December 15, 2009

Hope and the difficulties it causes

“I can’t trust the Lord to do me good.”

One of the refrains of my childhood. Repeated over and over by a mother who loved nothing better than worshiping God. Who was a full-time minister. Who told me that the story of her life was not the story of the abuse she’d survived, but the ways the Lord had redeemed her life and used every one of her hurts to heal others.

“I can’t trust the Lord to do me good.”

My husband was one of my spiritual heroes during college. A senior to my first-year status, he led a mind-exploding Bible study that first year of college. After moving on to do his MD/PhD, he’d come back for retreats with our church and we’d quickly dive into the deep end of theology and philosophy. Dive into the heart of Who this God is that we worship.

Over the years, he’s been through disappointment after disappointment. Unanswered prayers. Frustrated hopes. He’s gone out on the faith limb only to have it break off and leave him bruised on the ground.

“I can’t trust the Lord to do me good.”

I find that I don’t lean on anyone, really. I share things with my friends. I tell people what’s going on, but I don’t cry with anyone (only with Jrex after Mom died and I couldn’t hide the tears). I tell Jrex the details of my day, my silly/trivial thoughts, sometimes I try to tell him what’s going on with me spiritually, but I don’t share the deepest things. The places that feel fresh, or tender, or tentative? I wait to process them alone. When I feel needy, I’m more likely to curl up with a novel, or write in my prayer journal than I am to call someone. Angry emotions I can share with friends, just not sad/needy emotions.

I’ve realized more and more lately that I’m afraid to really trust or hope. I pray for changes or for the future. I trust that God does love me, but my Mom’s refrain echoes in the background. I DO trust that the Lord will bless me and that he’s there, but when it really comes down to it, I refuse to lean on Him far enough to risk the branch breaking. One foot on the branch, one hand reaching out, yet one hand on the trunk, one foot close to safety. I am terrified to risk all by praying all, hoping all, believing all. I don’t want to fall. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to have to wrestle with doubt or despair the way my mother and husband have.

I’m trying to trust that the Lord has good in store, no matter what the present circumstances might look like, but it’s hard. The sad truth is that I don’t think I knew this was in me this deeply. As I’m trying to rest in the Lord and explore our relationship more deeply, I keep hitting these walls.

Numbness is easier than hope. Yet I know I’m not called to live numb. In my mind though, hope equals pain. I know it’s wrong, yet I’ve rarely really had it modeled differently. My father and I tend to be optimists, yet I don’t know how deeply either of us delve into our deeper emotions on a regular basis. I can easily hope to do well at work, to excel in tasks, to find good friends. There are other more hidden, less-visited places in my soul where I just can’t risk hope because disappointment might crush me.

7 comments:

Inkling said...

You just found what's been hiding in my brain and heart and you put it into words. I'm wrestling with this too, and it seems that Someone is wooing me to really face it and see what happens. Maybe we're in this together. Thank you for writing this today.

Snickollet said...

Thank you for this. It is hard to trust, and I struggle with all of these things, too.

I get the sense that there is something difficult going on for you right now, and if that is true, I am sorry.

Rachel said...

Well, it sounds like you are at least aware of the problem, and maybe that's the first step in the process of healing and learning to trust. I think that one of the aftereffects of suffering is the inability to trust that good things are in store for you. May you find the strength to hope again. {{{Hugs.}}}

(Melissa) said...

I think this is the most moving (and rewarding) thing I've read in a very long time. I guess you needed to write it - but I'm willing to bet that there are a of people who really needed to *read* it, too.

Thank you!

justmemma said...

I've been faced with a lot of abandonment (childhood) and disappointment. I'm very very self reliant and know that's not how I should be. It's difficult for me to ask for help, from people or from God. And it's difficult for me to trust that they will and they care. I can be a very hopeful person, but in the pit of my soul I'm very hopeless. Thanks for writing this. I don't trust that God will do me good either. I just bought a house, and that was a struggle in trusting and hoping and hurting and waiting and doubting and getting really mad and anti-dependant.
Probably too much info, but thanks for sharing.

dovey said...

love you!

B.E.C.K. said...

I can relate to this. I am trying to trust God more, but it's hard to let go of the illusion of control completely. *hug*