When You're Afraid to Hope


I’ve had two big storage bins taking up space on the shelves of my garage all year. 

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to my garage until suddenly I notice stuff on the shelves that doesn’t look familiar. 

I mention this to my sister and she says, oh yeah, I ran out of closet space so I brought another bin over to your garage.

The bins hold two life-size skeletons {although that sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?} and an assortment of ghoulish Halloween decorations belonging to my niece and nephew. 



I don’t really mind since I have space to spare in there, but finally the skeletons got picked up last week since I guess Halloween’s the day they’ll work their fingers to the bone. 

{I couldn’t resist that pun.}

But more than skeletons and goblins and big hairy spiders, something else has me quaking in my boots this Halloween. 

It’s hope.

Sometimes to hope is the scariest thing in the world.



I’d rather live my days staying a little guarded and reserved, cautiously keeping an eye on the future to ward off any stray disappointments. 

I've always thought it's a little dangerous to live downright hopeful. 

If things don’t go well, it could get kind of messy here, right in plain view of anyone who cares to peer into my life. Pieces of a heart can get broken, confidence will surely falter, and I'm left looking a little silly. 

I've got a long track record of letdowns and I know things always turn out this way. 

{Maybe you're saying it too?}

But what it really comes down to isn't my mistrust of hope. It’s that I’m afraid to trust that God is working all things together for good. 

I’m afraid that God’s idea of good isn’t my idea of good.



I think about the story in the gospels of Jesus's disciples heading out to sea without him in a wildly rocking boat in the middle of a fierce storm. 

They see a figure off in the distance, but it's dark and rainy and they're not sure about what they're seeing. 

Instead of recognizing Jesus coming toward them, they think they're seeing a ghost. 

I wonder if we’re just like those disciples.

Is it easier to believe you're seeing a ghost than to believe God is at work in your life, your circumstances, and your heart?





Whether good or not-so-good, all that happens in our lives comes under his guiding, sovereign and holy hand.

So why do we fail to recognize God in what we fear the most? 

We jump to rational conclusions and look for easier solutions that seem much more logical to our flawed way of thinking. 

We can’t believe what we’re seeing and instead we look right through what obscures our vision, all the while missing the one who reaches out his hand to steady us and walk with us in the storms. 

And sometimes, just when we need a miracle, he invites us to come, walk out on the water and join him.


The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. - Ps. 147:11 {NIV}


I suppose my niece and nephew's skeletons will be returning to my garage come November 1 to rest their weary bones for another year. 

{You weren't tired of Halloween puns, were you?}

I've saved the space on my shelves awaiting their return, even though I could have easily filled it with the two dozen empty plant pots and half-filled bags of dirt I have strewn across my garage floor.

I mean, I certainly don't want those skeletons becoming a bone of contention between my sister and me.

So I guess I've decided it's a good thing to hope for the best.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there for more posts from my blogger friends!



Comments

  1. Valerie I really enjoyed this and all of your puns. I agree with you about hoping. it's scary to hope it kind of feels pretentious to hope sometimes. It does feel dangerous to hope that all of these awful things will work out for good. Sometimes we reverse that. We think that it's more dangerous to hope. But it isn't. When we don't hope we end up in places we didn't want to be because we didn't live by faith. it takes faith to hope. Earlier this year I really thought a lot about hope and how without hope it's impossible to really live well.
    hope is a motivator. If you don't have hope you can try to do the right thing but eventually you'll burn out in despair. Will you be dressing up this year with your niece and nephew?

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    1. Hi Somer,
      The skeletons offered themselves so easily to the puns! Pretentious to hope - -yes, that describes it perfectly, but you're right that hoping involves faith and it depends on what or who we're hoping on, doesn't it? I don't think we can live without it.

      No, I don't think I'll be dressing up for Halloween, but I could just sit there with my friends, the skeletons -- I've gotten to know them pretty well this year since they rented space in my garage! :) xo

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  2. Tears, Valerie. (And, of course, smiles at the puns.) This is so timely for me today ... I can't even tell you how much. Thank you, my friend.

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    1. Hi Lois,
      So grateful that when we think all hope is lost, we can always begin again to hope . . . thank you for reading!

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  3. At least the skeletons are not in your closet! As always, love the puns! Your photos are definitely getting me in the mood for fall!

