Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

When It’s Not What We Hoped For

Sometimes we just don’t get what we want.

What are we going to do about it?

Isn’t that the question of the century?

A memory came flooding back to me the other day. I was 11 years old, so excited for Grade 6 music. This was the year we got to pick an instrument of our own, for the first time ever. I had been waiting patiently all winter, through the vocal portion, until the spring when we would be introduced to those magical, shiny, gleaming instruments that would make us sound like the Boston Pops from the first note.

I was sure there was only one perfect choice to make… flute. It was silver, sleek, light, tiny, and you would feel like the pied piper. I had seen an orchestra play during a class trip, and at my church. Anyone who played the flute looked poised, lithe, had long glorious tresses like Rapunzel, did pirouettes everywhere they went, and had delicate hands with rosy fingertips.

Clearly I had been thinking about this.

They finally announced that the next Monday we would get to select an instrument. I was primed. I would get to class early. I would sit near the front of the ensemble area. I would practice raising my hand faster than a bullet.

I would come down with the flu.

And by the time I got back to classes, four whole days had gone by.

And all the available flutes had gone bye-bye.

I was devastated. My dreams of being a flute diva dashed to smithereens. My hair would never grow actual glowing tresses, my gangly limbs would never survive a pirouette, Andre Rieu would never hire me to perform while in a puffy ball gown. I would be an eleven year old has-been.

You think it’s funny, but you’ll weep along with me when I tell you what I wound up with.

Not the sax, not the trumpet, not the clarinet, not even the oboe, and certainly not the timpani ( I still have wicked rhythm, seriously). Nary a trombone or tuba left behind.

Yep, you got it.

French Horn.

Now, no offence to horn players everywhere, they have a magnificent sound when not being played by 11 and 12 year olds with no power in their lungs, and the stupid horn weighs more than they do without being in the case.

It sucks, I tell you, to need a forklift to get your homework back and forth to school. Not only that but then the 12-year-old Zane who sat beside me, who spoke a lovely German a la heavy spitting, took a shine to me and kept telling people we were the “Cool Curly Horns” which was far from cool of him and a far cry from the life I had envisioned.

The mantra that ran through my head every time I hoisted that instrument onto my lap was, “This is not what I hoped for!!!

So how about you? What kind of things have you envisioned? And what do you do when you know life has removed all the options you would gladly settle for, and has inserted the unexpected and the less than ideal.

Have the Zane’s of the world spit their way through the wrong declarations over your life? All the flutes are gone and you’re left with something big, awkward, hard to handle, impossible to be impassioned about?

I’ve realised that feeling of seeing the french horn is the exact same feeling I had when I was told that from that same age I had been living with chronic depression.

Definitely not the life I had hoped for.

When it’s not what we hoped for,  we wind up having a decision to make.

Do we let it destroy our passion, our dreams, our story, do we let dashed hopes leave us in a pit of despair?

Or maybe, we change our tune.

Maybe we change where our hope lies and what we hope for.

Maybe like the Psalmist, we could place our hope in the only unshakeable, unmovable, unchangeable Hope we could ever need.

“Yes, my soul! Find rest in God; my hope
only comes from Him.”
Psalm 62:5

The huge, honking instrument of despair in my life right now could be my dysthymic disorder. I could get up every day and place my hope in being healed. In being freed. Place my hope in God touching me.

And He obviously could, and might.

But that’s the wrong kind of hope.

when it's not what we hope for, dreams, hopes, music, God

That’s heavy and awkward, carrying all those finite hopes around. What I need is to make Him my Hope, period. I need to place all my hopes directly in Him. I need to know He remains faithful when my circumstances go south. I need to base my life on the fact that God will always be able, period.

And even more amazing,  that my situation looks different to His eyes.

Where I see no hope, He sees opportunity.

Where I think I see no hope, He sees my story bending miraculously to His will and to His heart’s desire for my life in new and mind-blowing ways..

Where I think I’m hopeless, He sees the chance to mold, and shape, and rewire, and repurpose.

We’ve made the mistake of thinking each day is about our circumstances.

Time to change our tune.

This hoping and not hoping, this life, is not about our circumstances.

This is about what we do with Him.

We choose to take eyes off the circumstance, and place eyes hungry on Him.

We choose to keep our hearts out of the hoped-for outcome, and lead our hearts deeper into Him.

We choose to take every dream, every goal, every step, every choice, and lay it before Him, and bathe it in Him.

And we make life about Him, while the rest recedes.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.” (Psalms 31:24)

When it’s not what we hoped for, that’s okay. We have a new song to sing. A new note to resound. We have a life about the true Hope.

What kind of earthly hopes, so easy to get hung up on, need to be swapped out for Him, and only Him, today?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tucking this post into #BelovedBrews with the Faith Barista, and I hope you’ll wander over, read and scroll through, and join us for a day of encouragement and a little spiritual whitespace for your soul.



  1. The Lord has been speaking to my heart about living in expectancy and expecting to live in the above and beyond all that we could ask, think or imagine. To do this I change my tune from looking at and being fearful of lack to declaring the promises of God. The whole ‘changing my tune’ action are words the Lord spoke to my heart when He gave me the words for Beckoned by the King. Today, Christine, is the first time I have seen those same words written with the same message behind them. I receive and give thanks for the abundance He pours daily into my life! Bless you for having ears to hear!

    • Christine Duncan

      March 16, 2015 at 12:39 PM

      Wow, Jeannie, just wow!!! Isn’t God amazing?! Your words give me shivers, and I praise Him right this second for His timing and for His goodness 🙂 And for you, my friend! You’ve made my day. Thanks, Jeannie!

  2. I had no idea we had such crazy similar grade six music stories girl! Except mine ended up with me puking in front of my whole class because I was sick to my stomach about having to play the clarinet instead of my golden saxophone! Lol thank you for the reminder today my friend:) I rocked that clarinet and I will rock this hard season too! Xox

    • Christine Duncan

      March 17, 2015 at 12:09 AM

      No! Aw, that must have been horrible, Sarah… and to think how well you sing and play in front of people now! That’s hilarious that we both have a story like that, lol. Hard seasons, so easy to say they have their purpose, but it’s hard to wait through them, isn’t it? I just keep trusting that God will orchestrate it completely like only He can 🙂 Love ya, gurlie!

  3. Thanks again Christine another great post to ponder over, ya the disappointments are for me so many,right from child hood,a whole book that needs healing…… are an inspiration time. Bless you !

    • Christine Duncan

      March 19, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Edna, He redeems your story even now, isn’t that wonderful?! I love hearing from you, hope you’re having a great week in Him!

  4. Thanks for posting this, and for your honesty about 6th grade disappointments, and the continuing struggles in your life. My daughter is in 6th grade now, and I remember 6th grade as being a struggle for me as well. I hope that we both learn the lessons that God wants to teach us as we grow closer to Him each day.

    • Christine Duncan

      March 19, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      Thanks, Joan, love having you stop by today! Those pre teen years certainly are rife with “life lessons”, aren’t they? When I look back though, I see His hand guiding and building into my journey, and sometimes I wish I could go back and tell that 11 yr old that it would be okay, that God would have my back in all the years to come 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2019 Christine Duncan

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: