Growing Hope Starts with Growing You

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

In my last article, What is a Hope Ecosystem?, we looked at what it means to create a hope ecosystem, or an environment in which hope lives and grows. We looked at it through the lens of Frutivera, the sweet corn project launched by NicaWorks! in Nicaragua. While it is great to hear stories about how other people are bringing hope to their community, what about you? What would it look like for you to create a hope ecosystem?

We will start to look at that question today.

How hopeful are you today? To say it another way, where do you stand on the spectrum between hope-filled and hopeless? This is an important question to answer if you desire to bring hope to others. The old saying, “you can’t give what you don’t have”, rings true here. If you are going to be a catalyst for others to find real hope, you have to be connected to a source of real hope.

Does this mean you have to feel constantly hopeful in order to bring hope to others? I hope not! This is certainly not the case for me. I go through days and seasons when I am feeling less than hope-filled. I would say this is probably the case for everyone. The truth is we live in a broken world and will experience moments of despair, whether from our own brokenness, or the brokenness and uncertainty of the world around us. We do not have to have the “hope thing” completely figured out to create a hope ecosystem. However, we do need to build on a foundation of hope, which comes from being clear on what it is and where it comes from.

In the chapter of my book, Hope Realized, titled “Hope is a Noun”, I discuss the importance of being clear on what real hope is. So often, we think of having hope and hoping as the same thing, but that is not the case. Hoping is wishy-washy and connected to the outcome of something uncertain. However, having real hope is built on something foundational and connected to a truth that is certain. It ultimately comes down to your identity. At the deepest level, what defines you?

Answering this question may require some work. I find “getting curious” about your own story to be critical to discovering what you really believe. Were you created for a life of “less than” or were you created with potential? Examining how you live your life, the voices that have influenced you, and the lens through which you see the world will help you clarify your identity. Once clear on where you stand, reframing your identity around the truth that you were created on purpose for a purpose by a God who love you will build a foundation of real hope. This might look like replacing the lies that tell you that you are hopeless with truths that point to your inherent, God-given potential.

Framing your identity around this life-producing truth can change the way you see the world, the challenges and opportunities you encounter, and your ability remain hope-filled.

In some cases, we are living with a low level of underlying hopelessness that is shaping the way we live our lives. Rooting out the lie that tells us we are created for a life of less than can release overflowing hope. This does not mean life will be easy, but it does mean we will have a foundation of hope on which to stand and a source of hope by which to impact others.

Creating a hope ecosystem starts with ensuring you have a source of hope from which to draw. Again, this does not mean how hopeful you feel will never wane–that is normal. However, it does mean how hope-filled you are will never change because it is built on a foundational truth about your identity. Don’t allow this to be an excuse to not make a difference in someone else’s life but rather an encouragement to invest in your own life as well.

Now that you have done the work in your own life, it is time to start adding to the ecosystem, creating more opportunities for hope to live and grow.

The good news? When we bring hope to others, we find even more hope for ourselves. More on that next time!

James Belt

Click here for more resources to help you bring hope to others!


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