January 2022…another new year…another beginning.
I don’t know about you, but I love a fresh start. It’s like a pristine coat of paint in the trending color of the year, full of possibilities and HOPE.
I once heard hope defined as projecting positive feelings into the future.
When was the last time you felt joyful anticipation about your situation or your direction? Maybe you are full of optimism all the time. Maybe the skies above you stay clear blue and sunny. Or maybe, like me, rosy outlooks can take some cultivating because of a personal history of uncomfortable climates. Whatever your current position…let me encourage…now is only just the present and it will pass into a different and new next moment!
That’s called change.
ACCEPTING CHANGE IS THE OPPOSITE OF CONTROL
Many people are fearful of change. I suspect that these anxious feelings are due to the desire to predict tomorrow’s outcomes. Don’t we all desire to have the insight to avoid decisions that result in painful consequences? Isn’t it better to only make the “right” choices?
That’s called control.
The belief that we can control the future is a deceptive work of fiction that we are continually telling ourselves. We cannot expect to see the full consequence our choices will make, no matter how educated or experienced we are. Thus, we are only in charge of our action and never the reaction it brings.
Let me return to that wall with the fresh coat of paint to explain what I mean.
EMBRACE CHANGE AS FUN
When I moved into my current home, I decided that it would be attractive (and fun!) to do a picture gallery in my guest bathroom. I had never done gallery style décor. And my preference in the project was that I use art that was meaningful to me and my family rather than just going and buying any old images. What this has meant, is that I am creating this space over time, hunting down photos and finding themes that work together to develop a harmonious look.
Over the past four and a half years, I’ve put up and taken down countless wall hangings and the room continues to be unfinished. I find something I like, I frame it, and put it up (or have dear hubby hold it) while I stand and assess the change it makes. In essence, I try something new and then judge the effect. When I don’t get the desired outcome of my labor, I remove it and start over with a little more knowledge than I had before.
CHANGE BRINGS BREAKTHROUGH
This process of trial and error has cost time, money and often hope. Time and again I think I’ve got just the right piece to add only to find it doesn’t feel cohesive with the rest of the room. I invest emotionally with each new addition only to be disappointed. And in the meantime, years have passed and it’s still an unfinished project. It would be easy to feel hopeless about this room.
I’m never going to find the right thing.
This is taking too long.
I just want to be done already.
I’m tired of getting my hopes dashed.
Any of those thoughts occur to you about life situations?
Hopelessness could be defined as projecting negative feelings into the future.
But see, every time I try something new, I’m doing it to add to what is already going right! Putting in significant effort is the requirement to see the full outcome. I’ve not gathered enough experience to make an informed decision without the workload. So persistence is the method that brings the breakthrough. And so, it is good and not wrong to try and try and try again.
Unless, of course, I keep nailing up a single piece of art over and over in the same place.
That’s called stubborn.
And a hard heart is in opposition to a hopeful one.
I wonder if being bullheaded is an attempt to minimize pain…?
THERE IS TIME FOR STARTING AGAIN
There is always the option of beginning afresh by taking down the things that no longer serve the purpose of creating a beautiful and meaningful space. The same is true for the things that damage the hope and love in our hearts.
This post is inspired by the beginning…God’s creation of the world as described in Genesis 1. Reading (anew) the Bible from the start, something unique caught my attention. God could have said, “Let there be a completed universe,” and it would have been immediately so. But He didn’t. He worked on creating our environment over time. Day after day He put up one thing at a time, looked at it and decided whether it was what He liked. The Creator of The Way set the template for us for taking our time to get things right and develop wisdom. And, when something wasn’t quite good enough, He fixed it. He didn’t leave His created without a future and He certainly didn’t give up with the workload. In this, God designed hope.
I’m inspired by this outlook on life. If God chose to utilize time to make things better, maybe I can too. If wisdom is the goal (rather than perfection) then every experience is valuable! I don’t need to be done…with the bathroom walls or my character development…ever.
January is a classic time to hold up life’s scenarios, stand back and assess, and then keep or toss what isn’t creating a more valuable YOU. If there is something in your life that is scarring your hopefulness and blocking the beautiful on a canvas that is otherwise delightful, maybe that’s the clue that something needs to come down. If you find yourself discouraged and unmotivated to try again, look at what feeling you are projecting into the future. Futility or possibility? There is no lost effort where wisdom and hope are curated.