So these days I don't start the year with a list of goals that are up to me to achieve. But I do take the time to consider and write down my hopes for the year. Hoping feels risky, and the bigger my hopes are the more obvious it is that they are out of my control to "make happen." However, having done this for a couple of years now, this has been one of the biggest ways I have watched how God has shown up in our lives in ways I never could have imagined. Each year I feel Him leading me to hope for bigger things and asking me to grow in my ability to believe that His intentions for our lives are truly beyond what we can even imagine.
It is true that hoping opens us up to disappointment. Along the same lines as experiencing both beauty and pain when we stop numbing our hearts (see Brene Brown's quote in the previous post), when we spend time hoping and dreaming, we acknowledge the reality that life may not work out exactly the way we are hoping it will. We are beginning our tenth year of hoping for our hearts' desires to be parents, and the journey that this blog was started to share in the first place! It is crazy to think that it has been a decade-long hope that has gone unfulfilled, yet God has given us the strength to continue hoping. Along the way, there have been many times we have abandoned that hope - especially when we have been trying to carry it by ourselves without God's strength and the support of those who have chosen to walk alongside us. Each time He has lovingly helped us to pick it back up (and really, to give it to Him where it belongs.)
We choose to keep hoping, as we do for many other things in our lives, because we believe that God is ultimately faithful and that He intends good for all of our lives. Our hopes point us to the One in whom our ultimate hope should lie.
So what are you hoping for this year? By the way, they don't all have to be monumental, sky-scraper hopes. Obviously there are some, like the hope for a child, that are significant and big picture. But I have other hopes for this year that I enjoy writing down right next to the big ones. There are some great books I'm hoping to read this year. I'm hoping to go bowling more often. I hope to spend some more time making an impact in the beautiful community that God has placed us in. And even in these smaller hopes, I want to invite Jesus in to bring His life, love and the joy that He longs to share with us in 2017.
"It’s good for the heart to do some dreaming; it pulls you out of the rut, lifts your eyes to the horizon. Hope follows, like children running to the song of the ice cream truck. Desire awakens hope, and hope is really good for the soul." (John Eldredge, "Love & War")