I recently had a conversation with a friend recalling some of life's moments over the last couple weeks. Per the usual catching up, our talks seem to share a lot of laughter, stories of cool moments and even hi-lights on a quick and high-level view. So much happens in life to summarize all the ups and downs and in betweens in just an hour convo can be difficult at times. (Honestly, Im always amazed what the Holy Spirit chooses to allow to surface in conversations like these - you know, the ones where there is SO MUCH to share and not enough time to share it all?!) So as we naturally do, when you know one another SO WELL the conversation jumps around until it settles and that's where the hopes, dreams, set-backs and in betweens seem to come out. The dialogue had taken a turn towards a recent disappointment and the question of "hope". The question being; what does hope even look like despite the rollercoaster we often find ourself on? The experience of getting hopes up and then being let down to an even lower level. What do you do when the surrounding circumstances tell you to pack your bags, don't look back, move on from that dream, or just settle for status quo; and yet everything in your heart's longing is begging for the answer and just ONE more reason to hope?!
Often times when it comes to being let down in life or seeing people I care about in a state of sadness, my immediate reaction is to want to encourage them. I want to say just the right thing to make 'hope' come back into the picture. Give some eternal perspective that will not just bandaid the wound but heal it and make it better!
The sad reality is; often times there just isn't words enough to make the situation seem fair. And while there are a lot of things an ice cream cone could cure or a trip to taco tuesday would help with; when we find ourselves waiting for something we so long to see fulfilled; the only real and true relief is the fullfillment of the longing.
I found myself relating all too well in this recent conversation. Not knowing in that moment what would make it all better, I had come up with a few things to say and then simply stood back and sighed with my friend.
"I'm sorry...It sucks. I know. I get it" - to which I truly did.
Having a phone call with a girlfriend just a bit later, I was expressing my thoughts on "hope" and resonating all too well with the earlier sentiments on it. As I had told my friend in the earlier conversation, I went on to share with this other friend; "its like you give up praying for something you want so badly to happen because it hurts too much to continue being brokenhearted over it. In theory, you love the idea of getting your hopes up, because it could finally be the day of breakthrough, and yet each and every time it isn't the day the rest of your life will change, a piece of your heart breaks off again. There is much truth to the wisdom of "A Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick...'"
For me, for years, and even still often times it creeps back in, I've wrestled with the hope of the calling to unfold. I've wanted for so long certain aspects of my journey to unfold within my calling that I had full blown seasons of disappointment that lingered way too long. (Praise God for his hand even in those hard seasons!) Now while I don't struggle with the loss of hope like I have in the past before, there is still a very strong element there. And I can recall the feeling of hopelessness all too well. Almost as if its a scabbed over wound, just waiting to break again. The sting still feels fresh.
As someone who has been single majority of her twenties into her thirties, this is the my biggest heart's desire and yet perhaps the most sensitive spot I've had to surrender again and again to know God's perfect timing. I've had beautiful seasons of significant relationships that really did bless me and took me into deeper communion with God as a result of; but knowing they weren't the ones I would get to spend my forever with has just been one of those challenging places to journey through. Hanging onto hope that God STILL has my best in mind and he's working, even now, is my only source of affirmation! He is still faithful (I am counting on this!)
Back to the conversation I was having with my friend. She was encouraging me it was ok to take a season off from praying for that "one thing". When it hurts too much to pray for it, in order to not be reminded and broken again and again because something isn't coming to fruition; I think God can handle it, she reminded me. I, Wendy, talk a lot about finding God in the waiting (for my career) and I'm learning a LOT about waiting and patiently enduring the process of exploring a deeper calling, my love life, and the adventures of life while seeking His presence at the very same time. The irony of where a seed of doubt is exposed is how it impacts you. I was believing that if I didn't pray for that relationship breakthrough/ that opportunity/ that calling/ that "thing" to come to pass; that must mean I didn't care about it.
In a reassuring manner to remind me that was a lie, she says to me: "it's okay to let it into the hands of The Father and let him continue working while you wait. Waiting is never in vain." If anything it produces patience, and with patiences comes endurance, and the character we gain in the process is invaluable. Which we both agreed. He still knows the desires of our hearts and will continue to work even when we don't ask specifics, simply because he knows what is best and what's on our hearts even before we know what to pray.
And so, as the verse says "hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.." it ALSO continues "BUT a longing/dream fulfilled IS the tree of life!" (Proverbs 13:12) I CAN say this is true and I can encourage you no matter WHERE you find yourself, whether it's a secret hope or a hope the world knows about; Your heavenly Father knows!!!
He has good plans for you! The MOMENT you chose to put your faith and trust in him, he got to work to finish the work he began until the day of completion. What the enemy meant for harm, the Lord will use for good! And those seasons, weeks, months, years, perhaps even decades you've been waiting - its NOT in vain! He has a plan and a purpose attached to the reason you're waiting.
Those moments you get your hopes UP to have them dashed? What if those are the reminders of the 'thing' you really do want?!? That job promotion or perfect company to work for may have an offer letter but you don't get it this round? Your hopes rise because there's part of you that really wants it!
We can trust that when our hearts are aligned with God's that HIS desires become our desires (as he gives us the desires of our hearts Ps 37:4).
Some of it may be testing to see the extent of which you're willing to go for it/work for it/wait for it.
Some of the waiting may be because of the timing on the other side to be just right.
Perhaps it has NOTHING to do with you, but everything to do with that person being ready? That position being the right fit at the right time? That company opportunity being strategically timed to lead into the next thing and the next?
When it's a promise of the Lord, it could be that the answer was sent, but there was opposition. (Like what Daniel experienced from an angel coming with his answer WHEN he prayed. Look up Daniel 10:12-13!!)
And occasionally there is the "NO" . . .But don't think of it as a "no" because you suck and don't deserve it. Think of it as God saying: "No... Because I love you too much."
That for me was a game changer! To know that while I'm waiting for something and longing for it to happen. While I'm trying my hardest to be patient. While I'm doing all the right things, or literally can see that everything should point to 'yes', that when God says "No" there is a deeper and greater reason that is clothed in his LOVE. And it is because He loves us too much to allow "that" to happen, or He loves us too much to let that come to be BECAUSE He has something BETTER!
Whatever you're waiting for. Whatever you're asking God for.
Give yourself permission to be honest before the Lord, and then ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in the process and give you help when you need it! Give yourself the 'ok' to not strive and trust that His good and perfect plan will come to pass. You don't have to worry about missing it. It will come and it will be RIGHT. ON. TIME.
love you friends,
I'm a storyteller and creative. I tell stories through LIVE events and Media (Hosting and Producing). I'm a Fitness Pro and a Pro Traveler with a strong desire to change the world. My thoughts are written on faith, risk, adventures and LIFE! Im passionate about Life, People, and HIM! Enjoying the journey every step of the way.