Let’s face it, right now many people in the U.S. and in other countries are feeling hopeless. But believe it or not, there is hope. Hope is what keeps us going and keeps our heads up and our immune systems strong. Without hope, we can sink into despair or into the deep pit of self-pity and spiral down into depression. So we must do all we can to keep hope alive in our lives.
What is Hope?
Let’s start by getting on the same page about how hope is defined. We’ll look at Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary for one definition. Webster defines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to expect with confidence; a desire accompanied by an expectation of or belief in fulfillment.”
Wikipedia defines hope in the following way:
“Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”
Jeremiah 17:7 in the New Living Translation of the same verse found on Biblegateway words it this way, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”
So maybe the question is in what should we put our Hope? We’ve all been disappointed when putting our hope in people, jobs, career choices, family, friends, money, college education, or something else. Right? Haven’t you been disappointed in at least one or more of these things? I know I have!
Why is Hope Important?
Without hope, someone can go into a downward spiral and slide into depression. Have you ever met someone who is depressed? It’s a very difficult place to be. Something like chronic pain can cause a hopeless feeling of life never getting any better and that hopelessness can get more negative as the pain remains the same. Many people with chronic pain fear getting addicted to the pain medications so they try hard to not use those medications and instead attempt to tough it out without prescription-strength pain medicine. Depression can be the end result of such an ongoing battle.
To make matters worse, chronic physical pain together with unresolved emotional pain and traces of unforgiveness can bring on a devastating and stifling level of depression that throws someone into a very deep, dark abyss.
So, yes, hope really is important. Depression leads to a lousy quality of life with many limitations. Doing all that can be done to stay active and interacting with others will help us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It will also help to keep hope alive in the heart when we take the time to encourage others. That’s right. By getting the focus off of ourselves and onto others we will also are enlightened and encouraged. Words of encouragement from friends and loved ones can make a huge difference in the battle against depression, but ultimately, it is up to each of us to prevent spiraling down into that deep, hopeless pit of depression. If it is a deep, ongoing clinical depression, be sure to seek the help of a Licensed Professional Counselor who can help process the underlying contributing factors to that depression and give you tools to overcome it.
Hope Keeps the Mind Right
Without hope, depression can creep in quickly. Then the body and the mind end up languishing in various ways. There may be no energy to do things, no desire to do things that were once done, no interest in dreaming about what could be possible in the future. That, in turn, can affect relationships, traveling, physical mobility, brain cloudiness, and more. Who needs that? God created us to be fighters and to live life fully engaged with others and with the world where He placed us.
Hope is Good for Our Immune System
Given what we’ve discussed so far, I think you can see how a downward spiral toward depression might zap the immune system. Without hope, the body slows down, the brain says why bother, physical activity can slow down or even be eliminated, and the negative thoughts can wreak havoc on the immune system that was built to keep us strong and healthy. So we need to do all we can to keep hope alive because it impacts the quality of our lives, our immune system, our health, and what we can accomplish each day.
How to Keep Hope Strong
The best way that I’ve learned to keep hope alive is to focus on God and to trust Him in every situation. At any time, we can find ourselves blindsided by someone’s actions, our own actions that seemed right, or by events that can feel like a stomach punch. We have to forgive and keep moving forward. Rather than focus on the negative, focus on what God says about us and trust Him to work things out for us and show us what to do. He’s the only One Who can change us.
Yes, there is hope, but the hope that I’m talking about may be different from what you might typically consider. That true, faithful, forever hope is Jesus. He never leaves us, ignores us, nor fails us. Since He never sleeps, He’s always ready, always willing, and able to answer us in every situation and to help us when we feel down and hopeless. You’ll find that Jesus is big on encouraging us on our journey in life. You can read more about that and the relationship He loves to have with us here.
Thank you for reading my post! I look forward to reading your comments. So take a few minutes and leave a comment below. And…keep hope alive! 🙂
Your Rebuilding Life Coach,