We are a hopeful bunch when it comes to love. We’re hopers and dreamers and hold-onto-ers. We push through the hard times and refuse to give up, and that’s one of the best things about us.
We believe in love and fight for it with everything we have. That’s the strength that lies in the heart of a woman.
My heart’s always had a knack for hope and in most areas of my life this has been a great thing. But in other areas of my life, hope has been excruciating, something I wish I could have de-programmed altogether.
A few years ago, God told me who I was going to marry. I was positive. I had heard it, and felt like everything around me seemed to confirm it. For almost a full year, the prayers people prayed, the scripture I read, the circumstances that unfolded, everything seemed to be pointing me in the same direction: This is your husband! This is who you’re going to marry!
I prayed, and I believed, and I trusted with my whole entire heart, even when things weren’t going well, even when my circumstances were telling me I’d heard wrong.
We weren’t on the same page. I was pursuing our future and he was moving on. I was running after what I thought God had told me, but he wasn’t getting the same message.
So with hope spurring me on, I tried harder.
I thought this was a test of some sort, that I just needed to keep hoping and keep praying, and that somehow what I thought God had told me would work out.
Have you ever found yourself in a place like this?
We begin relationships with such hope, such energy, and such a desire to see them succeed, that we don’t know what to do when things aren’t going the way we hoped.
Maybe we just need to try harder, or prove that we’re up to the task of loving someone for better or for worse. Maybe we just need to pray more, or fight for it more, or wait just a little longer and it’ll work out.
This is a painful place to be, because here we’re stuck between hope and our circumstance — between our desire for something to work out and the fact that it currently isn’t.
It’s even harder to know what to do in those situations – to hold on, or to finally give up.
When do you pull the plug? When has it been long enough? When is it time to stop hoping?
I can’t and won’t tell you what to do with your hope today. But I’m going to (gently, I hope) give some scenarios that might suggest it’s time to let go.
It takes a super-human amount of bravery to take a hard look at your situation, but if you find yourself stuck between hope and giving up, I’m going to ask you to try.
It may be time to let go if:
– The person is in a relationship with someone else
– They haven’t reciprocated your feelings for them
– That person is consistently mean to you or makes you feel small
– You’ve broken up and they haven’t suggested they may want to get back together
– You’ve done everything you can think of and it still isn’t working out
– You’re the only one pushing the relationship forward
– You often wonder if you’re settling
– You find yourself glorifying their good actions and justifying their bad ones
– You’re holding out hope that he’s going to change
When you’re holding onto hope for a relationship, admitting to one of those things is incredibly painful. But it also can be one of the best things you do for yourself. I know how it feels to waste time on something that isn’t working when there is something else out there that might.
I held onto my hope for that relationship for a long time. I thought I had heard God correctly, and I could name a thousand reasons why we could and should end up together. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t make it happen. And when I finally looked at our situation honestly, I could see things weren’t right. If they were, I wouldn’t have to force it.
Our circumstances, his actions, our interactions, everything was refuting what I thought I’d heard God say. And eventually I had to consider that maybe I’d heard wrong.
I didn’t want to let go of our relationship. Because not only was I losing someone I cared so much about, in the deepest part of my heart I was afraid if this didn’t work out, maybe nothing ever would.
But just like God always does, when He asks us to let go of one thing, it’s right up His ally to give us something better.
I eventually gave up on that relationship and let go of the hope I’d held onto for so long. I didn’t know how the story would turn out, but I knew I trusted God enough to let go and find out.
A few months later, I went on my first date with someone new.
He came into my life without warning — pursuing me, and caring about me and investing in our relationship. I didn’t have to push or shove or hope him into my life, he came on his own, and he fit.
If I hadn’t given up on that relationship, I never would have met my husband.
We are the best hopers. We refuse to give up, fighting for the people we love, and for the relationships we believe in. And this is a beautiful trait, something wired into us for the time when we will fight for one person for the rest of our lives.
But before then, we’ll never know what God might have for us if we’re too busy fighting for a relationship that isn’t fighting for us right back. Sometimes the best things can happen when we unclench our fists and bravely let them go. Because only then can we receive the better “yes” God is just waiting to give us.