Why Is Hope Important?
Without hope in my life, I wouldn’t be writing this today. As a young girl, it lifted me up when I repeatedly found myself crushed and defeated. It motivated me to dry my tears and dust myself off so I could try again when it was I who failed someone or something, or when it was someone or something that failed me. And still today, hope is my anchor. I hold tightly to it as it walks with me through grief, disappointment, and betrayal. The only difference today is that I know a lot more about why hope is so important and where my hope comes from.
In this life, there is no escaping heartache. Sorrow is a natural emotion. The tears that go with sorrow can be healthy. But staying stuck in the sorrow or the pit of despair is neither healthy nor natural. Hope allows us to feel the pain and then work toward healing. It keeps us from getting stuck.
What Is Hope, Exactly?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hope as:
- to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.
- to expect with confidence: TRUST
- desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
- someone or something on which hopes are centered
Hope is a positive belief and emotion. It brings peace because there is trust. It reminds us that this season of pain isn’t forever and that joy can be experienced again. Hope is something we as humans need to not only live life but to live life to its full. That is why hope is so important.
But it is also a muscle we must work out to keep strong. Even though some people may be generally more predisposed to hope than others, it doesn’t come naturally to any of us.
What Hope Is Not
Hope is not a feeling that everyone naturally experiences. As I mentioned previously, some people struggle with it. Therefore we must intentionally choose to live in ways that incorporate hope into our lives. We must tap into our source of hope and develop a lifestyle and habits that encourage it.
Real hope isn’t just a momentary feeling, like happiness. It’s not that moment of hopefulness. But rather, it is having hope at the essence of our soul. Hope for more than a moment and in all seasons, through all the highs and lows we experience in this life.
For example, when I lost my father a few months ago, the kind words, gifts, cards, and flowers made me hopeful. They touched my heart and reminded me that I am loved and cared for. I treasured each act of kindness. However, I’m talking about something different here. I’m talking about the kind of hope that starts with a capital H. The Hope that says our sorrow will be replaced by joy. That life can feel full again someday.
The Hope of Christ is eternal and tells us that on the other side of this life, is an eternal life where there are no more tears. That gives us the motivation to get back up and keep living even when it “feels” impossible. It is a Hope that defies our feelings by replacing them with the Truth that we know from God and His Word.
The Biblical Foundation of Hope
Hope is the foundation of our faith. Just as He is Love, God is Hope. The Biblical definition takes the Merriam-Webster definition and strengthens it by turning the focus to God. Biblical Hope goes from “expect with confidence” to “expect with confidence because God does not fall short of His promises.”
Earthly or worldly hope in our life falls short because we are imperfect and live in an imperfect world. I wouldn’t want anyone to base their hope on me or my actions because no matter how hard I try, I still fail. We are not capable of carrying that burden well. It is unattainable and only hurts all the parties involved. God is the only One who can handle the expectation. He does not disappoint and He cannot fail anything. He is the only One who loves us beyond measure even when we make a mess of things.
Hope in God is anchored in God’s promises, His character, and His death and resurrection. God’s hope is eternal. He promises us that even though there will be trouble in this world, those who love Him will live eternally in Heaven with Him where there is no more pain or sorrow.
10 Reasons Why Hope Is Important in Our Life
1. It motivates us.
When we are knocked down by our circumstances, hope in our life empowers us to try again. If we didn’t have hope, we would believe that our goal or success was impossible after one setback.
After we adopted our daughter in 2011, parenting felt like a series of failures. Our daughter’s needs were greater than we ever expected and our lives were turned upside down. I had to learn to parent in a new way and surrender to God all over again. I had to trust He would take a floundering me and equip me to be the best mom for her. If it weren’t for Him and his hope, I would have given up instead of relentlessly pursuing our sweet girl.
2. Hope strengthens our physical and mental health.
People with higher levels of hope tend to have less stress, anxiety, and depression. It helps us deal with adversities like illness, injury, loss, and death. When we have less stress, not only our mental health, but our physical health improves. With lower stress, we tend to sleep and eat better which is conducive to better health. Overall, it is a powerful tool in the fight to stay healthy.
People who live hopeful lives tend to be optimistic about the future. Optimism is conducive to better health, more success, and stronger relationships.
I want to clarify here, though, that having hope doesn’t eliminate illness. Many diseases and illnesses are genetic or unavoidable. I live with chronic illnesses. Although my hope is strong, my diseases do not disappear. However, when I have more stress and less peace, I experience flare-ups. When I lose motivation to eat well and exercise, the disease steals more away from me. The more hopeful and optimistic I am, the more I see God at work accomplishing immeasurably more than I could ever imagine.
