Promises may be tricky business, but so is hope. Because, if we’re honest, it’s one of the hardest things for us to live in without our fearful grip of control.
Most of our hope is built around man-made limitations and boundaries to be sure we don’t go crazy or get out of hand. We tell ourselves that while hoping is fine, we wouldn’t want to hurt ourselves by going overboard. Like a parent talking to her child holding a giant bucket of Halloween candy straight off the trick-or-treating streets, the motto is: partake in moderation.
Just a few weeks ago I was driving home to Atlanta from Charlotte, doing some of my thinking. In the midst of a previously busy school week, I had finished a book proposal that I longed for God to do something with.
Reflecting on the week, though, I realized how quick I was to tell people that “I’m good with whatever happens,” “it’s just for fun,” and “it’s okay if it’s not the right time.” While on one hand those words resonate with my deep desire to be surrendered in the process, on the other, I was clearly withholding my hope in a simple effort to self-preserve.
If you’re like me, we build this equation around the falsity that higher hope mixed with life’s uncertain outcomeswill always equal greater disappointment. And since we can’t control what comes our way in life, the only answer to lessen the sting is to diminish the hope.
Photo Credit: Henry Burrows
As I was thinking through my protective reactions, my mind began drifting to a story of God opening a ridiculous door in the documentary “Father of Lights.” If you haven’t seen it, I so encourage you to watch it. In the film, God moves by His favor in this crazy, unlikely way. The outcome the world says couldn’t happen – that’s the door He opens.
Driving somewhere down I-85, this clash began to take place within me between my well-restrained hope for what is possible and my full belief in a God who moves far beyond the fenced walls of the world’s opportunities.
We are prone today to preserve ourselves at all costs from disappointment, believing it could be the end of us if it comes on too strong or suddenly. We plan and predict for disappointment’s attack because we are fearfully certain it will come. Instead of embracing it as a teacher on the journey, we decide we would rather withhold hope than fall into its trap.
But what would it look like to live with hope that comes by us surrendering our self-preservation tactics and allowing vulnerability to be our companion on the journey?
We have the option to live closed off from hoping in exciting potentials and impossibilities. We can easily walk around with buoys and fences surrounding us to control the hope we invest out of fear we may feel the depths of disappointment.
Or, we can go against the grain and risk allowing our hearts to beat for what is true of us and the dreams of the Father within us. For us to become less concerned by what may come, and more excited by what very well could be. We can choose to tap into what is live in this moment, no matter the unknown outcome.
That is wild hope.
We miss something important in life when we put up walls around our hope. We miss the celebration when things come and we miss the disappointments when they fall. We miss being alive and vulnerable and plain human. When we proclaim to the world that we’re living abundant and free, it must come with us willing to carry wild hope even in the face of possible disappointment and discouragement.
So today, this is my story: I have this dream of a book and it has legs and a backbone and form – but it needs open doors. And I’m willing to hope in what can’t be seen (and what the world says likely doesn’t match up) because I can’t get out of my head that I love a wild and extravagant God.
So I wait. And as uncertain as it may all be, I hope.