Thoughts on Hope...
Lately I’ve been struggling with hope—the expectation that good is coming… (I’ve given multiple talks about hope— you’d think I’d have it down by now… but not really)
I, like most of you, have a few heavy life stones that make hope difficult for me and tend to strangle my optimism and at times I’m emotionally lazy and I let despair win… but lately (meaning since last Sunday) I’ve decided to look for hope and I’ll admit I’ve had a hard time finding her… this often elusive virtue of trust that things are going to be good.
I’ve been in church for a long time so I have lots of thoughts and quotes and verses and cliches about how to recapture hope… quote these scriptures, just believe the truth, practice gratitude, take time to pray every day etc. etc. and I believe those things can be helpful… but yesterday I came across this statement from the wisdom writer which added a helpful layer to the concept of regaining hope, “wisdom is like honey for you.”
As I’ve looked at things in my life that steal my hope, making me feel helpless and stuck, a virtue I hadn’t considered as a pathway to hope was wisdom.
The sage tells us that If you find wisdom, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Wait… wisdom can create hope? I heard wisdom defined as the skill of living life… there’s something about living with skill and insight and strategy that shows me the way out of despair. I don’t have to stay stuck, there’s a strategy to life and wisdom says, “Lets sit down and look over these things that are stealing hope and we’ll plan, we’ll get insight, we’ll talk about the way out.”
The strategy that wisdom brings shows up in new rhythms and practices, things I do daily, weekly, yearly that can stabilize, regulate and give life to difficult things… a diet, a budget, a better schedule, implementing spiritual disciplines etc. Wisdom helps me plot the course.
Wisdom will give you the strategy but you’ll have to play an active role in going after wisdom and one of the more difficult parts of this will be getting started because you’ll have to face off with the hard parts of your life… sitting down and looking at your situation, honestly and candidly laying it all on the table. Thats hard to do but after all the difficult stuff is laid out in front of you, you can begin the journey towards wisdom, insight and strategies that will start to bring hope to your circumstances. Doing this takes courage, the courage to get started, to face off with the parts of my life I wish were different and to imagine how by wisdoms strategy things can change and a future hope can come.
Heres what I would suggest:
1.Lay it all out, leave no stone unturned, be candid, be totally honest about those difficult things in your life.
2.Ask Father to give you wisdom and begin listening for His instructions. (He usually speaks with whispers and nudges so listen to those gut feelings and thoughts)
3.Be humble enough to seek advice from people, books, podcasts etc.
4.Write out your plan and begin to walk into your hope filled future. (don’t be as concerned about how quickly the changes will come just rejoice in the hope that wisdom brings)