Three years ago, brain fog consumed me as I struggled to remember anything, barely capable of carrying a conversation. Devoid of energy, I cared little for my career, home, family or myself. Hopelessness, depression, anxiety and fatigue ravaged my soul, and I despaired of life.
Learning I was suffering burnout, I found a counselor. All I could do was focus on her homework assignments, and through them, I discovered the paramount importance of hope.
Previously, I didn’t think hope was a worthy member of the happy triad in the famous love chapter.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Now, an advocate for hope, I understand the devastation resulting from hopelessness. It incapacitates our ability to love—especially ourselves; it’s why people take their life.
When I lost hope, I could not even think about loving people. Why? I discovered 2 important reasons:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov.13:12
When we lose hope, our heart becomes sick, literally.
Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and rest in safety. Job 11:18
Hope affords the courage to carry on—to face today, and tomorrow, finding protection, rest and safety in God.
Through my journey back to hope, I learned the symptoms of hopelessness.
Where is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!” Job 17:15-16
The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars until at last all hope was gone. Acts 27:20
- We lose vision, the ability to dream and pursue dreams. We often despair to the point of death. Research shows that hopelessness is a strong predictor of mortality. And Dr. Shane Lopez, author of Making Hope Happen states:
“The three elements of hope include having goals (seeking out where you want to go), feeling empowered to shape your daily life, and identifying multiple avenues toward making your goals happen.”
- Mental, physical, social and spiritual consequences also result from hopelessness, some of which include:
- Suicidal ideations
- Declining health
- Early death
- Crisis’ of faith
With all this gloom and doom, what’s the remedy? I’m glad you asked! Now we’re coming to the good part!
I learned 5 essential tools for restoring hope.
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God! Psa. 42:5
O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. Psa. 71:5
1. We discern three key matters from these verses:
- where we put our faith
- who we trust
- whom we worship
If we put our faith and trust in relationships, circumstances, career, family, success, perfection, or the praise of others, our hope rests on shaky ground.
2. Additionally, we were created to worship; it’s not if we worship, but what or whom. When we worship success, money, relationships, children, spouses, accomplishments, or even dreams, our hope waxes and wanes with the fickleness of society’s whims.
But when we spend time in awe and wonder of our Creator, it fortifies our soul, changes our brain, and improves our health!
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom. 5:13
3. Another essential tool: comfort in God. He is the source of hope. Spending time with Jesus—listening, waiting, reading, praying—was the most vital practice helping me rekindle hope in burnout. And it’s a hopelessness preventative!
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Psa. 119:49
4. The next tool is remembering. What are we remembering? God’s past goodness. It’s absolutely necessary for a robust hope. If we remember the past goodness of God, we will weather the present storms threatening our hope. Called reflection, it was a vital tool for recovery and a practice I continue to this day.
Endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Rom. 5:4-5
5. Lastly, developing endurance and strength of character was vital. Hopelessness, alongside unprocessed past pain, left me with 3-dimensional weakness. It was a slow, arduous process, but transformation proved imperative to reviving hope.
How do we gain endurance and strength of character?
- Seek God’s wisdom through His Word, prayer and godly counsel.
- Remain curious, open to learning from new experiences and people unlike us.
- Develop a growth mindset, continuing to learn throughout our lives, versus a fixed mindset, resulting from fear of change and lack of curiosity.
When we seek and worship God, remember His past faithfulness, and allow God to grow our character, we find renewed hope and comfort in God! Dear one, if hope is waning, seek help from a loved one or counselor. Don’t allow burnout to set in. We can do this together!
When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Psa. 94:19