By Dr. Bev Snyder
A hopeful perspective is the beginning of all things that are possible.
Recently a friend said to me after our discussion about the state of the world during this pandemic: “You sound just like me. You obviously also feel hopeless.” I responded that I actually feel more hopeful than ever, which confused her. I explained I feel hopeful because I am a possibility thinker and while the FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN and that means possibly what is happening can lead to something good, possibly things can get better or possibly we can find a way to accept what is happening and still be okay. Even during difficult times, possibly there is something special to experience in the moment. I told her that I have a possibility mindset and there is no reason to abandon hope.
PS: 42:5 “…Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Christian hope is when God has promised that something is going to happen and you put your trust in that promise. Our hope as Christians is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass. How do we build our hope in God? Hope is a portion or part of faith. Faith and hope are both bulwarks of Christian life and we trust that God’s promises to us are things we can depend on. The website www.desiringgod.org offers four practical steps you can take every day to build a sure foundation of hope that will carry you through all the storms of life as well as how to live joyfully amidst the pandemic.
1.Place God at the center of your life. God is the undoubtable source of our hope.
2.Strengthen your faith. Allow God's previously fulfilled promises to renew your hope. The most trustworthy promises from God give us hope (Hebrews 6: 18-19), and we may boast in this hope (Hebrews 3:6) and exhibit great boldness in our faith (2 Corinthians 3:12).
3.Trust God's timing. Sometimes God answers our prayers and fulfills our hopes quickly.
4.Thank God today for all our many blessings.
On the secular side of things, each morning we can restart possibility thinking….
I believe most of us would find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning without hope. Every business, every investment, every first date, and every other situation we embark on has hope packed into it. It is not hope that causes us emotional pain. Instead, it is our inability to be flexible and fluid in the face of change and uncertainty. It is our addiction to certainty and not our addiction to hope that paralyzes us to make the changes in our own lives and in the world.
Possibility thinking encourages us to look at every situation we are facing and recognize that things change. Instead of seeing change as bad we can view uncertainty as offering endless possibilities, many of which we can’t even imagine today. So, with a possibility mindset we can stay hopeful and at the same time recognize life might not go as planned, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean we won’t achieve our goals or the world can’t get better. It just helps us find a different path with new possibilities.
Globally, humanitarians have witnessed tremendous suffering in the United States and in the developing countries in which they work, where often every sign they see points to more disease and death, abuse and poverty. Yet, they all have one thing in common - they all have hope in the face of what sometimes seems impossible. Does this hope ever lead them to fail? Of course, they tell me there are times their hopes do not come to fruition, times of frustration and even suffering. Overwhelmingly though, they all say hope has led
them to have a huge positive impact on individuals and communities that have been abandoned by society. It is hope that gives them the inspiration to continue and never give up. It is their hope that saves lives every day and is a lifeline to continue their work to make the world a better place.
Maybe in a philosophical debate, one could tell us to abandon hope, but when you go where people are really suffering, you will find their suffering is not a result of their hope, but of the very real challenges that they face every day. It often takes more courage to have hope than not because you're being asked to look into the unknown and still believe all things are possible. Sometimes it is only hope that feeds our spirits and launches us to find the strength and power to carry on. Each of us can do this as we begin each day with the reality of the
continuing pandemic. Yes, we now have vaccines, but it will take a while before this has an impact on the spread of this virulent disease. Hope is more vital than ever before!
If we are hopeful, can bad things still happen in life? Yes, but we must remember good things happen too and sitting around feeling hopeless doesn't help anybody. Feeling hopeful can help you develop a more open mind, which can help you access more possibilities, making it more likely you will find a resolution to your problems or a new way to live with whatever you face in the new year. I am not saying we should live in illusion or not accept what is happening today, but the FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN which creates a wide-open playing field for so many possibilities.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” So, let’s try to be more hopeful in 2021 because hope is the beginning of all that's possible to make the world a better place for everyone. And Paul’s words in Romans 12:12 teach us how to live… ”Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year!!!!
Contact me at Bsnyder008@gmail.com for information on joining with the mental health group on Zoom for free and confidential support with fellow journeyers.
Dr. Bev, Counselor and Coach