What gives Hope?
I was recently reminded that our hope is in the eternal life. It gives us meaning in the day we’re facing and strength and focus for our daily activities. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, and thinking too much about the future can bring many uncertainties and fear. I know I have faith in Christ and I know that we have to have hope not only in this life but in the next.
The future seems very uncertain in the current crisis, but God is already there to help us through it. We should look to Him for strength, to give us patience while waiting for people to answer questions and for support while we are learning new technology or new ways of doing things. Courage will assist us to carry on in the new way and hope gives us the assurance that better things are coming. I am holding on to the following texts in the Bible:
Deuteronomy 31:6 (AMP) “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”
Psalm 39:7 (AMP) “And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope is in You.”
Job 11:18 (AMP) “Then you would trust, because there is hope; You would look around you and rest securely.”
Looking at the three texts above I know God has plans for us and He will give us a future and a hope for better things. He tells us to not let our hearts be troubled, and to not be afraid. We need to trust in His plans for us, both in sickness, and in healing. Our focus should be to spend time with Him, reading His Word and praying. He asks us to have a cheerful heart and to ensure our spirit is high – this outlook would certainly help in getting through this pandemic while looking after our loved ones and doing something for others.
My belief in Hope is beautifully captured in the words of the following people:
Albert Einstein:” Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
Nelson Mandela: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”
Martin Luther King Jr: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
I know, as leaders, we will rise and keep on trying to do the things that need to be done even if there seems to be no hope. Even if we have a tough day and feel frustrated and fearful at the end of it, we know we can start over the next day and change our way by applying the lessons of yesterday. People with hope have the power to be cheerful during what seems to be the most desperate of times. We know as leaders that we must be an example for our families and our teams. Each of us has a role to play in the community in which we live, to speak to people, to assist people and to be the Light.
What brings Joy?
If we have hope and focus on what is in front of us, what is it that brings us joy? This is something that I had to seriously consider. I know joy as an emotion of happiness when I’m with the people I love or doing something that I enjoy but making a list of what joy is for me was a useful exercise and a blessing. I realised that the lockdown has:
- created time, by slowing down the pace,
- cut the noise of busy-ness, by keeping us at home, and
- reconnected us with family and ourselves – the things that really matter.
Going forward, a new normal will take shape and life will carry on; however, we have to continually acknowledge that life is a journey and not a destination and that it is important to be in the moment and have fun on this journey.
My list of joy starts with my family – doing things together, having fun together, competing against one another in a game or playing a game as a team. My next joy is spending time with people in my extended family circle, my friends, my clients, people in my community – while making a difference. Not being able to leave our home has the ability to threaten that joy and I therefore make a concerted effort to connect with them via phone, email, Zoom, Skype in order to find the joy I seek. Reading, running and other hobbies bring me joy. I know that without spending excessive time on any of these I can have a fulfilled and happy life even though I cannot do it all right now.
I am reminded of the following text:
John 16:24 (AMP) “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.”
Another way to look at joy is:
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Henri Nouwen”
“Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be filled with joy.” Anonymous
During this process of change when something is bringing me joy, I will make time to repeat it. Joy brings happiness into my life and without that, times like this can create uncertainty and fear which lead to a less hopeful state of mind, making things seem hard and sometimes impossible.
My challenge to you is:
- Hold onto Hope for each new day, do what is right in front of you by doing it to the best of your ability and get satisfaction from the achievement of what you have completed.
- Celebrating the successes and take note of the lessons you have learned during this time.
- Find out what brings you joy and schedule time into each day to do that activity during lockdown. If some of the activities cannot be done, for example running long distances, do something else and make a mental note of the things you will be doing as soon as lockdown is lifted.
- Appreciation of the things we cannot do during this time will be important after lockdown and I have decided I will reflect on that in my journal to ensure I never forget the joy they bring me and will appreciate them every time I do them.
- Make a note of the things you won’t have to do after the lockdown, for example I will appreciate not having to do things such as washing, dishes, ironing and vacuuming. ☺
We are not alone in this. We are dealing with the pandemic as individuals, as communities and as a planet. We do not know how long this state will continue. We can, however, leverage this opportunity to grow, to be strong and to feel better both now and going forward.
Looking forward to connecting with you during and after this time.