…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
That scripture convicts me to think bigger and increase my willingness to believe in what I haven’t seen. But can we just take a second and be real about how painful it can be to have hope?
Have you ever wanted a job really badly? You feel like it’s yours so you share it with a friend? Then you don’t get it. So then you find another one and the excitement comes back, but you don’t get that one either. So next time you keep it to yourself so that your hopes aren’t up and you can take your loss quietly.
Have you ever wanted to see someone be healed from a life destroying disease? You pray for them. You pray for healing. You continue to watch them suffer. You pray harder because you have hope. Then, it gets to the point where you see that it’s not getting better. Against all logic, you press beyond the cognitive dissonance and you continue to have hope. You see them hurting and realize that they need and want rest, but you continue to believe. The hope helps your mind rest, but makes your heart ache because your heart acknowledges the reality.
Have you ever decided to open your heart to someone new only to find that they’re gonna break it too? Part of you wants to try again, but the other part just wants to admit that having hope sets you up for disappointment.
After so much hurt and disappointment, life teaches us to be pessimistic or unmoved so that the bad doesn’t damage and the good comes as a total surprise. But I just want to say that no matter how much it hurts, have hope. Believe only the best things are coming for you and your people. Somebody has to see the glass half full. If you can recall the hurt that all the above situations caused, you can also recall life going on and eventually getting better after them.
Hurt happens. So does healing. Keep hoping for the best.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33 NLT)
One summer day in 2006, I was walking around my neighborhood. Some guys called me over to their car to ask me a question. I walked near the car to hear what they were saying. I had my phone in my hand (remember this was 2006 before snatching phones was really a thing) and the one in the passenger’s seat grabbed it and they sped off. Unfortunately, I was still holding on to it. So I was dragged for a few seconds until holding on was no longer possible. I stood up and I was kinda dazed. I touched the side of my head and pulled out a chunk of hair. I walked over to the first person I saw. Although it was in the middle of day and they had been outside the entire time, they hadn’t even seen the whole ordeal because it happened so quickly. They let me in and I called my parents. Within minutes, my dad was there to pick me up. When I got home, my mom told me not to worry about anything. First, because I was safe and it was just a phone. Second, coincidentally she had just ordered new phones for all of us and my new one was already on the way. It was going to be a surprise.
Sometimes, you can just be walking around and minding your business when someone or something comes along and completely disrupts your life. You have a choice to keep holding on, be dragged along and risk losing your belongings or you can just let your old life go.
Remember, my mom already had a replacement on the way. What are you blocking from coming into your life because you won’t let the old one go?
The major point I’m making here is that eventually you’re going to lose it any way. Save yourself some time. Save yourself some pain. Be like Elsa and let it go.
I basically taught myself how to play the drums when I was nine. I watched other drummers and applied their techniques. I struggled with the same thing most drummers struggle with, keeping the tempo. The organist at my church would tap on the organ to help me out. Then his taps got louder. Then he started banging on the organ until one day I did what all hurting kids do when they get unjustly embarrassed. I cried.
My daddy called him to talk to him about how he’d treated me. All the women who saw what happened told me not to let him get to me because I was doing a great job. All the women except for my auntie. She made it clear that she was very disappointed in me because “No matter what, you never let anybody see you cry.” I can still see her face.
I took that and unknowingly adopted it as a part of who I am. I hardened myself over the years. I went from being the girl who’d cry at any emotional time to the girl who didn’t have feelings. And I wore the didn’t have feelings badge so proudly. That is until I got to a place where I felt my feelings had been irreparably hurt. I couldn’t hide it. I couldn’t shrug it off. I had to feel them.
Last night, I dreamt I wrote a poem. Here it goes…
For all those years of holding it in
For pretending I was unfazed cuz I didn’t win
For being teased for being fat
For being jealous of the girls who were all that
For being ostracized because I was a girl drummer
For feeling like I was too big to wear shorts in the summer
For being annoyed because I felt so tall
For playing down my achievements so others wouldn’t feel small
For telling myself I’m not pretty enough
For allowing my wit to make me appear tough
For beating myself up for having the urge to whine
For all the times I gave up without trying.
Sorry Auntie, believe me I really really tried.
But life has been so hard on me and after holding it in for so long
Today, I cried.
And I’m letting everybody see.
And I’m not weak. I’m me.
I have learned that one of the greatest signs of strength is being strong enough to admit that sometimes I get weak.
One day, I was in the car with my sister and brother (Tan and Tyrone). Ty had just bought an old Mary Mary CD (Incredible) so we were listening to it during our ride. There’s a song on it entitled “Little Girl”. It’s a song that’s supposed to encourage young teenage girls to see their beauty and love it. As it played, I closed my eyes and envisioned my 13 year old self and inwardly I apologized to her for ignoring her feelings and making her pretend to be perfect and unmoved by her life.
I told her I was sorry for not giving her the chance to love the 200 lb body she had. I reminded her that she’s pretty even with all the acne. And I told her that even if none of the boys at school wanted to be her boyfriend, she’s still pretty and an amazing person who deserves to be treasured.
I actually shed a tear when I saw her response to the final thing I told her. I simply said, “I understand completely. I see through the façade and I care about the real you.”
The picture that came to my mind was of me at my 13th birthday party. As my 23rd birthday is nearing I have decided to deal with the issues I’ve buried for so long. Like many girls, I dealt with a lot of body image problems. However, I never felt like I had the platform to discuss it with anyone bc I thought they couldn’t understand. I wouldn’t even admit to myself that I was bothered. I decided to focus on my good characteristics. I capitalized on the fact that I excelled in school. I completely ignored my emotions, publicly. But as a teenager, many nights I cried myself to sleep. I was so displeased with my life and I didn’t want to taint my image so I kept it to myself.
Now, I’m wise enough to know that that was just a tactic of the devil to isolate me and make me feel like no one was invested in me. But as miserable as I was, I don’t regret one tear filled night. 10 years later, I have a testimony and a great appreciation for every woe.
I encourage you to acknowledge your past hurts. Reconcile with your inner child and be healed, in Jesus’s name.