Going Deeper: Finding True Hope in a Surface-Level Culture
Alongside the hustle and bustle present this time of year, the world seems to grow pensive. We look back as we prepare to move into the new year.
I too find myself reflective—all I believed the year would hold and all that came to be in its stead.
Soon, across social media, feeds will become filled with “top nine” photos that highlight key moments from the year that have come to pass. These images are curated by an application that selects the posts with the most engagement (likes, comments, clicks, etc.).
These images draw us in.
Last year, as these images filled social media platforms, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated. I witnessed people summarize the year as “good” or “bad” solely based on one or two of the significant moments encapsulated within the year.
Got married? It was the BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE.
Lost a job? 2020 can’t come soon enough. I’m ready to put this terrible year behind me.
It’s not to say both of these realities aren’t valid. Getting married is one of the most significant events of a person’s life and should produce deep feelings of joy. Losing a job is devastating in more ways than one, and sorrow certainly deserves to be felt.
But these off-the-cuff statements only skim the surface of a more complex truth: it’s both/and.
Labeling a year as “good” or “bad” doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. It minimizes all of the emotions felt along the way.
We must go deeper if we are to find hope that sustains.
We can find hope in hard spaces when we sit with the heaviness, weakness, and weariness—for it is often there that our eyes are opened enough that we see God at work.
The same can be true for joy.
Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. 2020 made this clear. And while we may find temporary comfort in posturing that all is well, we all know that deep down, all isn’t well all the time—not even in the most beautiful moments of our lives.
Even our moments of greatest joy can hold hard bits.
The morning of my wedding—what was meant to be the happiest day of my life—I will never forget the fight between two family members that left me in tears. A day full of joy interspersed with snippets of sorrow. A significant moment that has never been displayed on social media.
In a surface-level culture, we highlight the good and quickly pass over the bad.
But in truth, it’s both/and. Hardly either/or.
Both joy and sorrow; fear and faith; lament and praise.
Each, in its own way, points us to a fuller life. Understanding sorrow leads us to deeper feelings of joy. Acknowledging our fear directs us into a deeper faith. Lament strengthens our dependence on the one who holds all things together.
Life is complicated, and we don’t have to minimize that truth. If we desire a hope that lasts, we have to dig deeper.
Hope That Sustains
As 2021 looms around the corner, I sense social media feeds will be filled with many cheers as we leave this unexpected, crazy year behind.
Today, I want to invite you to go deeper with me.
It has been a hard year. We can all attest to that in our own ways. Let’s go deep to find the ways God moved—for that is where we find the hope that sustains.
Let’s explore where He showed up in the hard spaces—for that is where we recognize His goodness and provision in our lives. Let’s celebrate the joy-filled moments—for He deserves all the thanks and praise.
Let’s pause to find God at work.
I’ve put together a downloadable guide for you to print off as you go deep and reflect on all the ways God showed up in your life this year. May both our disappointments and our unexpected blessings point us to a sustaining hope.
Download the guide: Going Deeper: A Space to Reflect on the Joy + Sorrow of 2020.