If you or someone you know is struggling with dashed hopes, unmet expectations, or shattered dreams please share this post from my other blog at KellyNeffSpeaks.com
Today would be my 31st wedding anniversary. I never imagined I would be facing this day alone. I always thought Randy and I would grow old together. I am a romantic, so I envisioned it like a storybook ending... we would be holding hands lying next to each other and then gently drift off heavenward in close proximity.
It seems nothing in life turns out quite the way we envision it. Those dashed hopes, unmet expectations, and shattered dreams can be very difficult to process when we hold on to them with an iron grip.
I believe that hopeful expectations and grand dreams are a necessary and beneficial part of life that spur us on to success, satisfaction, and fulfillment. However, I am learning as I walk through life that these hopes, expectations, and dreams need to be held loosely.
It is easy to gravitate toward the extremes. On one hand, we cling to our expectations so tightly that when they do not unfold the way we want them to, we are left shattered, crushed, and paralyzed. On the other hand, never allowing ourselves to have expectations or dreams because we fear they will not be met, leaves us without hope and vision for our future, rendering us immobilized. Either extreme seems to yield the same result, being imprisoned by our pain, unable to move forward freely.
Our walk through life is much like that of a tightrope walker who must check her balance with each step as she crosses over the great expanse below her. Thank goodness there is One who is able to catch us when we lose our balance and fall. He is like a safety net that softens our landing and offers a pathway to the ladder that allows us to climb back up to that tightrope and walk across it again. It is okay if we fall, we just need to keep getting back up there again. As it is with everything in life, if we want to refine our skills to increase our mastery of something, we must practice with tenacity.
We must also recognize the lies that Pride will use to persuade us. Pride will assert that we are weak if we choose to use a safety net and then use guilt and shame to entice us to walk the tightrope of life without it. The truth is, humbly admitting our need for a safety net brings strength, wisdom, and confidence. It is our safety net that ensures we can get up and walk across that tightrope again and again.
When we exercise our skills, we build muscle which ultimately makes us stronger. As we develop a strong core our balance improves immensely. Knowing that our safety net is near and will faithfully catch us every single time we fall, we grow in confidence as our fear of falling weakens, allowing us to walk boldly across the great expanse of life. When we do have occasion to fall, our safety net will gently spring us up and toward the ladder, encouraging us to get back up there and do it again.
Each time we practice, our skill is being perfected. We learn to become self-aware and recognize when we are moving too far in one direction, allowing us to perform a balance check. It does not mean we will never lose our balance and fall again, but with practice, we can become more and more adept at walking the tightrope with ease and grace.
May we have the wisdom and strength to entertain hopes, expectations, and dreams that bring blessings of satisfaction and fulfillment. May we also have the wisdom and strength to hold them loosely enough that if they never come to be, we have the freedom to move forward to experience new blessings that bring inner peace and great joy.
"You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety."
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
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