Except when it comes to myself.
You see, even though I've had good things happen to me before, I have this weird voice somewhere in the back of my mind. This voice likes to tell me that if I hope for something, it probably won't happen. And when the inevitable occurs, I'll be disappointed.
And disappointment, for some reason, is like the worst thing that could ever happen.
But see, I have this friend (cough, Melissa Tagg, cough). She likes to remind me that God has given us every reason to hope. And when it comes to dreaming, hope is the fuel that keeps us going. God has promised us GOOD THINGS, and when we pretend like those things don't exist, we lose something extremely precious along the way.
This is all fresh in my mind, because just over a week ago, I was up for a big award among unpublished authors in the inspirational fiction industry. I was attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, where the winner would be announced at a gala the last night. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck whenever I thought about the announcement. I finaled two years ago and didn't win (but lost to a very deserving and dear friend), and I was preparing myself for the same outcome again. But there were several instances throughout the conference when my attitude and perspective were challenged.
Other than some great conversations with my best writing buddies, a very distinct moment stands out to me. I was attending a session led by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck (two writing mentors of mine), and Rachel was talking about the ups and downs of the writing journey. She said, "You have to ask yourself, 'Can I allow God to handle my disappointments?'"
I can't even tell you the lightbulb that went off in my head! The day before, I'd attended a seminar on writing WITH God, and letting Him lead us in this writing adventure.
It's like God was saying to me, "Lindsay, I want you to take my hand and trust me -- wherever I lead. Don't hold onto your hope, but let it fly. If you keep it tethered to you, you'll lose steam. You'll never grow. You'll wither and eventually the good seed I planted in your heart -- the one that loves creating through the written word -- will die. I'm big enough to help you through the disappointments. Will you trust me?"
So instead of choosing the route that feels safer, that feels like I'm protecting my heart, I'm choosing a new motto:
It's better to have hoped and been disappointed than never to have hoped at all.
Thank goodness the Lord taught me that lesson. Because when my name was called as the winner of the Genesis competition in the contemporary category, my heart experienced the full effect of one that had hoped for God's best.
But even if I hadn't won, I know my heart wouldn't have shattered. Because I serve a God who is a gentle physician, healer of wounded spirits, and encourager of on-hold dreams.
|Still in shock after winning the Genesis.|
|With writing mentors Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren of My Book Therapy.|
|With my writing besties Melissa Tagg, Gabrielle Meyer, and Alena Tauriainen -- my support team!|