Hope is one of the many themes of the holidays. Yet, this can be the most hopeless time of the year for many including those with mental health challenges. I’ve come to the conclusion that hopefulness is a choice. I have discovered two important aspects about hope that really help me “choose” hope when I’m feeling hopeless:
1. Dr. Shane Lopez, a Gallup Senior Scientist, says that people become hopeless when they feel like they have no future and believe there is nothing they can do about it. So, when hopelessness begins to creep into my thinking, I choose to think about a future goal for my life and how to get there. Dr. Lopez says in his book, “Making Hope Happen,” says that these two core beliefs create hopefulness:
a. Believing that the future will be better than the present.
b. Believing that I have the power to make it so. When hopelessness is creeping in and whether I feel like it or not, I choose to believe these two things. I take captive my thinking. It’s not easy to do but it works for me.
2. Because of my faith in the Lord, I am able to choose by faith to believe that He will work all things out together for my good in the future. In other words, I choose to not allow my feelings to “trump” my faith. Even though my feelings may be feelings of hopelessness, that does not change who the Lord is and what He has promised for me. It is an act of my will to believe this as opposed to my feelings being in charge of what I believe. Sooner or later my feelings will catch up with my decision.
What do you do when you feel hopeless? How does hope “work” for you?