Hopes are often expectations that don’t yet have a voice. Sometimes we think they sound silly. Other times we just don’t want to speak them because then they gain life – and when they gain life – it might hurt too bad if they don’t come to fruition.
Here is what I have learned about hope. Hope is amazing. Without it, people become suicidal. It’s true. Hopelessness is a huge indicator for a person completing suicide. With hope, life seems to have purpose and meaning.
But if you are like me, hope can also cause you a great deal of anxiety.
And what particularly causes me anxiety is when I choose to place my hopes in someone else. I wonder if they can deliver? And what if they don’t? I’m so empathetic that I usually understand, but it hurts me none the less. Dashed hope can cause a brutal amount of sadness and unrest.
And here is the thing. Anxiety flourishes when hope is built on an expectation that can only be fulfilled by someone else. Because no matter how hard we try, we cannot control another person’s actions. We just can’t. So what do we do?
Our expectation, our hope, must shift to becoming our own – knowing that whatever choices are made outside of ourselves – we can handle it with Christ’s dignity, peace, grace, mercy and strength. When we actively accept these qualities from Him as part of the hope process-our anxiety melts into rest and hopelessness simply ceases to exist.
I have high hopes going into this school year. But as a parent of a special needs child, there is a part of me that must know there is going to be difficulty. I have to accept this – or I am setting myself up for an emotional roller coaster ride that makes me want to puke. So I have high hopes, but they are not dependent on my son’s behavior – the teacher’s skill – the recommendations that come out of an ARD – or how he will be treated by other students – my hope rests inside of me. And inside of me lives Christ. I can speak this hope, I can give it life, because I know it’s true. I can handle all things with Christ inside of me. And even when my insides feel like they are being ripped to shreds – I know I will get through it with Him.
He has to be the center of our hope. There is no other way. He is the creator of our peace. We must choose to accept Him as our enough.