We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19.
Writer Allison Fallon wrote a blog post about not giving up when things are hard.
She says there's really only two choices when it comes to keeping going... to give up or not give up.
Seems so simple, yet a lot of life comes back to this question. No one can truly decide for you what is right. But what she says is helpful.
"The time we need hope the most is when it is most tempting to let it go. Hope is dangerous. It threatens to make fools out of us. It threatens to make a mockery of the life we choose for ourselves. Will anything we’re doing ever matter? Will our circumstances ever change? Well, there is really no way of knowing. So are you going to do it anyway?
What Allison talks about in many of her blog posts resonate with me.
After reading it, I have more questions than answers. Questions just create more questions.
What does it mean to live hopeful if I continue to choose not giving up?
What does giving up look like? Is there a time when that is actually a good thing?
Then I go back to love being soft, like Allison says. Letting love be like the ocean, for instance, which is so powerful and strong, yet it is soft. Think about it.
Yes, love hurts sometimes. But, despite that, I want to be soft. I don't want to harden. Yes, sometimes I protect. But, I don't want to go so far with it that I can't lay my armor down.
I can go gentle. I can agree to move together and flow together with another person and let it be light. I can't do that if I'm geared up for a battle, or geared up to protect myself at all costs.
Love can be a mixture of real fears and real uncertainties and real growing pains.
Yet, we can still be in awe of it, still find it magical, and surrender to the process. When we are in awe, we likely aren't in control.
I am someone who, deep down, thinks things will go smoothly if I am in some kind of control, thank you very much, and if I'm not, secretly wishes I was a little more in control. Deeper down, I know it's better for me not to be in control. Complex, I know.
I love what Allison says about the ocean, how we might go into it thinking, we've got this thing. But it's THE OCEAN. The ocean is actually in control, even if I think 'oh, it's just a little water.' What happens when the tide pulls me under? Maybe love is like that? Maybe there's more going on that we can't even control that we get to be in awe of. The good and the bad and everything in between.
To soften like water is counter intuitive. But also, love is so counter intuitive to begin with.
Basically, if I love well at all, it's because God first loved me. He showed me His love and grace, and I now I am able to love back.
It's really a risk. I'm starting to think risk is also the opposite of control.
It feels like everything I'm being asked to do is the opposite of control.
I can sugar coat the process in a lot of ways and say it's fine and I'm good but a lot of times it's terrifying and I go back and forth between emotions but love is also amazing overall, because I am part of something bigger that myself, that God orchestrates. Telling the truth about love has set me free in a lot of ways, though.
I am mostly talking about romantic love here, when you start to get close in new ways to a person and it's all very weird and new, but really, being open to love in all different ways and telling the truth about it is freeing.
Allison says so much of love, really, is about letting go.
Maybe love is about letting go because love is really about surrender.
I am trying to listen to what this means for me.
Right now, in my life, I think it means to keep coming out of hiding more and more. Not trying to control. Acknowledge there are days I want to give up. Acknowledge there are days I would like to be in control. Remind myself that God has done so much and it is good. Remember to listen to my own voice and the voice of God. Remember that where I am right now is where I am right now and that's where I am supposed to be.
"Sometimes we need to pull ourselves together and try harder and go faster and longer. Other times we need to soften, to give in a little, to give ourselves permission to take a break. Strong and soft."- Allison Fallon
Sometimes you have to work your way through the questions, even if there are no immediate answers, to remember who you are (for me, someone who asks a lot of questions), and remember who God is (a God who can handle all these questions).
I remember I have what I need in this moment, I remember God may not reveal everything at once. I remember that I can do the next right thing in love.