3. It infuses joy into life.
When people are hopeful about their future, they tend to be grateful, too. Grateful people more often lead joy-filled lives.
When we live with gratitude, we become noticers of all things good. We begin filtering life through a lens of optimism. And so when we notice all things good, we soak in the moments. We receive the joy of the moment God is giving us. It’s a beautiful cycle instead of a vicious cycle!
4. Hope allows us to have healthy relationships.
When we are our best selves, we can have our healthiest relationships. Hope helps us cope with adverse situations. Relationships involve conflict. How we handle that conflict matters. The choices we make are critical to handling the hard times. Hope helps us move forward and work toward resolutions.
Being emotionally healthy also means being emotionally available in the good times and bad. It makes us aware of the other person’s needs and gives us the potential to listen and be there for them.
5. It fosters a sense of humor.
Hope is an emotion. We all feel it. But we often don’t recognize its value. It allows us to step out of whatever is bad in our lives and still see the good. It allows us to laugh even when we grieve and see the humor in our mistakes or frustrations.
6. Hope allows us to learn from and move through past setbacks.
Feeling hopeful gives us confidence and helps us overcome obstacles. We don’t get stuck in the setback. We can learn from our mistakes and move forward as a wiser and more equipped version of ourselves.
When we feel hopeless, our brain releases adrenaline which makes us feel like we are in danger. When we feel as though we are in danger, we are not able to make wise decisions. Fear grows and we tend to fight, flee, or freeze instead of work through the situation.
Adrenaline in small doses is a good thing. However, when it is long-term and often, our body gets overburdened with adrenaline and begins to experience fatigue, anxiety, and a multitude of other symptoms.
This article, How Your Anxiety May Be Adrenaline Withdrawl, by Suzie Glassman over on Medium is a great deeper dive into the effects of adrenaline fatigue.
7. It opens our eyes to opportunity.
Hope keeps us moving through the difficulties and toward the good. As I mentioned before, hopeful people tend to have more gratitude. Gratitude opens our eyes to blessings. When we are looking in the right direction, we see opportunity instead of blinding ourselves with negativity or victimhood. We look at how we can solve our problems and change our circumstances.
Hope builds our faith in God, ourselves, and others. We believe God does what He says because we noticed when He did it before. We have faith in ourselves because we know God equips us and we remember how we made it through before.
8. Hope heals us.
When we have God’s hope, we allow Him to work within us. We tend to be willing to do the work to heal which may mean professional counseling or support groups.
When I was grieving the loss of my father this year, it seemed that nothing would go right. Loss, struggle, triggers, injuries, relationships … At times it felt as though everything was falling apart. Anxiety and depression loomed over me.
But for God.
It wasn’t as though God healed me overnight. But it was His hope that allowed the healing to happen. Little by little, Hope replaced the shattered pieces of my brokenness as they washed away.
9. It fights fear.
Fear takes us out of the game. It sits us on the sidelines of our life. Fear is an obstacle between us and achieving our goals. Hope is the opposite. It throws us in the game because we play with faith that propels us forward. It is active because it keeps us in the game of life. It keeps us from giving up or running away and pushes us towards our goals, not allowing fear to be an obstacle.
10. Hope helps others.
Hope is contagious. It gives us the ability to see the good in others. To see their potential. As we put one hopeful foot in front of the other toward something better, we can bring others along with us. Our best self will only encourage others to be and do their best as well.
Ultimately, if we live a hope-filled life, we make the world a better place for everyone. I believe that is something our world needs today more than ever before.
5 Bible Verses In Times of Sorrow
These 5 Bible verses will help you in times of trouble. There is the power to save in God’s Word. That is why He tells us His Word (the Bible) is the Sword of the Spirit. Praying Scripture is a wonderful way to pray. It assures us we are praying God’s Will and gives us the words when we are overwhelmed and our minds can’t seem to find the words.
Each verse below is a prayer of Hope for:
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT“
2. A Future
“There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.” -Proverbs 23:18 NIV
3. Peace and Joy
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” -Romans 8:24-25 ESV
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:4 ESV
Now that we know why hope is so important, we need to start strengthening that muscle! I’ve created this Hope Toolkit to help you start strong hope-filled habits. The purpose behind this ministry is to help you unveil your hope-filled life.
Start by signing up below and getting access to the Libary of Hope where you will find the Hope Toolkit and a multitude of other free resources that will encourage you as you grow in faith.
You Are Loved. Now and Forever.
Start with getting to know God, His character, and His promises. Then I believe you will discover a love like no other and it will change your life!
Grab a copy of my latest E-Bible Study!
This post originally appeared on LoriSchumaker.com.