You don’t want to get your hopes up, now, I found myself thinking, You know this most likely isn’t going to work out. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
I fought back tears as I scraped vege scraps into the compost bin in the garden. No, it probably won’t work out. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out. I don’t really care if it doesn’t work out. At least I’ll know I tried.
Then I suddenly realised – when did I start making a habit of talking myself out of hope? The refrain “Don’t get your hopes up” has been part of my inner dialogue for as long as I can remember. Reinforced by well-meaning advice from many different people over the years.
But if it’s true, why do I feel so much grief at the loss of hope? No wonder it takes so much energy to push through the doubts, if I have to convince myself that it doesn’t really matter anyway just to get started.
Surely hope’s not a bad thing?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12, ESV).So why do I find it so hard to allow myself to hope? Because I fear disappointment? Surely the grief at the loss of hope is as painful as, if not more than, the potential disappointment would be.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation (Psalm 42:5, ESV)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12, ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for. (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)It’s okay, I told myself, You’re allowed to have hope. Go ahead and hope as much as you want. If disappointment comes we’ll just deal with it then.
But it was too late. Where the hopeful glimmer had been was now just hollowness again. But I’ll be watching myself next time so I can learn to hold more tightly to hope when it comes again.