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Demystifying Hope | Provoketive Magazine
18 Jan 2012

The Author

I love people who feel like outsiders because I believe they are the key to moving forward. Outsiders are often just visionaries under pressure who are on their way to becoming entrepreneurs. So, I encourage them, invite them into community and conversation, get them in touch with other insightful people, and walk beside them as they move from complaining to dreaming to changing the world.


Demystifying Hope

You can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but not even four seconds without hope. – Anonymous

Hope Described

It is laborious and depressing to try to muddle on when you feel hopeless. In my own precarious situation, I have noticed that the slightest development can ever so easily tip my emotional scales one way or the other. Yet, I believe hope is more than a half-hearted, wistful, emotional aspiration.

Hope is grounded in belief. For me, those beliefs include a loving God who was outlandish, unexpected, and extravagant in the way he loved through Jesus; and that love story is not over. As a matter of fact, I get to soak up his love and transfer it on to others right now; and if things fall apart, I am reminded that it is not the last chapter and I will never be abandoned by this loving God.

Hope is an attitude. Like the UHF dial on a 1970’s TV, it has to be constantly adjusted and carefully tuned in. A little change in weather and the signal gets fuzzy. It takes a constant adjustment process for our attitude to reflect our beliefs and not our emotions.

Hope is rooted in reality. Real hope has a real chance of really happening. Pie-in-the-sky hope is like a limp handshake; less than sincere. Hope needs a real object that we are focused on and consumed by.

Hope is very hard work. Staying hopeful is hard work, but laboring to make the hope a reality, will probably be your life’s work. Everybody has hopes and dreams, but most people die with them being unrealized. Perhaps, even more people die having pushed them out of their minds because they perceived them to be undoable or unrealistic. Honestly, it will take more tenacity and flexibility than you can currently imagine for your hopes to be realized.

Hope Applied

My hope is fueled by anger and frustration. These are very legitimate reactions and powerful motivators. Let me explain.

Our nation is locked in a polarized nightmare of paralysis with unsustainable debt, out of control healthcare costs, runaway unemployment rates, and decreasing world influence. The church is suffering from sexual scandals, shrinking memberships, a perceived loss of relevance, and the ironic reality that many people are unable to make the connection between it and Christ. Our educational system, based on a medieval model, is a prohibitively expensive, long-term commitment, unreasonable for many of today’s workers, and questionable in its effectiveness in preparing people for real jobs. Customer service has become a sadly inadequate, excessively automated, cost-saving, half-hearted, insincere attempt, which all too often, is totally frustrating. Social service in our nation is difficult to navigate, poorly coordinated, increasing hard to sustain, and locked into a client/provider paradigm that assaults the dignity of those who use it. We can and must do better. There is a global awakening that many of our societal institutions are simply no longer serving us well.

My hope to address our urgent need for boldness and creativity lies not with those in positions of power, but with those who can find no place or no longer desire a place in the power structures of our culture. I stand in solidarity with my brother and sister outsiders. I have an unshakable belief that many of these people who have been shut or who have opted of the power structures and conventions of our society are visionaries who will become entrepreneurs who will help the rest of us find our way. It was probably the trauma of finding themselves on the outside that forced them into their new desire to forget what they left behind and to dream about and fight for what could and should be.

My role is to encourage and equip them however I can. What keeps me going is seeing the need, knowing that this vision flows out of my true identity, and more than anything else, knowing that others believe in me and in this vision. These things reinforce my hope.

I invite you to join me in becoming actively hopeful.

[This post is part of the Synchroblog on Hope.  For a full list of participants and posts, go here.]
  1. I believe that’s the most hopeful, clear-headed rant I’ve ever seen online!

  2. I agree Adam. This piece is a rant because it has long paragraphs that leave no stone unturned, and should be read aloud in a voice that is half shouting.

    • Wayne – I wrote the “ranty” paragraph a few weeks ago in an effort to to both summarize my observations and clarify the need for improvement in a few areas. I wish it weren’t all true, but I know that we can do better. That’s my hope. I hope that I can be as “loud” in dealing with solutions and improvements, as I was in describing the problems.

  3. Adam,

    That’s very kind. Part of the post is a rant, but it is really stuff we all know. We get so used to “living with it” that seeing it in written form can seem both blunt and undeniably truthful at the same time. I’m glad that you found it hopeful!

  4. Glenn – I love the idea of being actively hopeful because I often think of hoping as a passive thing.

    • Liz – It was something that I needed to say to encourage myself, though I stand my it. We can be actively hopeful!

  5. Hope Activist, I like it too. I wonder if that gets you on a list somewhere 😉

    It really bothers me that hope and wish are synonymous. I like the idea that hope is grounded in belief. Wishing is for lotteries and good looks, hope is despite reality.

    • Thanks Wayne! I am sure that I must be on some lists somewhere, but they are most likely “naught”y lists.

  6. I love it Glenn. Well vented!!

  7. Articulate so much of what I have felt in my own life in different seasons.

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