Look up, reach out – and choose Hope

posted in: Everyday Spirit | 0

Fierce Hope is built with action. Not the wishy-washy ‘well, let’s all hope for the best” kind of hope. That takes no effort at all. But the Hope that holds on when times are tough. The Hope that keeps a flame shining in the darkness. The Hope that keeps us trying, keeps us moving towards what’s good, keeps us loving, keeps us open. That’s the kind of hope that can survive tough times.  The kind of hope that can sustain us. And the kind of hope that changes lives.

But this kind of hope is not simply handed to us on a platter. This kind of hope is built.

What are the actions we can take to build hope? I’m sharing three actions I think make a difference. See if you agree. Do you have any others to add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as I know many of you have been able to hope – and keep on hoping – even through really tough times. And many of you also manage to hold the hope for those you love, when they are unable to do so for themselves.

So here’s my three actions.

1/ Look.

Look where? Look around. Look inside. And look up!

Look around. Real hope is not built on an avoidance of reality. It doesn’t ignore the facts of what’s actually going on.  But neither does it see those facts with a one-sided perspective. It understands that often there is more to the picture than we first see.  Things might be going on beneath the surface that are not immediately apparent. Most situations have a lot of factors playing into them and even what seems like a totally negative picture can be viewed from a different perspective –  one which allows for the possibility of hope.

Look inside. What are we bringing to the situation? Are these things helping or hindering us in finding hope?  For instance, do we have preconceived ideas that are restrictive? I know I have plenty – but it helps to recognize them. What’s happening for us physically? Maybe we are exhausted or super-stressed, and that can really affect our responses.  What are our emotions? Some emotions can stand in the way of hope. Often it’s fear – for the future, for those we love, for ourselves. Anger, bitterness, frustration and distrust can also attack hope. What stories are we telling ourselves? What are our past experiences – have we been supported,  has hope been there for us?  Knowing what’s going on for us can help us be more compassionate towards ourselves and others, and that’s what we need if we are to let hope in.

LWhere there is no vision, there is no hope. - George Washington Carverook up. Hope asks that we look beyond what is happening, and see the possibilities of what could be. What’s the very best  we can envisage? Hope asks us to remember the light, even in the midst of darkness. Focus on what could be, not just on what is.

For many people of faith, being able to look to someone or something beyond themselves provides a firm and enduring foundation for hope. Others look at the universe or to our common humanity and feel a sense of hope. Think about what your hope is based on. Maybe this has even changed over time…

2/ Choose.

Every moment we have the power to choose how we respond. Choose to act from a place of hope. Sometimes we may have to walk a path that we don’t quite feel yet – our first steps may be tentative and a little shaky. But we can set an intention for hope.

Surround yourself with people and things that will support your choice, encourage and inspire you. Build these things that strengthen hope into your life when times are good. Call on them when you need some help. We don’t hold hope alone – we do it together.

3/ Reach out.

Choose to take actions that are built on hope. Reach out actively towards what you believe is possible. Take whatever steps you can to bring these things about. Sometimes there might not seem to be any action you can take, but just holding the space of hope in your heart is in itself an incredibly important and powerful action. Speaking this hope to others builds them up, and ourselves.

Hope is such an important quality in our lives. It enables us to get through hard times, and do things we may not have thought possible. How do you build hope into your life? What actions do you take? In what do you put your hope? We’d love to hear!

Jo

Here’s the links to some previous thoughts on hope:

Hope in a dark place

What colour is hope? – a creative exploration for making space for hope

And there’s so many wonderful quotes on Hope. Here are some of my favourites…  If you have one you’d like to share, please add it in the comments section:)


My hope, my dream, and my vision is to join hands with fellow men, to lead humanity home.”
Emmanuel Boafo — Ghana


Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.

Vaclav Havel
(Sourced from  https://www.brainyquote.com)


You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.

Michelle Obama

(Sourced from  https://www.brainyquote.com)


A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

From the English Standard Version Bible

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