TAKE ACTION - HOW TO RECEIVE HOPE
They say that speaking in public is the number one fear. But of all the things that you desperately want and need, yet shy away from, receiving help and hope are probably right there at the top of your list. People run away from admitting their need more quickly than just about anything else.
We are conflicted at best, almost schizophrenic at worst. We frantically are looking for hope, help, to be held tightly in love and support. Yet we fight and pull away from people and resources that will give us exactly what we are looking for. We are frightened out of our minds by the fear of showing our need from someone else, in front of anyone else.
If you’re living anywhere under the curse of self-assured, Western culture, the thing you want to do is to appear to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-sustaining. You want to be seen by your family, friends, and social media connections as someone who has their “stuff” together. No matter the circumstances, no matter the tragedy, you want to be seen as being able to handle it, and anything more.
This is why many people are eager to show someone else hope but are hesitant at best to receive hope. We are willing to give because we are in the driver’s seat when it comes to giving out information, giving out hope. But to receive hope, we have to admit that we have a need, and that’s humbling.
So, here are seven steps to take on the journey of How to Receive Hope.
Step 1 – Hope in Weakness
There is something in the way we’re put together that we need to admit our weaknesses, that we can’t handle life all on our own. When we admit this to other people, it has the completely opposite effect. Instead of making us weaker, it makes us stronger. Speaking words of our personal weakness actually fortifies us, increases our strength.
To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.
Weakness is not thinking of yourself as completely without value. Weakness admits and freely talks about our needs and dependence on others for help and support.
Tip – Hope blossoms in the fertile soil of weakness. Start where you are, not where you want to be. Hope in Weakness is a journey, a destination. It is not turning over a card that says, “Advance to Go and Collect $200.” It’s taking your turn, advancing, making one decision at a time, taking one step at a time.
Step 2 – Hope in Community
You are never going improve your hopefulness by trying to do it alone. Refueling your hope tank take a team, a community. We were not made to live life alone; we were made to live life in community that shares not only good news, but our weaknesses and needs
I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.
Community starts when you open yourself up to another person. Community develops when you are able to talk about thinks that are right below the surface. Community flourishes when you share things you once hid from everyone.
Tip – Like swimming, community starts in the shallow end of the pool of life where you learn to float and paddle. Only after getting comfortable with yourself and the basics are you ready to tentatively venture out into deeper waters.
Step 3 – Hope in Learning
As you learn and listen, offering hope to others, you cannot help but become more sensitive to your own weaknesses. Hope grows as you learn more about yourself. Hope never grows by thinking that you’ve got life wired. Hope sends down deep roots as we learn the truth about others and ourself.
Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. However, if it taught you to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, not forgive or show compassion, to categorize people as good or bad, to distrust and be guarded with your feelings then you didn’t learn a thing.
Trying to lean about hope is like trying to increase your vocabulary. Don’t try and memorize all the “A’s” in a day, but start a habit to learn one word a day. Learning hope is a life-long pursuit. It takes time, effort, energy, repetition.
Tip – Set a calendar event every day to remind you to learn about hope. Or get a friend to connect with every day to learn hope together.
Step 4 – Hope in Failure
The ultimate “F-Word” is failure. It’s the most upsetting, shocking, disturbing of all words. It cuts deeper, inflicts more pain, leaves greater open wounds than other word in the English language. But we can convert our failures into great opportunities of hope: hope for forgiveness, hope for restoration, hope for change.
There's a trust and commitment thing that has to allow yourself to fail, allow yourself to be embarrassed, allow yourself to be vulnerable”
Admitting failure is not giving anyone a pass, excusing what’s been said or done just because everyone does it. By admitting failure, we humbly put ourselves on equal ground with everyone else; no better, no worse. When we admit our failures, hope can only increase as we are restored with ourselves and others.
Tip – Learning about our failures can be shocking and painful. What you thought as a small splinter can be felt as a thermonuclear bomb with catastrophic consequences. Be prepared to receive when someone “swings for the fences” at you for something you said or did.
Step 5 – Hope in Listening
We think of listening as lethargic, listless, lifeless. But the complete opposite is true. Of all the things that you can do to receive hope, listening can be the most active. It can come in like a flood, washing away the dreary dirt of our hopeless past, refreshing the parched, dry ground of our self-image.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Is listening the first thing you grab for from your toolbelt of life? Listening is a powerful way to receive hope because you place yourself in a humble position to first learn. You will receive more hope by listening then my shooting off your mouth.
Tip – For most of us, listening is an acquired skill. All of us are wired for sound, but most of us didn’t just show up wired to listen. Like receiving hope, listening is a learned skill. But the benefits and dividends it pays far outweigh the cost.
Step 6 – Hope in Receiving
It may sound redundant, but to receive hope you have to be ready to receive. This means that you do NOT have all the answers, you do NOT know everything, you are NOT the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Hope comes and grows when we’re open to receiving from other people.
Because of that weakness, he could help in ways nobody could.
Receiving hope by its very definition comes from the outside. When we open ourselves up to receive hope, we also open ourselves up to other people. People, who just like us, don’t have everything figured out, don’t have all the answers, don’t have all the power to make the world just like they think it should be.
Tip – The hardest people to receive hope from are those that you disagree with. Instead of looking at them as the enemy, could they be an unexpected source of hope?
Step 7 – Hope in Accepting
When we accept hope, we take it from the outside, internalize it, and make it our own. We take the hope offered from another broken person and accept it with thankfulness. We then look for ways to personalize it, put our own spin on it, think of ways that we might benefit from the hope offered from someone else.
The greatest act of strength is to acknowledge that we have none. The greatest act of faith is to believe that our weakness is God’s strength. And the greatest act of courage is to act on these realities.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Accepting hope is like accepting an invitation to dinner, but not offering to bring something. If they want you to bring something, they’ll bring it up. Accepting hope is just that, accepting. Not bringing something to the party but offering the great and gracious gift of accepting.
Tip – When hope is offered, accept it as a good and kind gift. Don’t go all negative on offered hope. Remember that the person offering you hope is probably scared out of their minds.