How do you cultivate hope in your life? Do you find yourself fighting discouragement, resentment, envy, jealousy? When we become discontented where God has us, we wallow in self-pity and despair.
Psalm 33: 20a We wait in hope for the Lord;
Hope is the medicine that cures us of ugly emotions sapping our joy and creativity. But its hard to hold on to hope when we find our self in the pit of self-pity. We look around and think, “How did my life fall apart? Where is God in this thing called life?” God is where He has always been, right beside us. We are the one who made a slight turn and lost sight of Him. He never changes, He wants the best for us and will lead us through the despair.
Psalm 71: 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you
Hope, by definition is the feeling that what you want can be had. Hope is the oxygen of the human soul. When it feels everything goes wrong, and you feel you will never be able to grow again, you may want to give up. But, there is life beyond the pain. How do we find that life? How do we get out of the despair?
- You are not the only one who has the weight of the world on your shoulders. Someone may be acting childish or being a little rude, if you can, try to let it go. Let their behavior roll off you like water off of a duck’s back. In other words, respond with kindness when you can. And when it is you being the one who is acting a bit rude sometimes, try to respond to yourself with love about that too.
- Action can help fight the battle of our lack of hope. Look around yourself and see others who have a need you can help meet. If you have too, start small and simple, a word of encouragement, a smile. You can do that!
Romans 5:1-5. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Remember, hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking, a thought process. We have the ability to set goals, we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, and we have faith in ourselves. Thus, hope is an amalgamation of goal setting, having the resolve and grit to pursue them, then having confidence in our own abilities.
Hope is valuable. Hope is beautiful. Hope is a choice. Can anyone have hope? YES! There is the story of a shop owner who lost his shop in the great Chicago fire of 1871. The next morning, he posted a placard that read, “Everything lost except wife, children, and hope. Business will be resumed as usual tomorrow morning.” Wow. where did he get his hope? not his circumstances, not from other victims of the fire, not his good luck. What he saw in the future for his family was because of a choice he made to have hope. Hope is in the men and women who learn from their losses. In tough times, they choose hope, knowing it will induce them to learn and turn them from victims to victors. In The Dignity of Difference, Jonathan Sacks wrote, “the difference between optimism and hope: Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the faith that, together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”
Hope is a journey, a sometime arduous path through a wonderful and damaged world. A lesson I’ve learned on my journey to Hope is, if there is a thousand miles between you and the Promised Land, take into account, that journey starts with the first step, and the journey does not begin until you have made that first step! So start your journey one step at a time.
Hebrews 6:18,19 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.
I am writing a memoir called “Why Hope?” So I am sharing my view on Hope. Look for portions in my blog soon.
Please leave your views on hope in the comments area on the Contact page, I would love to hear from you.