Life isn’t always daisies and dark chocolate. Some days life sucks you down and threatens to strangle you. The other day I re-found one of those raw, strangle-y journal entries.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I guess the good news is the rest of the year will have to be better than January. This month sucked, plain & simple. Bust your butt to find a job but you’ll be no closer the 29th than you were the 9th. Oh, and while you’re at it, get stuck in survival mode because Dave and you both will be sick with the flu, barely recover, and he’ll go down with a cold, then have to be rushed to Urgent Care and then to the E.R. with a very serious stomach issue. Make sure you’re up for cooking meals all by yourself, sticking to the diet, multiple grocery trips, cooking other stuff for Dave, dealing with hand-wash dishes – oh, and trying to make your birthday happy on your own. Told you it sucks.
I didn’t sign up for this – sick husbands, no income, catching his cold before my birthday, broken dishwasher – I’m ready to throw in the towel. Can you just wake me up when life evens out? I’m done for a while & don’t want to be bothered. Thanks.
Besides, it’s not like I get to do those big dreams anyway. Can’t make ‘em happen on my own, sick & tired of no community, losing hope that life will ever be different. If this is abundant, I want off the boat.
WHEN LIFE KNOCKS YOU DOWN
Yup, that’s the word-for-word gory reality of where I was that day (and where I’ve sat other days too) – barely hanging onto grace, sick of “pretending” abundant life could really be mine, not really sure God was at work anyway.
So, what do you do there? What are you supposed to hold onto when life knocks you down and kicks you each time you try to get back up?
Self-pity taught me to curl up on my bed with chocolate and the next season of whatever-chick-flick-series-I’m-into-at-the-moment. Society taught me to stop whining and just exercise more, eat healthier, and pop meds as needed. Religion taught me to put on my “I’m fine” face and never tell a soul.
But none of those work for long. I’ve tried ’em, and you probably have too.
But Jesus? Jesus gently shows me how to HOPE again.
Two days after that grand pity party, I woke up early and lay in bed for 1 hour and 37 minutes talking to Jesus. That’s how long it took – 2 days + 1 hour + 37 minutes – for God to chip away the crusty crankiness from around my heart and pour His love in there.
The new-hope process began with quoting Romans 15:13 to myself, then taking it to heart, then praying it to God:
May the GOD of HOPE
fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit
you may ABOUND in HOPE!
I asked Him for some of that joy & peace, for the faith to believe right now, and for the HOPE I was craving.
Then I started a list and told Him about every single, little item. Here are a few of the things I wrote down:
- I hope to have a part-time job I ENJOY, that pays well, & lets me help others.
- I hope He will drop that job in my lap.
- I hope daily sharing grace grows into a fill-my-life ministry.
- I hope to think on the good people God’s given me instead of reliving the ones I’ve lost over & over.
- I hope to publish my grace story/book.
- I hope to have grace friends.
- I hope to be happy.
- I hope to teach grace truth (esp. identity)…
- I hope to enjoy every TODAY I have.
- I hope to use storytelling to share grace & help people.
- I hope to be full of joy and peace as God helps me to believe Him better & better till I ABOUND in HOPE.
HOPE BLOSSOMS AGAIN
I didn’t get out of bed that morning to an instantly-fixed dishwasher or a suddenly-healthy husband or a phone call from my soon-to-be boss offering me my dream, high-paying job. But the hope God started to grow that day helped me feel better.
And life changed eventually – slowly and not in the ways I would’ve expected – but it changed. And today I can look back at my hope list and see glimmers of how God has answered many of those hopeful wishes. I’ve seen answers to those prayers through grace friends I’ve met, through a retreat this month where I taught grace truth, through my soon-to-be-published book, through the happiness I feel most days now, through the storytelling that’s become an important, enjoyable part of my life . . . . Many of the things on that hope list are turning into reality. And the strangest thing occurs to me as they do. You know what happens when you hope for something and God fulfills it? Your hope grows even more hope!
HOW’S YOUR HOPE TODAY?
What circumstances and problems threaten to suck you down today? Where is life kicking you hard? May I recommend sitting with Romans 15:13 for a while and listening to what God whispers to you there? Then create your own hope list and tell Him about each one. Ask Him to fill you up till you believe and abound again. And just watch your hope blossom and grow as you see Him providing those hopeful things in His unique way and timing.
I bet you a pink daisy and a dark chocolate truffle that it’ll open your heart to even more hope and grow your faith as you see God at work in the little ways that turn into BIG ways!
Janna Wright adores crisp mountain air, deep talks, and chocolate peanut butter anything. Good stories fascinate her and she loves sharing them, often giggling at her own jokes before she gets the punch line out. A Performance Driven Life survivor, Janna’s passion is to see women of faith embrace their God-given identity and purpose and live their best adventure stories now. You can find stories and inspiration for real-life faith on Janna’s website, Grace Thread, and in her upcoming book, Grace Changes Everything.
Publication date: June 1, 2016