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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hope Street


 This post has been sitting on my back burner for a while boiling over every time I read something on hope.   Here goes..........
Returning back to the states after serving overseas carries its own stress. Where to live was one of the biggest and to rent or buy was another.     Right after moving into our rented condo I started walking in the neighbor and was delighted to find a street named, Hope St.   
My  thinking  in the beginning was:  I will use this time walking on Hope St. to place my hopes and dreams before the Lord and see what He will do.   Oh the visions that danced in my head as I passed each modest house on my walk.  To see a “for sale” sign would cause me to rush home and give my husband the number of the real estate company.   Every time they were way over what we could afford but that did not stop me from hoping and dreaming.  It wasn’t long before I put this thought  before the Lord…a three bedroom house would be perfect God, we could  house missionaries needing a place to
stay when traveling through.  Oh yeah Lord, a small yard would be real nice for the grandchildren to play in. What wonderful way to give back what others have given us through the years.   I can envision it, Lord, CAN YOU?  And could you hurry up Lord while the market is down?  (some would call that manipulation. )
A visionary is described as one having unusual foresight and imagination or one having unrealistic dreams.  
As a visionary I have bounced between the two definitions a lot of my life.  In my mind I have not been able to see how hoping for our own home could be unrealistic…UNLESS GOD  had something better in store for me.  Today reading through my   lesson on contentment for this week, one statement brought a break through to my  heart.
Here is the whole paragraph in the book, Calm My Anxious Heart but Linda Dillow.   (When a woman looks for contentment in material possessions, the “thing” she wants pull her deeper and deeper into discontentment.   That for which she longs gradually becomes that to which she belongs. )   Each time I read this another layer of discontentment was revealed till I was deep in my heart where the  Holy Spirit was waiting for me to park a while.  I knew I was becoming discontented by how I was trying to make things happen in my own hope. 
Here is how my  discontentment rose to the surface when I tried to take matters into my own hands to obtain my dreams of a house and a few other things.   I bought a one dollar lottery ticket…I mean someone has to win, right? 
The visionary went to work thinking, if I won we could really have a reunion  when our daughter and family comes home from overseas. We could rent a  huge retreat house on the beach with mountains as the back drop, a bedroom for everyone, riding horses on the beach, extra money to do anything we wanted.      New clothes , ipads, new cars, toys galore for the grandchildren, eating  out every night, a house for everyone to go home to, Disneyland for a week and the list goes on and on.    
I was beginning to be owned by my hopes and dreams which started with a simple three bedroom house with a back yard.  Discontentment left to itself was taking me out to the sea of “Never Enough”.  In truth, I was beginning to be owned by my hope for material procession.  Trust me when I say, God has supplied all our needs, there is nothing I need at the moment so He has done His part over and above as always.  Looking at my needs will manifest a thankful heart whereas looking at what I hope for will usually  bring discontentment.  Hope deferred makes a heart sick.  Proverbs 13:12
A.W. Tozer says it best:  There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us. . . God’s gifts now take the place of God.
So often we ask God to endorse our own dreams, hopes and passions.  Scripture has commanded us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Christ in dying to self.  We are to hope in:  His will...His word...His life...not our own.
 Self-indulgent "hope" is on "sifting sand" and really no hope at all.  C. S. Lewis
This much I know for sure.  If I had not repented from my self-indulgent hopes our time with our family would have been made miserable by my discontentment. 

 I still walk on "Hope Street" but I am more aware of the people who lives in the houses then the houses themselves now.   And today I met a lady watching her dog run around in her front yard.   Looking forward to talking to her again as I continue to walk on Hope Street.

                          Would love to hear your thoughts on "self-indulgent hope.