year, and the colleges all want our money.

The first time one of these little colorful cards arrived in the mail maybe two years ago or so, I remember being in shock myself but how excited he was. To get mail. To be “wanted” by a college. When in reality, it was probably just that somehow he got on some list a little early.

Now it’s such a normal occurrence that we hardly bat an eye. But here’s what does happen every time I get the mail.

Something happens inside me. They’re chipping away at me. These little cards from colleges all over the United States are slowly one-by-one chipping away at me.

With the first card, there was denial. My mind said

“Oh no. Not happening. My son isn’t leaving home. Ever.”

Denial stayed around a while.

Then by several weeks of little cards, there was a twinge of reality.

“Okay, my son will leave home someday. It’s still far away, but it’s likely to happen.”

Then after months, there was more chipping away. We were getting into the painful place where it hurt more.

“My son is going to leave. It’s even time to talk about where he might be going. It’s probably time to even quit ignoring some of these cards.”

Now the cards just hurt. Getting the mail just seemed to cut me.

But lately I’ve noticed it hurts not as much. There’s a wound there for sure. It’s opened but it’s numbing up. I’m starting to feel more numbness than pain. I’m getting used to the idea of what is coming.

And slowly, as these little cards lead my heart through time and through the process, I realize that they are part of preparing  me.

When the day comes, I know I’ll be ready. And I wonder how much of it will be from the feelings, the thoughts and emotions that went on each day when I got the mail.