Hope Is Not A Strategy...But It's Needed

We are now wrapping up the unwrapping of Christmas gifts and surprises and are mere days away from the new year. I was struck by a great message at my homes church service leading up to Christmas. It centered around hope and the more specifically the hope of the coming King Jesus. Hope is such a powerful word that will be used now by people “hoping” for a great 2019 and “hoping” for good travel weather. Hope elicits a mixture of emotions. When you think of hope you consider feeling and emotions such as joy, anticipation, happiness, all powerful feelings. Hope also provides its sudden shiver of angst, worry, fear, anxiety, and stress. That is crazy to think one word can bring out those feelings, sometimes separately, but often in the same moment.

In working with young people I have been opened up to seeing how other people work through things whether it be life, sports, or school. It made me reflect on how people do things as well. What really spurred this hope thought is through basketball coaching. I currently work with young freshmen who are trying to figure out the game and how to truly play it. One big obstacle young players struggle with is the passes they attempt to make. Passes that they think will work, but never do. I have had to on more than one occasion explain to a player that a basketball cannot go through a defensive players arms (pass fakes do work). Out of this frustration came a the word HOPE. These passes were out of pure hope that they would get from their possession safely into the awaiting hands of their teammates.

HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY

Hope passes (I hope this makes it through without getting stolen) are not a strategy to play basketball or life by. Hope means to me that we are relying completely on something else. For the world two thousand years ago Christ Jesus coming was the hope they were looking for. Hope by itself was not bringing the desire to the people and hope itself will not be good enough to help us today in our challenges in life.

Hope is good when in the right viewpoint. Hope backed by confidence and preparation is solid. I think all to often we rely on hope being made on assumptions that certain things are played out how we need them to go. It can’t be “I hope we get the win” it should be “I hope we get the win, because we have practiced extremely hard the last week to get us ready.” The first sentence uses hope as a wish. I wish and hope a million dollars is given to me tomorrow, but that will not make it happen. Work, work, and more work will.

So what can we place hope in? Human beings must take hope in the truth. If it is rooted in truth I believe it will have a better chance of occurring (because nothing is really ever 100% full proof) than not. For me and my faith my hope is rooted in the truth that Christ Jesus died for my transgressions and will come back one day. Having truth in our lives means a few things. First, we must be honest with ourselves. If we can’t be honest and truthful to ourselves then we live in a world of delusion where false hope is the way of life. We as individuals have to have the three “self’s”. Self-Motivation, Self-Accountability, and Self-Work Ethic. Start by improving these areas and the things we “hope” for will not be wishes. Second, we must have honest people around us. If we surround ourselves with those who lie, cover things up, and overall are as far wide on the truth spectrum as can be we will take on those same features. Living with deceit and lies transition our drive from confidence to hopelessness.

Hope, true hope, has a lot of accompanying passengers as you can see. There’s more.

Hope has vision. A vision isn’t just seeing what is in front of us or reading a situation. I’m talking about true vision. When I think of vision I think of plan, purpose, and direction. Pete Carrol coach of the Seattle Seahawks believes everyone should have a personal philosophy. What we believe and how we act it out will lead to our hope being firmly founded. Without vision for life people perish. They never live up to their potential, they rely on the wrong things, and hope that hope will change them and their situation. Vision, proper vision, has a rooted purpose in directing the hopes we have to prosperous things. If we don’t know our vision then we need to go back to the the root like a tree. Where does it start, what grows it, and what is it connected to in the bigger picture. Hope sticks with the vision. A struggle people have today is that our hope is in darkness. We love the darkness, when things are kept under cover and out of sight. When do people go out to do shady things? In the dark. Hope is then placed in terrible things. We need hope in the light. Positivity, truth, morality, character, leadership.

Finally, one question to finish this look on hope. Who has it for us? Who has our hope?

With Marvel and DC Comic movies coming out five times a year we have come to showcase our fascination with superheroes. I love them. Imagine what it would be like to have a Superman in the world or the unbelievable heroic individual who can’t be stopped even when up against amazing forces. Unfortunately those things we see in movies (Spoiler Alert) aren’t real. Hope in those things will leave us alone and desperate. So while I cannot make you have hope in what I believe is true (Jesus Christ, Michigan football will find a way to lose a big game, and the mirror doesn’t lie in the weight room) I can implore you to ask the question to yourself. What and who we place our hope in will play the biggest factor on if our “hope” is valid.

Hope is not a strategy to live by. Taking actions/inactions on wishful hope will not work consistently. Using hope as a strategy is like playing the lottery. Mega millions odds are 1 in 302.6 million. Hope all you want those odds are changing.

So don’t play the lottery. Don’t rely on hope by itself to get our life in order or accomplish the things we want to accomplish. Do the work, put in the time, give the effort, and watch our hope turn into a confident reality. Work Always Works!

I hope (yes I said it) you took something away and can become better because if it! Hope is something we cannot lose in life.

Steven Hovermale