Meditation 1: On Hope

Have you ever tried to reduce your life down to a single word? Are you a noun? A verb? A modifier? For me: Hope. I hope. I have hope. I have built a hopeful life.

In the conclusion of Paul's thoughts on love: "Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). Why is that Paul meditates on love, defines and describes it, and then evokes faith and hope in the conclusion? Faith and hope must play a role in love. Maybe it's that our faith gives us a steadfast foundation for our hope to stand upon, and that hope then in turn allows us to transcend ourselves and experience true love. Or maybe faith establishes our reality, hope allows us to see beyond that reality to God and others, and love is the relationship that exists between us and the Person that we find looking back.

I see this interaction between faith, hope, and love in the growth mindset. The growth mindset is borne out of faith and hope - the hope that you can improve and the faith that your effort will pay off. The interesting thing is that the people that entertain those thoughts are then more able to experience love and joy. Faith and hope build character. People with character are able to love others as well as themselves.

Some psychologists have set out to dissect hope and found that it truly does inspire joy. Hope can be thought of as a brand of optimism that reveals a path to our desired goals and provides the motivation to walk that path. In other words, hope leads to character growth. Hope and optimism can be nurtured and learned by challenging our negative self-talk and recognizing that our decisions impact our present state and future reality. People that learn to hope also increase their capacity and ability to experience lasting joy. Imagine if you were to also learn to love fully and remain faithful to your beliefs as well. It's a beautiful thought, and I pray that God grants those abilities to all who seek it.

Read First Corinthians 12-15, Psalm 33, and "Learned Helplessness" by Martin Seligman

No comments:

Post a Comment