I wanted to tell you how I was doing with giving up worrying and taking up hope for Lent. Not very well is the answer. I have been worrying a lot. Not the stomach-sickening, paralyzing kind of worry, but the sneaky, persistent sort that makes me feel miserable before I can figure out why.
It is so alien to my nature to hope. It feels false, like I am wearing an outfit I don’t like. And our culture in general, in the arts specifically, equates hope with rose-colored glasses and chasing rainbows. I can’t even estimate the number of times I have read that a TV series has “improved” because this season the storyline is darker, or an actor is excited her character has taken a dark turn.
I understand why artists turn to dark themes. They believe that can get more dramatic mileage out of the destruction of a marriage than the restoration of one, out of a best friend’s betrayal than her faithfulness.
But it’s extremely difficult to live with such depressing expectations. Since my feelings in this area often trick me, I will go with what I know, and what I know about hope I have found in the following verses:
Psalm 31:24: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 42:5: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Hebrews 6:19: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
This is one I love Jeremiah 29:11: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Yesterday I actively hoped instead of worried about a problem. I felt my heart grow lighter. I came to the conclusion that since neither hoping or worrying changes the outcome of a situation in reality, I might as well hope. Like any other skill, I have to practice it.