If you find yourself losing hope, there are some things you should know.

Encourage Me - a plaque at a church event a few months ago

Hope is such an invaluable commodity. When Barack Obama was first running for president, his campaign centred around the idea of hope. When a natural disaster occurs, it is communicated to all those who have suffered not to lose hope. When children are growing up, the parents that many consider to be the best examples are those that fill the hearts of their kids with hope.

Hope’s presence is such a beautiful thing, but what do you do when you find yourself starting to lose hope?

A lose of hope can have such a detrimental effect on the human heart, and consequentially, on so many areas of your life. As the Hebrew proverb says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick“. And once your heart is sick, the rest of your life is sure to be affected.

It can be a pretty surreal sensation to be honest. You find yourself kind of just floating through your life for the moment. You can start to feel numb to the events that go on around you. You can begin to doubt things that you once knew with great certainty. You start to hide it with big acts or a strong face so that nobody knows that secretly, on your own, you’re actually not doing that great.

I don’t know what circumstances you find yourself in reading this, but I do know that if you find yourself losing hope right now, there are some things that you should know.

You’re still here

When you start to lose hope, life starts to get pretty overwhelming. Every single little thing that happens can start to become a big deal. But it’s at this juncture that it’s so important to remind yourself that you’re still here.

There is amazing power in celebrating your victories, and the fact that you’re still here is a pretty big one. Whatever it is that has caused you to lose hope hasn’t ended you. It hasn’t crushed you. It hasn’t completely wiped you out. Don’t forget that you haven’t been completely blown out of the water. Your future is still intact and bright. And that is pretty awesome.

You are cared for

In losing hope, there seems to be two things that start to come along with it – isolation, and loneliness. You start to doubt whether or not anyone actually cares about you. You feel invisible. You feel like your struggles aren’t known or cared for.

Friend, you are cared for.

And it’s funny to see how we react to that thought sometimes. We think, “well, by who?”. By quite a lot of people. If I started listing the fact that there are family members who care for you, the friends, God, even maybe people you don’t know that well, it may be of little consequence to you.

A lose of hope can be generated when someone you want to care for you or invest in you in a certain way, but doesn’t. That guy you’re keen on, that employer, that pastor, those co-workers, that group of people – because they don’t seem to care, you’re missing the fact that there is so much love around you. In fact, the reality may be that those people in fact do actually care, you’re just not receiving it the way you’re expecting maybe.

Don’t lose sight of the love in your world. If you’re not seeing it, really stop and think about it. You may be surprised, and no doubt helped, by those in your world who are there for you.

NB. Check out Does God Really Care? for some more thoughts on the struggle that question sometimes brings.

You have so much to give

When you’re feeling hopeless, you start to question your ability to invest in others. “Well, how can I give to others when I’m feeling like this?”

It sounds like you might be taking yourself for granted. Even in a tired or frustrated state, there is still so much in you that you give without you thinking about it. There is encouragement in you that is still able to come out of you, no matter how you’re feeling. There is a level of effort and intentionality that you are able to exhibit for others, even while you aren’t exactly where you want to be right now.

Don’t sell yourself short. Recognize your boundaries, yes, but don’t shortchange what you’re able to be, and in fact what you are already, giving in this moment right here.

You won’t see all the results now

When you’re going about building a career, very rarely does anyone ever successfully land a role as CEO straight off. You usually start by getting some sort of tertiary qualification, and upon completion, you then start applying for the positions at the bottom, and slowly but surely work your way to the top.

There is a day of small beginnings that can often leave us feeling frustrated. Maybe from that example, you see yourself at a certain level in your organization, wishing you were further ahead. Maybe you have a great dream in your heart that you want to see outworked, but right now your involvement just seems so small.

Great dreams require great effort, often over great amounts of time. You don’t go to the gym expecting instant results, you don’t put food in the oven expecting it to be ready instantaneously, and you don’t expect a child to leave the womb and instantly become a grown man. Likewise, don’t get discouraged because your completed dreams aren’t instantly before you.

Do not despise the day of small beginnings. This is all getting you where you need to go.

There is a bigger picture

You know if you were building a house, and you only were able to see the bathroom, you would be oblivious to everything else going on within the house. If you were a 2 dimensional stick figure trying to perceive a 3 dimensional object, you would only see it in various angles from a 2D perspective, in slivers.

Likewise, you currently only have a limited perspective. You have your “2 dimensional” perspective, from your experience, your vantage point, from this point in time, how you’re feeling right now. You can’t actually see everything that is going on, or will go on in the future.

In the wise words of Jethro from The Prince of Egypt (love that movie), “A single thread in a tapestry, though its colour brightly shines, can never see its purpose, in the pattern of the grand design”.

There is so much more around you. There is purpose beyond what you’re able to see happening right now.

Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

You’re closer than you think

Hey, your miracle is closer than you realize. The steps you’re taking now are fundamental groundwork in sustaining you in the next part of the plan for your life. Don’t give out just before you make it. The night is always darkest just before the dawn.

And the coming of the dawn is guaranteed.

 

Every one of us has felt like we’re losing hope at one time or another. I hope this has been a small encouragement to you in whatever time you find yourself facing, and that you realize that there are brighter and more beautiful days ahead of you.

Find hope again.