Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Ergo, hope is essentially a belief that what we want to happen will actually occur. Hopelessness steps in when our beliefs change – when we start believing that what we wanted to happen will never ever happen and that something unpleasant will, in fact, transpire. That feels heavy just typing it. Take a moment and imagine what hopelessness does to our momentum, our choices and our impact on one another. It’s not pretty. So it’s important during these times to challenge the beliefs of impossibility and our thoughts around it.
We can ask ourselves a few questions to help us when we feel hopeless:
- Where do my beliefs come from?
- What makes them true?
- What proof do I have to support my beliefs and is it helpful?
I’m willing to bet that your answer to the last question is that you actually don’t have any real proof. And that is because often times, our hope comes from the environment around us, not a pure source. Some examples of that environment may be words spoken to us by friends and family, the news / social media or past experiences. The problem with developing hope and beliefs from these areas is that they are of this world.
Now don’t get me started on the news, but the news thrives when we are captivated in fear. They tell the version of the story that will suck us in and lock the door behind us. Let’s please not base our hope from there because the news is mostly in the business of creating hopelessness. Our friends and family are people and people are fallible. Even if they have the best of intentions, their opinions on our possibilities may not be accurate and instead based on their own experiences or insecurities. And past experiences – just because something happened once or even several times, does not mean it will happen again.
So where should we find our hope? Where is a pure source of belief? The answer is always simple to life’s big mysteries. And to this one, the answer is God. It’s in developing a relationship with Him and going to Him with our anxieties. We can ask Him what to hope for. Only He knows the plans for each of our lives. Our family and friends, as much as they may try to help, do not know. Past experiences certainly do not and neither does the news. Even when everything may appear to be falling apart, it still does not mean that the future is bleak. Take it to God. Take everything to Him. Only He knows what the future holds for you.
But perhaps you are praying, and not finding the answer right away. While we wait, we can all do as Jesus taught and simply love one another. We can strive to focus on today and let the worries of tomorrow go. We can show up for others in a kind, patient and loving way. And we can help our brothers and sisters in need even if it just means listening, truly listening. Who do you want to be? What do you want to create? How do you want to show up for your friends, family, children and co-workers?
So will you join me and challenge your beliefs when you feel hopelessness? Will you lean on God, create a relationship with Him and focus on others? It’s a simple formula that won’t just create greater joy in your life, but for everyone around you.
Meditation 1: “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
Meditation 2: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7