What is it about hope that keeps over 1900 followers checking out this blog? Why is hope so important that after almost two years, I am still writing about it?
At its core, we cannot live without hope. It is the heartbeat of every future plan, the soul of every small business owner, the reason we return every four years to the ballot box.
Hope is a gift that never shames us. Instead, it connects with love and emblazons our hearts with purpose. (check out Romans 5:5)
If we take it apart as an acrostic, HOPE looks like this:
H – Health. Without hope, our health is affected yet with an abundance of hope—we feel those positive endorphins moving us toward a better tomorrow.
If we suffer from a sense of hopelessness, we can easily dip into discouragement and even full-blown depression. Hope eases that pain and gives us a reason to live.
Recently, I read a story from one of the Holocaust survivors. Anna woke up every morning and imagined herself dressing in something beautiful—a colorful scarf, a blouse made of the finest silk. Although in reality, she knew tattered and lice-infested rags covered her body—the thought of dressing in something clean, soft and lovely gave her hope. She survived Auschwitz and eventually was restored to complete health.
O – Optimism. Feeling optimistic about the next day breeds more hope. Even the tiniest steps toward a short-term goal fill us with optimism that we will indeed achieve victory.
Posting affirmations around the home, encouraging others and ourselves, even planning a day of joy will keep us in an optimistic mood. Positive thoughts result in hope and conversely, hope underscores a positive attitude.
When my son was in high school, his best buddy suffered with a terminal disease. Ryan’s family posted affirmations around the house such as:
“You can do it.”
“Hang in there.”
“You’re the best!”
Although Ryan passed before high school graduation, he lived much longer than any of the doctors expected this amazing preemie to live. And everyone who called Ryan friend was affected by his positive outlook. His optimism fostered hope in an entire school of teenagers.
P – Perseverance. But what happens when we can’t muster enough hope to make it through the day? When life hands us difficult circumstances or we live with shattered hearts in the graveyard of grief? How can we then find hope?
Through the practice of perseverance. By gritting our teeth and swallowing enough determination to make it through one more day. We stay in hope through sheer guts.
Three of my friends deal with chronic illnesses: muscular dystrophy, fibromyalgia and muscular sclerosis. These women are my she-roes. Every day, they climb out of bed and try to do just one thing. Or if they need to, they stay in bed and pray for others. They persevere through the good, the bad and the ugly.
They stay in hope because they know the future—in heaven—will be illness-free. They persevere through difficulty and share hope with everyone they meet.
E – Experience. Hope tends to grow when we remember past experiences. This is one reason why I keep a journal. All my entries are dated, so I go back and relive what happened, how my son and I made it through that circumstance.
Many of my journal entries include Bible verses which help me stay in hope. Some of them are prayers while other entries include poetry or quotes from favorite authors. Sometimes my journal includes rantings at God. He’s big enough to understand my anger and let me work through it.
But always—always—God brings me back to hope. He reminds me of a past experience and how I don’t need to be afraid of the present or the future. He is the same yesterday, today and forever so that means hope will continue.
If you made an acrostic of hope, which words would you include? I’d be interested to hear why hope is so important to you.
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
If you’re struggling to find hope in this month of February, check out my latest book. “Hope Shines” will give you a boost, a nugget of encouragement for each day.