A couple weeks ago I was challenged to declare my hopes. Basically, during my wives small group we spent some time in silence listening for nudges from the Lord. That was the thought that popped into mind: write down and then declare your hopes.
I haven't done it yet. The truth is, I'm scared. I did try. On Saturday, Jrex met friends from lab to go running and I stayed home to spend time with God. (I'm off my running program . . . a sore stomach being just the latest excuse.)
I couldn't do it. I realized that I could easily write out my dream. It's the oldest, deepest one that I have. I've always been gifted with kids and dreamt of rescuing kids from garbage dumps, the streets, or disaster and bringing them into a place of hope, stability and restoration. I even took my job as a residential counselor to get life skill training. Jrex and I married with that shared vision. We wrote lines in our wedding vows about welcoming the sojourners that God brings our way. The problem as it's turned out is that with Jrex's schedule and energy level, bringing kids into our home just isn't going to happen. And, it doesn't look like we're moving overseas anytime soon.
I prefer to take practical steps to make a dream a reality. Want to be a fine artist? At least major in it during college to figure out if that's what you want. Want to marry that cool Asian guy? Sit next to him at the wedding reception, invite him to lunch, and go on from there.
Write down and declare your hopes.
I don't know what they are if they aren't leading toward my dream. Everything else feels like I'm making do, and that doesn't feel like 'hope'. In Paul's letter to the church in Rome, he says, "...if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."
What am I waiting eagerly for?
We do want to have biological kids. (We're working on it, Dad, calm down.) I would still like to take in foster kids, but, see above. So, children is a hope.
If we're in the US and not overseas (highly likely), then I would love to have a home that can be a place of retreat and restoration for broken people, especially those wrestling with disappointment with God. Hope #2.
I want Jrex to have a job that is fulfilling and is the right fit for him. Along with that, I want him centered and lifted in amazing ways in his spiritual life. Hopes #3, #4.
Those are things that Jrex and I have discussed, known quantities. So, what's scary? What's the thing that is a wall between me and truly articulating hope? I still don't know the answer.
My friend Ms. Sword answered the question, "What's the difference between a dream and a hope?" by quipping, "Dreams happen when you're sleeping, hope happens when you're awake." There's something profoundly true about that. Hope means it's possible. It's coming. You have to be awake and ready to receive or to act to make a hope a reality.
How would you answer the question? And are your hopes lining up toward your dreams?