When Hope Is Painful
I ended up in Target this week.
I didn’t actually set out to go to Target. Nor, in fact, did I have anything I intended to buy. But it was early and I was in town and waiting for someone and nothing else was open.
So I ended up in Target, reminding myself on repeat that I was not to buy anything, because there was nothing that I needed and I didn’t have money to spend on impulse buying.
Spoiler: I totally bought something.
If you guessed it was a book, you get a prize.
Because it was a book.
In my own defense, I seriously tried. The book was called Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis, a beautifully honest book about the lies women believe. I saw it, flipped through the pages and thought, I should definitely read this. Then, like the good, responsible person I am, I pulled up the library app on my phone and reserved it, because I’d never read it before and I like to know a book is good before I spend money on it.
Then I checked my hold and found out I was four hundredth in line and most of my resolve went out the window.
Most of it. I actually left the store, reminding myself that I have a conference to go to next month that I have to save money for and jobs with spotty hours.
Then, halfway through the parking lot, I felt God say very quietly, go back and buy the book.
So I did. Because it doesn’t usually take a lot of convincing to get me to buy a book.
This book was exactly what I needed, especially after a week of anxiety and missed goals. I bought it and immediately read the entire thing.
No, I devoured the entire thing. Heart and soul. I started it in the car, read for about an hour in a bubble tea shop, and had it finished sometime that afternoon. By the time I’d finished the last page, I felt a little shell-shocked, a little convicted, and massively encouraged. The book went through twenty lies that the author had caught herself believing at one time or another, each given a chapter of their own, and nearly all of them hit and hit hard as I read them. They reminded me what my goals were, they showed me my fears, and—most of all—they gave me hope.
And, writer, hope is painful.
Honestly, I’d forgotten how painful. It’s much, much easier to laugh off your dreams, to keep them knotted up in a safe ‘someday’, and to wish but not hope. Hope is risky, hope opens our heart to disappointment, and hope means believing in something despite evidence to the contrary.
But without hope, dreams end up as nothing but a fanciful wish we had once.
So, writer, today my wish for you is that you would have the strength and courage to hope. Because as painful as hope is, life without it is far more difficult to navigate.
What are you hoping for this week? What are some dreams you’ve had that need you to rekindle the hope for?