How to give hope to others

give hope

Do you ever struggle with how to give hope to others when things feel heavy and hard?  It’s difficult to know what to do, right? Most of the time, our human heart gravitates toward problem-solving, but sometimes there is no quick or easy fix. Sometimes, it isn’t even about fixing the problem. 

Today on the blog, we’re going to talk about what it means to give hope to others in those overwhelming seasons when it feels like nothing makes a difference. Get ready, because we’re gonna dig in, face some of the common insecurities, and call out and cut off the inner “Messiah Complex.” We live in communities that need the light and love of Jesus, and as children of God, we get to be the ones to give hope to others!

What is hope?

Hope is a feeling, connected to the desired expectation. We all experience this when we want something, or want something to happen. But it’s more than a feeling, right? I mean, faith is the anchor for hope.  You may want something, but until you believe it’s possible it’s not hope. Hope is tied to a truth and a promise; without faith it’s just wishful thinking.

Can I be candid? Right now, I’m hoping for a realistic and uncomplicated way to travel across the border to visit our extended family for Christmas. International travel is always a big deal, but in this current season, nothing feels sure. It’s been at least two years since we’ve been back to see loved ones, and we are so ready. I’m sure you can relate to some degree or another. It may not be as complicated for you and your family, or maybe it’s worse? I’m under no delusion that my situation is unique, it’s been a tough season for everyone.

International travel is complicated right now. Mandates, regulations, and best practices are not the same on both sides.  It is what it is, but it’s confusing. So, I’m hoping that as we continue to move through this season that systems will become clearer. I hope to see my family, to hug them and love on them in a place where we can share and breath the same oxygen. That’s what I’m hoping for…

That’s a tall order though. There are so many moving parts and all of this? It’s so far out of my control. How do you give hope in hard situations and beyond your control?

Hope stands in faith

Life is filled with a million little (and not so little) things that we want and believe in, but it has to go beyond desire. Hope lives in the place where the soul trusts and believes the truth principles of God. Even more, hope remembers that God’s way is the best way to healing and shalom. Hope is birthed when desire and trust activate belief (faith). 

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1, NLT

There are times however when the heavy and hard yuck of life press in with an entirely different narrative. I think we can all relate to that too, right? The physical reality of this life often feels louder than God’s voice. We need to train our souls to listen and recognize the voice of God, for it’s only in the secret place that we learn to discern His truth.

Knowing the heart of God connects the soul to His reality and truth. The names of God declare His promises over and over and over. When we stand in agreement with God we have access to truth, which gives us the foundation we need for hope and faith. When we cannot see, we choose to hope in the promise and presence of a great and mighty God.

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10, NLT

If we want to give hope to others we have to be about establishing ourselves in Fatih.  You cannot give what you don’t have. Hope-bearers can bring peace into the heavy and hard places because they have practiced hope by choosing it over and over.

Carrying Hope

Carrying hope isn’t as straightforward as carrying a bag, but it’s easier than you might think. Also, I think sometimes it feels easier to abdicate this responsibility when we don’t feel hopeful ourselves. Am I right? 

Here’s the thing, nobody wants plastic canned responses in the middle of the yuck. Most people I know, (myself included) long for authenticity. Hope isn’t about solving the problem, it’s about pointing the soul back to the truth; it’s about seeing that Jesus is greater than the impossibility. 

So what do we do in the case of sickness and disease?

What about mental illness?

Addiction?

Trauma?

We live in a broken world and when we look at the effects of brokenness long enough, that’s all we see. Let me tell you something, I see a lot of really heavy and hard brokenness in our church community. My husband and I have been pastoring this faith community for almost twenty years and we’ve seen A LOT of brokenness. I hate the effects of addiction and mental illness on the lives of our church family. And, it’s unbelievably hard to watch a person you love disappear through a neurological disorder that takes the mind to seemingly unreachable places. 

