“If you are in a hole, rule number one is to stop digging. The last thing you need is more of this kind of hope.” Dr. Henry Cloud
So, I was reading on the plane. The book? Dr. Cloud’s Necessary Endings. Yes, endings are a necessary part of life. If it weren’t for endings, many beginnings would never happen. Sometimes it is time to say goodbye.
Dr. Cloud says that when we realize that the time to say goodbye has come, we become faced with a “pruning moment.” We have become hopeless that anything is going to change; we realize that what we have been doing is not working, and never will. He says, “It does not take courage to stop doing what you know is not going to work” (p. 82). The courage comes when we decide to do something differently.
Would you agree with Dr. Cloud that, “It is vital to get hopeless” (p. 86)? Sometimes hope can be false. It can lead us to continue digging that hole, which actually leads us further into the pit, rather than drawing our focus up – toward the light.
I’ve been there: In relationships, in the workplace, even in my current book project. Like a pit bull, I’ve hung on and on and on. Refusing to let go of the person, the position, and now the chapter that is driving my word count up and possibly distracting my potential reader from the main point of the book.
When I finally released my addicted former spouse, who had already chosen someone else to share his life with, God filled my void with a whole new life. When I achingly let go of a teaching position that I loved, but was driving me over the edge, God gave me another purpose and calling. If I will let go of this chapter, and be willing to chop, chop, chop my manuscript down to an acceptable word count, my book may actually be publishable. Only then will my goal, of reaching broken people with the hope that God truly redeems the things we thought were lost, be satisfied.
Shall we ask ourselves some tough questions?
- Do I want my life to continue as-is? Or do I really want things to be different?
- Am I holding on to a healthy hope? Or do I need to become hopeless about this situation?
- Do I want my relationship, my job, my word count…? Or am I willing to open my clenched fist and release those things to the One who knows what’s ahead?
The Lord God has beautiful plans and purpose for each of our lives. There is a rainbow at the end of our storm. Are we willing to trust Him to give us the hope and future He longs to give us, or are we going to hold on to our own hopes and plans? Just like the trainer would say to the pit bull, our Father says to us, “Release!” Will you trust Him with me today?
For I know the plans I have for you. declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).