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    1. Brittany,
      I almost named the post that! Of course, it would have been skeletons in the garage, which didn't have the same effect! :) I am learning from the greatest punster, ever -- YOU! xo

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  4. I adored your puns! Sounds like you have a garage full of even the unknown! I so get this, preferring to not hope, believing it will be less painful than to hope and be disappointed. I've definitely reached crossroads where I have stopped, and chosen not to continue with fear of the unknown instead of in hope with the ONE who knows I'll be okay. Yes, hoping for the best is secured in the hope it IS the best as all things can prosper us. Thanks for this today. As I keep moving toward a goal that takes much time with no immediate-like worldly results, this is perfect timing.

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    1. Lynn,
      I'm so glad the puns were appreciated {you never know if they're a bit too much}! I love what you said about fear stopping us in our tracks and it also stops us from hoping but hope, in return, transcends fear, doesn't it? I'm with you on a goal that takes time with no immediate results -- but aren't those the best places when God does his work and we can't point to anyone else but him? Love that -- and you! xoxo

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  5. Sometimes I’m afraid to hope too. And yes, this: “I’m afraid that God’s idea of good isn’t my idea of good.” Praying for more faith to believe that his definition of good is far greater than mine! I was in my attic this morning hunting down some boxes. It's a scary place too. :)

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    1. Lisa,
      Attics and garages are scary places, aren't they?! Oh, I'm with you in praying for more faith!

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  6. Hi Valerie,
    Oh you are so kind to let your garage space be shared, even when you weren't aware of how it had come to be! This thought touches me today: "I’d rather live my days staying a little guarded and reserved, cautiously keeping an eye on the future to ward off any stray disappointments," since I know that I am all too guilty of doing this! Even when I think I have opened my heart, so often I feel God gently prying my fingers away from that closed door. So thankful for this good word that you shared today, my friend! We are so blessed when we put all our hope in HIM! xoxo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I should start charging my sister a little garage-rent, don't you think?! :) Unclenching our fists where hope is concerned and opening our hands and hearts is a hard thing to do -- I'm right there with you -- praying and hoping, friend! xo

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  7. Hey Valerie ~ I just hope my sister doesn't read your post and come toting a few boxes and bags of her own. Mmmm ...

    I love that you shared the story of the disciples out on the sea. I'm fairly sure my faith would have faltered. I'd like to think it wouldn't. But truth be told ... yes, it would.

    I'm so thankful He doesn't give up on us but tenderly continues to woo us toward His loving heart. That I can say yes to ...

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    1. Linda,
      How funny! Tell your sister to bring them on down -- I'll move some skeletons out of the ways since they don't need much breathing room! :)

      I like to imagine myself in those age-old stories and I'm pretty sure I would have been the one terrified of the storm, no matter how I'd like to think I'd be one of the strong ones. But I'm so glad God stays with us through the storms even when we don't recognize the work of his hands in our lives!

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  8. You are such a sweet sister and auntie, Valerie. :) As always, I love your photos, especially the nature ones. And your puns. Your writing is so lively. :) I can identify with the not daring to hope. Your bringing up the disciples causes me to reflect. They thought it was a ghost. They didn't see it was Jesus, even though they had just experienced Him miraculously increasing the loaves and the fish. Isn't that just like us? We forget or don't take to heart the miracles of God getting us to the present. Like you said - "Is it easier to believe you're seeing a ghost than to believe God is at work in your life, your circumstances, and your heart?" I'm afraid I'd have to answer "yes" to this many times in my life. Thank you for stirring my heart today to remember God is at work in our hearts and lives 24/7. Blessings and hugs to you, my friend!

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    1. Trudy,
      Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed the puns!

      You bring up a good point that the disciples had just witnessed a miracle, haven't they? And so it is with us -- we somehow miss what he's doing right in front of our very eyes and call it coincidence or luck when it's God moving in our lives. So glad about God being with us 24/7 because I so need him every hour! xoxo

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  9. The puns made me smile! And I agree, hope can be scary at times. It's easy not to get our hopes up for fear of disappointment, but so true that we should be expectant that God cares and that his plan for us is good.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      God's plans are so good for us to grow and become all he sees us to be, even though we are not yet. I love that verse in Romans that says that -- one of my favorites! Thanks for being here and sharing!

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  10. Loved this post, Valerie! I've not thought about being afraid to hope but as I read, I saw the truth of this in my life. It's scary and risky, yet how can it be when hope is our loving Creator? I hope your words stay with me a bit and settle all the way down to my bones!