Sometimes it’s hard to choose hope, but that’s what we need to do. We start by remembering that God is greater and move our hearts toward that truth. Alignment with God allows us to emit hope even when we don’t have words.

Resisting the Messiah Complex

I hate it when people are suffering. My gut instinct almost always leans toward fixing a problem when there is pain. Can you relate? It’s hard, right? I mean, sometimes the weight of it all is too heavy. 

I’ve also learned, that if I’m too quick to lead out of sympathy, I can make things much worse. Isn’t that crazy? The thing is, every situation, problem, and person is unique. The desire to give hope is good and right, but we must be cautious in the way to try to do that. 

The Scriptures tell us to love others and we should indeed care for one another’s needs. I’m not arguing that. But, there are times when the temptation to push in and take over is great.    We need to be relentless in our practice of discernment. God has given us great resources and tools to effectively give hope to others, but we must remember that He is the One who knows all, sees it all, and knows the best way to restore and heal. 

You and I are not called to be the savior in our families and communities. We are called to give hope to others and we do that as we point them to Jesus. I’m not saying that means we don’t tangibly and practically serve one another, it just means we must listen well to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

How do we do that?

We learn to practice discernment as we pursue intimacy with God. He loves to reveal Himself as we lean into His presence, watching and waiting with Him. If you want to know how to recognize the voice of God, you have to be willing to sit and practice the discipline of listening.

How to give hope when things feel hopeless

One of the best ways to give hope to others, especially when things feel hopeless, is to be a light of encouragement and a vessel of peace. This doesn’t mean we go in like superheroes to save the day, it means we carry in the presence of God. We get the opportunity to emanate God’s grace. He is the source of everything and when we are connected to Him the fullness of God is present. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, that sure takes the pressure off. We can do what we are able, but it’s also important that we remember that sometimes God says, wait. I don’t believe that God is malicious, but sometimes we have to walk through tough stuff and do hard things. Scripture reminds us, over and over, that God doesn’t abandon His beloved. He is present and faithful—always.

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2, NLT

We’ve all experienced hopeless moments, but as children of God, we can be confident by faith that God isn’t finished. God is good and the story isn’t finished until that aspect of His nature is seen. The enemy always sounds louder when our eyes are fixed on the impossibilities of the circumstance, but when we look at Jesus it awakens the soul to truth.

5 practical ways to give hope to others

1. Presence

Be present, not just in body, but in mind and emotions too. Hope is more than words. It’s weighty, almost tangible. It’s rooted in faith. Hope isn’t just spoken, it’s lived. We don’t need to solve problems, we need to be fully present in the moment. Steady and firmly rooted faith opens the way for grace and hope.

2. Compassion

Compassion is about allowing ourselves to feel the weight of heaviness. It’s not necessarily about picking it up and bearing it, but rather standing shoulder to shoulder with it. Compassion sees by way of the heart. Walking in another person’s shoes opens your eyes to the deeper places of heavy and hard. Standing with compassion is an extravagant kindness.

3. Listening/Hearing

Listening is about hearing. Listening allows us to see beyond the surface to the deeper places of concern. When the big issue is beyond your hands, hearing communicates hope by establishing a sense of understanding. Listen to understand.

4. Serving

Serve and care for the basics; this goes a LONG way toward inspiring hope. We all need a little extra help from time to time, so serving one another reminds the soul that he/she is not alone. 

5. Empathy

Identifying with another person can be helpful, but it’s good to exercise a little caution and restraint. Don’t hijack the situation and make it about you. Every situation is different, but sharing about how you identify may be encouraging. And, given the opportunity, you may be able to share some helpful tips about how you got through it all.

Just one more thing…

Thanks for sticking around right to the end! I hope you found this post helpful and encouraging.   If you know someone who might need to hear these words, feel free to share! If you want more like this, I invite you to sign up for my weekly devotional called, The Grace Notes. 

Always,

Maureen

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