Saturday, August 11, 2012

Awakening Hope After a Breakup: Dealing with Roadblocks

            Roadblocks to hope

Walking with hope is not like being in a Disney cartoon where bluebirds carrying colorful ribbons lead the way and happy chipmunks wave as you skip down the lane and daisies bloom instantly at your feet.

As you walk down Hope Road, you may have obstacles or roadblocks ahead. You may not be able to see the way ahead or you may feel lost. What are some things that can block hope?

Not knowing the difference between false hope and true hope. After a relationship ends, you may hope the one you cared about will come back. “False hope” is when you expect him to return when it’s highly unlikely or even impossible that he will. Because you want it to happen so badly, you may deny the reality that he is already in another relationship, that he’s married, or that—for whatever reason—he is going in another direction without you. You can, however, be optimistic that things will get better in your life and that God has good things for you down the road.

Romance novels or movies can also lead to a sense of false hope. While I enjoy watching a good romantic comedy once in a while, we need to remember to enjoy the show for the purpose of entertainment not for the reality factor.

In the movies, the leading couple often seems super-magnetically drawn to each other; they inescapably must be together, because they are “soul mates.”  Each is the only one who will ever satisfy the other. With this particular person, life is bliss; without them, life is bankrupt. The guy pursues intensely and despite an inordinate amount of obstacles, he eventually gets the girl and they live happily ever after. Or so we are led to believe. The credits roll and you never see the rest of the story. Now what?

In real life couples have everyday struggles that go along with being in a dating relationship or marriage. In real life men don’t always pursue, they can evade asking you our or avoid a real commitment for years. Also, many women have expectations that a man will know exactly what to say and do to make their heart melt, and when he does not they are baffled. The thing is, in real life men don’t have a script to follow!

Keep in mind that you are wired with a longing for love; it is good to want to be pursued and to desire someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life. While your heart may ache to be the leading lady in your favorite chick flick, God wants to author a love story for you that is genuine and godly—and that is something for which you can pray and hope.

False hope is like being a Pollyanna—optimistic, yet blind to reality. It is wishful thinking or vain imaginations.  Real hope, biblical hope, is different.

Biblical hope is confident trust in the reliability of God’s promises. It is solid and strong because it is based upon God’s words in the Bible. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

Hope presses on and looks ahead.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14).

Day or night, we can ask God to show us what to do, to guide our path so we can look forward with trust, not trepidation.
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4, 5 (emphasis mine)

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