Hope is a powerful thing. Hope helps us jump out of bed in the morning. Hope helps us defer suicidal thoughts, and can be an effective antidote for depression. Hope puts the belief that good things are not coming our way on its heels.
Hope can help us ward of despair, doubt, and defeatedness. Hope is the direct opposite of thoughts like "things will never get better." Or, "things will never change." Hope says they will get better. Hope says things, people, and situations CAN change.
Hope is delicate, easy to crush and trample over. Hope is the child-like part of us that says "Yes" to believing in the good that could be. The very nature of hope is tremulous, even timid. It takes courage to hope in the face of what seems impossible, or unachievable.
Why hope? Because your life depends upon it.
In order to find your hope - my suggestion is to get in a quiet place, all alone, without any distractions. Somewhere in nature is likely ideal, but my hope arrived while I was inside my bedroom closet, surrounded by hangers holding minimalist clothing.
Because of my utter hopelessness toward my life, and because I was believing that everything was going to stay exactly as it was, stagnant forever, I wanted to die. It wasn't that I wanted to take my own life - my hopelessness had not yet grown so large as it does for some - but moreso that I didn't want any of the life I was currently living. I wanted to die because of the sheer emptiness I felt. No amount of self-discipline or sacrifice or minimalism or behavior change or sex or wine or healthy food was able to fix me. I was just...entirely empty.
I have a scientific background. Intelligence and 'smarts' reign within my personality type (INTJ's are notorious for this) but I also have a Master's degree and a trained research-and-evidenced-based hoopla brain. This is important for my career. But it has been a death sentence for my heart.
Sure, scientific breakthroughs can serve us in many ways and have value. But a life without hope is an empty one.
My hope came down from Heaven, got planted in my heart, and I have held it close and allowed it to keep singing no matter what. I don't care what science says. I have kept believing in this hope, even though it has not yet happened in my life. Doubt has come and tried to drown it, and unbelief has arrived many times on my mental doorstep. Reject the things that try to steal your hope from you.
If you try to kill hope, it is like trying to cut off a part of your living soul. It's like murdering the childlike, creative, innocent part of you. Instead, see how allowing hope to grow roots and settle deep in your heart feels. I can vouch for this - it feels like being alive!
Hope can be wistful, wishful, and requires much bravery. Hope and belief that things can and will be different one day is the first step in making any change in your life.
Hope and belief that you CAN get out of debt.
Hope and belief that you will find someone who will love you unconditionally, and who you will love unconditionally in return.
Hope that your marriage will be refreshed and that you'll fall in love with your spouse all over again, instead of getting divorced.
Hope that your children WILL get what they need to become who you hope they become.
Hope that your job situation will get better.
Hope that you will conceive a baby.
Hope that the adoption will go through.
Hope that you will be able to get along peacefully with your relatives.
Hope that you will be accepted into that college.
Hope that you will pass that test.
Hope that you can quit smoking.
Hope that you will get better when you are sick
Hope that you will be able to manage your diagnosis, without excess effort.
Hope and belief that you CAN arrive at a healthy weight and develop a healthy relationship with food.
Hope that you can retire early, and have time to do meaningful things in your life.
Hope is the starting point - and turns the thoughts of "This will never happen" around. Hope sends those thoughts packing. When your hope grows feet and you start to walk in it - then you already have everything you need to make changes in your life.
Change begins when you are believing in your hope, and holding fast to it tightly with both hands and not letting go, even when it doesn't happen instantly.
Find your hope. Look to the heavens and ask for help, ask for hope. Ask the people around you, what they are hoping for so hard that they have made drastic changes in their lives. It will come. Hope always comes and does not disappoint. Hope came for me, and hope WILL come to you.
Cue Journey's song "Don't stop believin'. Hold on to that feelin'".
Here's to a hopeful heart. Your challenge this week is to find your hope. Get really clear on what you are hoping for. And then allow yourself to believe in that hope with reckless abandon.