8 ways to boost your hope

Hope is hands down my favorite word. I can live without a lot of things, but hope is definitely not one of them. In fact, if I were forced to choose one word as my word forever, it would be hope.

Hope is that little flicker of light that guides you through the dark when you feel all is lost and there are no options left. It’s the tiny voice that whispers, “You can make it,” even when you aren’t sure you can. Hope keeps us moving forward, even when we are completely broken. That soft, persistent spark of hope is enough to light a fire of renewal and healing out of the ashes of our darkest moments and most difficult seasons.

As long as you have hope, you have something to work toward, something to cling to even when it feels like you’ll be swept away by the storm you’re going through. If we lose hope, we really are lost. See why I can’t live without it?

At its core, hope is a belief or trust that something you desire will happen. Of course, that doesn’t always mean it will be in the package you expected or look like you think it will. When hope is your word, you focus on opening your eyes to find meaning and opportunities all around you, along with all the ways your life has been made richer by the things you’ve hoped for and the things you have hope in.                       

If you find yourself struggling through difficult circumstances or a challenging season, hope is the perfect word for you. When you choose hope, you are telling yourself that all is not lost and that better times and better experiences are waiting in your future. There is, and always will be, a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a powerful word to choose to focus on, and hope can provide a lot of comfort when you need it most.       

If you are going through something painful or difficult, you may be looking for someone or something to give you the hope you can’t seem to find. Maybe you need to have hope in the doctors and nurses treating a family member. Maybe you need to have hope in your friends and family who are trying to help you. Maybe you need to have hope in yourself that you can do difficult things. Maybe you need to have hope in God. Luckily, you can have hope in as many things as you need.     

Ways to boost hope

  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and meditate on all the possibilities your life could bring.
  • Rest. Sometimes lying in the grass under a big, life-giving tree, sipping a big glass of water, and getting a good night’s sleep can give you back that glimmer of hope you’ve been missing.
  • Pray. God is so much bigger than we are. Trust him to steer. Get quiet to listen for his voice.
  • Focus on the positive. Write down three hopeful things that happened to you at the end of each day.
  • Clarify. Write down what you are hoping for, and say it out loud each morning.
  • Celebrate small wins and big wins alike. When times are tough, an extra piece of cake or two certainly can’t hurt.
  • Humble yourself to reach out for support. Call on your friends, family, neighbors and anyone else in your community that you can. We were never ever meant to walk through dark times alone. It takes a village.
  • See a therapist, see a counselor, or find a support group to attend. There is a wide range of therapy options in all budgets these days, and working with a good therapist can supercharge your hope. There are free twelve-step programs for pretty much every issue under the sun. These aren’t just for addiction issues anymore—they’re also for codependence, debt, love and sex struggles, food issues, etc. (I used to attend a few in person, but now I go to some via Zoom and love to start my day off listening to them while I walk or run around my neighborhood.)

You might be surprised where your hope comes from—a beautiful sunny day during a rainy week, a kind word from a stranger, a spontaneous heartfelt hug from your son, a call from an old friend, a glorious sunset that paints the sky pink and gold, or even just a perfect cup of coffee. Life has a way of giving us little bits of hope when we need them most; you just have to be open to seeing and appreciating them. When I choose hope as my word, I find I am more aware of everything in life that gives me hope. Hope in nature. Hope in myself. Hope in my community. And hope in my world.                                            

Of course, there will always be times when those little bits of hope aren’t enough, times when circumstances feel so dark and so heavy that nothing can cut through the gloom. When hope is in short supply, I place my hope squarely in something far bigger than myself—God. When things are at their worst and I feel anxiety rear its ugly head, I can pray and share all of my worries, stressors and feelings, and suddenly my flame of hope burns brighter and stronger. It is always a mighty relief to hand my problems over to God. I know there’s nothing he can’t handle, and that truth gives me rest and helps me find peace even when life is chaotic. So if you find yourself losing hope, try praying, even if it’s not something you do often (or ever), and even if you feel like no one is listening. Turning to God is a beautiful, relieving way to build up hope in your heart.

Taken from Every Word Matters by Caitlin Crosby. Copyright © 2021 by Caitlin Crosby. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

Do Good:

  • Read “Every Word Matters” (Zondervan, 2021) by Caitlin Crosby. 
  • Did you know The Salvation Army served more than 23 million Americans last year fighting hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and more—all in a Fight for Good? Where can you help? Take our quiz to find your cause and learn how you can join in today.
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