Don’t Be Afraid to Hope Again, or Why Fear Is Just a Row of Noisy Ghosts

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Are you wasting a gift God gave you for fear of losing it?

So I’ve been wanting to be more faithful in prayer for a while. To make it a part of my daily routine and to be more steadfast in praying for certain people in my life and their ongoing needs and any more pressing needs. I’ve also been thinking of how good it would be to pray for my relationship.

So one evening not too long ago I purposed to get organized and serious about my faith life, just as I would with my job or anything else in my life. But this evening I wanted to especially write down some prayers for my relationship.

As I got a warm drink and prepared to sit down and write, the most dastardly thought popped into my head, the kind you just know is the enemy’s dart:

“The last time you sat down to purposely pray for your relationship, it fell apart. Two weeks later he was with another woman. Don’t you think you might be jinxing things?”

My mind went back to my previous long-term relationship that had been encountering some struggles. When after three-and-a-half years, he had asked for some space to work on himself, I had begun an A-to-Z prayer list for him, faithfully filling in each letter for the man I loved, believing this short break was a healthy one, believing in faith and prayer that the space would not be for long. Not too long before this space request, I had unfriended him on Facebook, believing I had jealousy issues to work on because of my concern about one of his friends, so I needed a break from worrying and obsessing. During this break we spent time together and talked on the phone. We worked on our friendship, rebuilding the foundation of us, I thought. Two weeks into the space my sis-in-law saw his relationship status change to “in a relationship.” He was with the girl.

That girl.

The one I was told was “just a friend, chubby even. She has a boyfriend. You are being ridiculous.”

I was shattered.

Yet my gut had known it all along.

And this fear, this being afraid to rest in a relationship, this need to protect my heart against all costs, has lingered.

So this night as I walked toward my computer with intention, getting ready to start a prayer journal with tonight’s focus my relationship, the enemy whispered what I now recognized as a LIE into my ear:

“If you pray about your relationship, it will definitely fall apart.”

But this time, instead of letting the enemy have full reign over my heart and mind, I let that logic linger in the air.

So, prayer is what made my previous relationship fall apart?

Prayer?

Prayer.

HOW RIDICULOUS.

And I realized right then that I had a fear of hope.

Of hope.

Because once you hope, once you turn from fear to hope, your heart is vulnerable. Fear gives you a false sense of control, because at least then you are “prepared” for the bad.

But is this a way to live? Anticipating hurt? Anticipating pain?

Wasting each moment of a gift for fear of losing it?

And this is sadly how I’ve spent a good amount of time in this gift of a relationship the Lord placed in my life.

Wondering when it’s all going to fall apart. Looking for signs of impending heartbreak. At some moments even preparing my heart for its eventual demise.

This is AWFUL.

An awful way to live.

A day or two before the enemy whispered the lie that prayer makes everything fall apart, the Lord told me on a walk with Him that my heart was damaged. He told me that just like someone’s heart tissue is damaged after a heart attack, my choice of fear over faith for so long had damaged my heart. BUT He also told me that each choice I made toward trust and love would restore life to my heart. So, looking around and seeing no one around me on the path, I begin to speak aloud words of trust and life for my earthly romantic relationship and then for my relationship toward my Heavenly Father.

And I felt, almost physically, that life was being restored to my heart. That the damaged tissue was beginning its process of restoration.

So as I sat at my computer that night, having broken through the wall of lies that prayer would make my relationship fall apart, I began to pen prayers for not only my relationship but also for me and my heart and my mind. I also began to see with clarity the beautiful gift of a person the Lord had given me to be in relationship with.

There was a peace, clarity, and joy that surpassed understanding once I pressed through that row of enemy lines (lies) that rang so loudly in my ears. And I will never ever forget that lesson to push through that noisy yet powerless row to get to my Jesus and His peace on the other side. It’s like a row of noisy ghosts.

A GHOST ARMY.

In other words, walk through it. Ignore it. Press toward Jesus.

While I can’t predict the future or control the choices of another person, I can begin to make life-giving choices toward trust, love, and hope. Because, really, are my choices of fear, distrust, and negativity going to help me or my relationship anyway?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

—John 10:10

You can feel a bit exposed or afraid when you begin to choose hope. Like you are standing on a balance beam between two high-rise buildings or something.

You could get hurt.

And yes, we can’t control another person or their choices. And we should try to make good decisions about those we partner with. There is wisdom.

But here’s the thing, a life without hope makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12).

I get this verse now.

So I am working to turn fear into faith and trust, one choice at a time. I’m stumbling a little but making progress.

But here’s the most important thing: My faith and my trust must ultimately be in my Heavenly Father and His unconditional, unfailing, never-ending love for me. A love that will never forsake nor fail me. This must be my ultimate hope. My ultimate resting place.

If I keep this unconditional love in mind, then I can appreciate the gift of earthly love my Father has gifted me with right here and right now. And learn to hold it with love and tenderness and not an iron grip of fear. To give it room to breathe and grow. To give God room to work in his life. To enjoy him.

“Trust the Jesus in each other,” a mentor told us.

I hope my honesty helps someone in his or her own battle with fear.

It’s okay to hope.

It’s okay to trust.

Especially when you put your ultimate hope and trust in the one who will never let you down and who is the giver of all good gifts.

He is the firm foundation.

He is the mat under the balance beam if we fall.

I trust you Jesus. I am learning to trust you, Jesus.

Amen and amen.

Have a wonderful week!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

—James 1:17

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

—Isaiah 41:10

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8 comments

  1. Much wisdom here. I think your prayers in the previous relationship were answered for your best good. The one who needed space was not the one for you. The breakup hurt, of course, but it ultimately made room for someone better. I remember needing time to work on my relationship with Jesus before I’d be ready for a healthy relationship. I didn’t realize that at the time, but God knew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen! He did hear the deep cry of my heart for release, and while he didn’t cause the actions of my partner, it did turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I always wanted to be with someone who shared my heart for Jesus – that has always been my dream. And after a few years of singleness and intentional dating, he brought a man who has the same heart for the most important, central thing. And it makes all the difference. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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