Swing and A Miss: Chapter 1
Hold onto hope
Hold onto Hope
Standing in awe, I watched everything she said come to fruition. What kind of wizardry was this? How did every goal she set get accomplished? Did she have some special blessing I did not? Maybe she possessed some special form of magic. Or maybe she read better self-help books than I did. But I had gone through the same courses, I was taking the same action, but my success was woefully minimal in comparison.
You see, I had set big goals too. I had dared to dream big dreams, write my goals down, and even create a vision board. That’s right, I sat with magazines strewn about my lap, cutting and pasting, and creating. However, my goals did not get checked off. No grand checkmarks marked my pages. No, mine were marred by scorches of failure. Another goal unmet. Another dream fizzled and died. All the while, I sat in wonder of this magical unicorn who nailed it every single time.
I would venture to guess we all know someone who seems to have all things work in their favor. The speak it, and it is. We mimic them, we learn from them, we want to be like them. But when our plans do not go as we would like, how do we live with our disappointment? How do we carry the emotions and devastation of having failed, again? How do we deal with life’s disappointments in a way that is authentic without losing all hope?
For many years, my life has felt like a swing and a miss. I have tried, and failed, a number of ventures. Oh friend, I have held the highest ideals and goals my little heart could conjure up, only to see everything crumble before me. I have worked and learned, and taken risks, only to have situations blow up in my face. There have been times I have felt sucker-punched and mistreated. But even that would be tolerable if what I wanted wasn’t slipping through my grasp.
What are we to do with these moments, the ones that have turned into clichés causing us to declare, “I don’t fail, I only learn?” Is anyone else tired of learning? Just me? How do we “pick ourselves up by our bootstraps” and carry on? My bootstraps broke off a dozen years ago, and I have nothing left to hold onto. In fact, those boots became worn and tattered years ago.
When life doesn’t go the way we hoped, planned, and prepared for, there has to be a better answer than “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” The God I know is not so cruel, and he is not so mocking. The God I know, the one who has heard my cries and held every tear, cares for me. And I cannot believe he would leave me to crawl, broken and bruised, hopeless and hurting. No, the God in whom I have placed all hope and trust has a plan and a future. He is fighting battles on my behalf I cannot even see. He is directing my steps, and allowing me to walk in obedience, or choose my own path.
We know he works all things together for our good. But we also face disappointments and heartache, and struggle to find our footing. How do we carry both without falling under their weight? Can we have unshakeable faith while feeling angry and hurt? Surely those negative emotions were not instilled in us to harm us. They cannot be formed within us as a cruel trick by the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. They too have purpose. In fact, they must because we have been taught the creator knows every fiber of our being. He knows we would experience the hurt that slices through our very marrow. We cannot brush everything under the rug and proclaim, “it is well,” when our hearts our broken into a multitude of pieces. Friend, I believe there is a way we can hold our disappointments and our faith without ignoring either. We are going to consider how to walk through this life when it seems it is one big “swing and a miss” rather than the homerun we were hoping for. You and me? We are going to acknowledge the hard places and discover how to handle life’s many disappointments.
There are no magical unicorns here, friend. This is the place we are going to hold onto hope in our bruised and bloodied grip and continue in the land of the living.
See you soon for Chapter 2…