Shedding the Fear of Hope

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Red Tent Living, we are featuring a monthly legacy post written by one of our regular contributors from the past decade. Anna Williams is one of our original writers. Her voice helped shape Red Tent Living as she brought the perspective of a single young woman. This post originally appeared in November 2013.

It seems like it takes forever for the trees to shed themselves of their leaves in Texas.

Our trees like to shed leaves in spurts. As soon as you clean up one bunch, another batch falls. That seems to be symbolic of my life recently. Instead of passing through seasons of life, I’m merely shedding leaves one batch at a time. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I’m the kind of woman that’s driven and motivated. Once I have a goal set, a plan in place, and all the means to accomplish it, I’m ready to be at the end. I want to skip the marathon and sprint across that finish line, break that ribbon, and get handed the trophy of accomplishment. I know a lot of women like me. And I would say we are all missing the scenery by not enduring through the marathon portion. We are missing an awful lot of God’s beauty by trying to skip the hard part of holding on to hope with our longing.

I hear this desire to “be there” echoed in other women as they announce, “Once I’m finally finished with school, my life will begin!” Or “When I finally get my own place, I’ll have so much more freedom.” Or “I’m tired of being engaged. I can’t wait to get married.” What’s funny about all of these desires is they all lead to another “start” we will soon want to skip through to be at the beginning of something else. How weary we grow of raking leaves. We want it to be summer again! How much life are we missing in-between? Why do we dread the in-betweens?

I think the in-betweens force us to face our longings and question the practicality of our hope.

In all of my accomplishment-seeking and season-passing, I’m hiding from the fear that my life won’t turn out like I plan. I’ve made an idol of my own definition of success. I’m trying to shed my own longings so I don’t have to wait patiently in hope and faith that the Lord will provide. Instead, I’m trying to run the world on my own terms and sprint around meeting my deadlines like a mad woman. (Picture curlers in hair, diploma in one hand, coffee in the other, yoga mat under my arm, cellphone ringing loudly, and Bible stuffed somewhere under a pile of clothes.)

Where have I put God? Stuffed Him under a pile of clothes. I guess it feels easier to stuff the hope God offers in the moment and reach for a tangible stepping stone. But every moment I’m away from His word and guidance is misery.

The idea of hope is terrifying because it means we don’t see the ending yet. To hope means to accept that we are longing for something not yet accomplished. We are living in faith that our hope will never fail if it is placed in Christ. That seems wildly impractical to me sometimes. Why invest in something risky I can’t control?

I hear Jesus whisper, “Because I did.”

Jesus knew when He died for us that we could choose to not put our trust in Him. He knew our hearts would harden and rebel. We were a risk. And yet He invested in us. He gave up His life for ours. He proved faith in Him is secure by rising from the dead and living again! He offers us life despite our tendency to try to live independently of Him. I am reminded that placing hope in Him is a daily surrender. It is a daily choice to invest my life in His eternal glory instead of mine. I have to realize that if anything I do results in His worship, it is because it was done In Christ and in His strength.

I want to see Jesus in my in-betweens. I want to see God’s magnificence as I’m raking the leaves. I don’t want to miss the beauty of holding on to hope.

Anna is a Texas native living in Western New York with her husband and two young, sweet boys. She loves reading and experiencing new adventures with her family and friends. Anna enjoys examining and debating current events and culture with a biblical perspective. She is passionate about her faith in Christ and sharing where He continues to meet her today.