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    1. Hi Debby,
      Hope is a tricky thing and yet God is full of hope. I think it's where we fix our eyes . . .

      I just love your pun too! xo

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  11. I think at the core of hope is walking by faith, not sight - believing that what we can't see will come to be. That's simply not our human nature, is it. And if we've had hopes dashed, it means that we have to engage faith and trust, often just a double whammy. In my own life, my hope has been girded by watching God's faithfulness and believing that I can have hope in His ability to be faithful again and again. It's not perfect, but His plans are good - if I believe that with all my heart, I can rest in that hope and promise. Always encouraged and provoked to thought here, friend. Big hugs!

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    1. Tiffany,
      Hope and faith are so intertwined! I love what you said about it being a double disappointment that takes us out when we feel let down. You speak the truth when you say that our hope is strengthened through perseverance because it proves God is faithful over and and over again. So glad for your thoughts, friend! xoxo

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  12. Valerie- Oh how I get this and how it resonates in my heart! Yes hope is scary-
    (and feels foolish at times and I think I would rather be surprised at something than let down so better not to hope- )but hope is to be the anchor of our soul and God offers us hope like you have said- I love your example and the story of Jesus on the water- Sometimes so hard to see what He is doing and up to-but if i could continually trust His character to be good- the circumstances wouldn’t hold as much weight and perhaps
    I could see the good in the hard places too- Thanks for this ’pun-ny’post ;) i loved it! xo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I love your words that hope is an anchor for our souls! I'm always wondering if I'm looking at things like I should and I have so much room to grow in that area since I often jump to inaccurate conclusions. I think that's when praying for perspective to trust what we can't see comes in. I'm so glad you enjoyed my silly little puns! :) xo

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  13. So I never thought of looking for God in fear. I mean of course you look towards God when you are afraid but in? That's interesting. I do agree though that it is hard to see God's standard of good when in human terms it doesn't seem that great. I also struggle with accepting God's goodness as when I don't deserve it but He gives it to me because He loves me. Maybe that's different from what you said but just thinking.
    Hope you have a good week and weekend

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I'm so glad God's love for us is immeasurable, even when we don't deserve it!

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  14. Your puns were right up my alley :). Never be afraid of hope--it's what keeps me going through all the tough times and sets my compass during the good times.

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    1. Hi Anita,
      Thank you for sharing these good words -- love it that hope is our compass!

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  15. "Sometimes to hope is the scariest thing in the world." Such truth there, but I think if we place our hope in Christ Jesus and not our circumstances or the things WE think we need, God will always exceed our expectations. For His ways are not our ways. His plans far exceed our plans. I feel like I should stick a pun in here somewhere, but I got nothing. :)

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    1. Hi Nicki,
      Laughing about your lack of puns but I'm loving that you tried to think of one! :) Yes, our circumstances shift but the one we hope in does not!

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  16. Hope is definitely scary! We would rather be prepared for the inevitable let down than hope for the best.
    I love that you didn't notice the bins! :)

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    1. Sarah,
      I should pay more attention but the garage isn't one of my favorite rooms! LOL

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  17. Hey you! I finally had a moment to hop on and read your blog from Nashville-- and I love it--keep up the punny lines. :)
    This quote is what has been filtering through my mind since we embarked on yet another trip this past Wed. (and you know how I feel about trips...!)
    "When we expect disappointment we are clearly saying to God and others that He is not capable of coming through for us or giving us anything better."
    Seems pretty applicable to us both this week! It is scary to hope sometimes but sometimes we're better off when we stare fear in the face and walk through it with God's help! Hope you have a wonderful Halloween weekend Valeri and we can catch up soon! xo
    OH and I LOVE your header change!! The white space and images are beautiful as always!! :)

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    1. Heather,
      Hope you're enjoying Nashville (and I do know your trip feelings) but I hope you're having fun and enjoying the beauty of fall! I love what you said about staring fear in the face and it has to retreat when hope looms larger, doesn't it? Thanks for the oh-so-kind words about my new header! xoxo

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  18. Hope is a scary thing. I used the same scripture about calming waters in my post this morning.

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your words here! I'm hopping over to visit your place!

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  19. I love your boney puns, Valerie!! I got a lot out of this today. You are wise my friend. I am so glad I can come here and trust your words to tell me honest things, and things that point me to the Right Way. Blessings to you!!

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    1. Hi Meg,
      Thanks for popping over and thanks for the pun-support! :) xo

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