If you look up “hope” in the dictionary you will discover two parts to the definition:
a) “desire or expectation” for something in the future to occur; and
b) “grounds for believing” something in the future will occur.
You run into trouble when you have one without the other.
When you have “desire without any grounds” you have a problem. When hope is based solely on your desire or wish and isn’t grounded in reality, it’s called false hope and will not keep your boat afloat!
If you do not have objective reasons to believe your situation will change and progress in a certain direction, it’s time to lay down your approach and the perspective you are committed to. It’s time to recalibrate new expectations grounded in realism.
When I woke up from my accident two days after it happened, it took a while to get my bearings. My life prior to the accident was full of purpose, direction and activity that was exciting and fruitful. On my mind early on in my recovery was, “when can I get back to doing what I love to do? When can I get back to coaching, running, traveling, training leaders, living life as I thought it was meant to be lived?”
Four months after the accident, my recovery plan sank. What I was hoping for was no longer grounded in reality! The infection I had at the beginning of my recovery resurfaced and everything changed for the worse. Things grew hopeless after my fourth surgery and my expectations were hit with a major dose of realism. Depression set in like a heavy fog on a cool winter morning and my plan needed a facelift from being a few months in length to potentially a few years.
How do we know when to hang on to hope verses grasping the hopelessness that opens the door to doing something different? You need a good diagnostic (to quote Henry Cloud in Necessary Endings).
You need to take stock in what you have and if your situation has changed, embrace the reality, wrap your arms around it, and then go about designing a new pathway forward.
Hopelessness is the soil of a new beginning. Hopelessness serves as the bedrock necessary to start building again and arriving at new expectations and a new plan for moving forward in your life.
Once I went down into my hopelessness I found:
- A new place to stand
- Realistic expectations
- The freedom to admit weakness
- New ideas for using my talents to help others
- People who were willing to support me in new ways
- Fresh motivation coming from a renewed plan
- Strength from God who meets us in our weakness
Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have and frees us to move away from the safe place and enter unknown and fearful territory [Henri Nouwen].
In what way might you be living with a desire but without any grounds to see that come to pass? What needs to change in order to develop true hope not just a wish?
To receive each new post by email when they come out, enter your email address on the top right at www.camtaylor.net. And I welcome your comments!