Hope Always Requires Vulnerability

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To live with hope is hard. Mostly because you have to live in vulnerability to hope. The reality is you may be let down or worse yet—crushed because of hope. Being crushed is something you never forget, never forget to feel. So to risk being crushed again makes hope evasive. It is safer not to hope.

And we are very good at doing things that numb us and take us out of our vulnerability. These things are as negative as alcohol and self-injury and as pure as good works and busyness. But all of these behaviors steer us out of living a life of hope.

Just writing those words—“living a life of hope”—brings back devastating crushing memories from those pure attempts of trying to live a life of hope. Unless you are like my beautiful 24-year old friend who says she has never been broken-hearted. Her living a life of hope is full of safe hope. But is that really hope?

Feelings. These hurt.

Here is what I’ve learned from living my life of broken-heartedness. Hope is a combination of:

  1. setting goals
  2. having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them
  3. believing that worthiness is your birthright.

As Dr. Brene Brown has taught me, hope is Plan B.

[Tweet “when I can make the decision to make a Plan B I have found hope.”]

Plan A has crushed me at times. But when I can make the decision (and this is a me thing not a God thing) to make a Plan B I have found hope. Plan B may also crush me but I have chosen to set goals, my tenacity gives me room to change and revise those goals because deep down I know I’m worthy of having something good happen to me.

Hanging on to Plan A is where the heart gets crushed. How many times have I prayed this? “God it has to happen this way. You told me it would happen this way. Your promises state it will happen this way.” Please add in your own sentences to this prayer as I’m sure you’ve prayed this way at least once. But when I have the bravery to make a Plan B—which still falls into God’s promises because they are wider than my “supposed-to’s”—I have hope.

I have a son in jail awaiting sentencing for 20 to 30 years. This was not my hope for him. This was not the practical plan we had given him to live a normal life. His plan though was to recidivate because (as of now) he is more comfortable being incarcerated and is more confident that God will use him behind bars. What??? If I live in the failure of Plan A I’m going to continue to be crushed and most-likely will fill myself with self-doubt and “where did I go wrong?” thoughts. I have got to find a Plan B through this. Honestly, I’m not there yet. In my mind right now Plan B sounds like 20+ years of prison visits (a hard reality I already know from another son) and no grandchildren from this wonderful man. But I know I have to find that Plan B and that is helping me cope every day. It keeps me in vulnerability which keeps me feeling because I love this boy of mine so much.

Feelings. These hurt. To have great joys we also have to be vulnerable to great pains. I choose to live this way—living a life of hope.

Be brave.  Choose the vulnerability to hope.  Find Plan B.