And then she said it…
The three words that when combined in one exact order cause single people like me to internally embody Darth Vader in this epic scene of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
“I’ve met someone”
Picture Vizzini’s death in The Princess Bride.
(Okay, I’m being dramatic. Believe me when I say it would be really funny if you were sitting here next to me as I type because then you could see all my hand gestures and wincing facial expressions. Anyway…)
In moments such as these I’ve found that my insides get all anxious and my mind sometimes gets fluffy and although I do my best to talk down the fear—I know, from past experience, what that phrase entails.
It’s not that I’m not happy for her. And it’s not that I’m not excited. It’s just that I’m gritting my teeth while I spin the rolodex of people I know in my head as I strategize my friendship dating game. You know the one—where you need to make new friends who “get your stage of life.” The first step is always coffee, and if coffee goes well, you grab dinner a week later. Eventually, you’re on your way to co-hosted craft nights…until she starts seeing someone too.
I say some of this in jest, but I also speak from a heart that understands what it’s like to, at times, live in the loneliness that is hope. At 29, near most of my friends are married and having children. Although I know my friends still care about me, it feels at times that they don’t know me—at least not like they used to. Over the course of time we’ve gone our own directions and my direction has been in the minority. I wouldn’t change my life per se, nor do I feel as though I am coveting theirs. It’s more that I miss them; I miss being able to engage in the ways that I still see them engage with one another. As every year passes, I find that I’m exponentially more unable to participate in the conversations of our group—and that is painful. And lonely.
The same is true for my dear friend and her husband who have been trying to get pregnant for years. My friend has shared with me countless stories of times where she has found herself within community and yet outside of it—surrounded by women who all have what she’s still hoping for. She’s recounted that she felt alone and ashamed and excluded. How do we so easily forget the longing loneliness of hope? These situations, the ones that allude to the notion that we’ve been left over, feed comparison. How quickly our inner thoughts can go to focusing on the “whys” and “whens” of our circumstances, causing us to slip into the trenches of isolation, doubt or depression.
The thing is, we were not created to do life alone; nor were we created to hope that way.
Hope is hard because we try to do it on our own. We try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, mustering up strength and stubborn self-will while telling ourselves to have more faith.
That is not how true hope works.
True hope is that which is found in Ps 46:10—one of my favorite verses.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
God is moving in the direction of making all things right. He is going to take care of everything! And what is our role? We are called to know Him and be still.
Knowing God is not unlike knowing anyone else. To know someone is to be in relationship with them, understanding who they are and what they are about. Knowing takes intentionality, commitment and patience. It also takes love.
Being still is just as it sounds—although in this verse being still is linked to knowing. We are most still and at rest when we know that we are safe and secure.
Do we feel safe and secure in relation to whom we believe God to be? How we feel about God will dictate our willingness to be still and cast our hopes onto Him.
Here is what scripture tells us about God:
He will never leave us. (Joshua 1:9)
He keeps us from fear (Isa 41:10)
He comforts us in darkness (Ps 23:4)
He is our protector (Ps 27)
He will give us rest (Matt 11:28)
He is our peace (John 14:27)
He loves us (John 3:16)
God’s character is one in which we can rest…and thus, hope.
What would it look like to give our hopes over to Jesus, knowing that He has our best—and the best of all creation—in mind? What would it mean to ask our communities to hope alongside us? How in your life could you practice being still? What area of your life needs to become still? What ideas or feelings do you harbor against God that causes you feel as though you must hope alone?
May you take the time this week to be still and know that you are not alone.