Finding Hope When Fear Rages

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Fear is running rampant, unchecked and wild, through our world. The events unfolding before us is a large-scale picture of what has been going on in our homes and in our hearts since (almost) the beginning of time. Fear is a one-size-fits-all epidemic. It uses the same methods when it rears up in my heart, in my marriage, and in my friendships as when it runs through a crowd or a nation.

Fear isolates. It whispers in the darkness “You are alone. No one will help you.” It covers us with shame to keep us bound in addictions. It makes us think no other marriage has struggled like ours, no other person has had dark thoughts like these. It whispers lies to keep us from coming into the light.

Fear encourages us to see others in an all-or-nothing sense. It paints people with a wide brush so that it can make them objects and not real people. It divides people into groups and creates division and anger with statements like

All __________ are ____________. (You fill in the blank)

Statements like these create further division because no one likes to be painted with a wide brush. Fear makes us forget that people are individuals, created by God and therefore worthy of respect. We forget that these individuals have independent thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

Fear takes away curiosity. Fear makes us so ready to defend ourselves at all cost that it takes away our ability to ask questions that will help us understand someone else’s point of view.

Fear begets fear. The more we surround ourselves with fearful thoughts, statements, and actions, the more fear will surround out hearts and paralyze us.

Fear chokes out hope. Fear screams and calls for immediate, desperate action. Fear makes us think we are alone, without help, and ultimately without hope. Fear paints the future in total darkness.

Fear is like a tornado. It is loud and destructive and throws debris on everyone around. As long as the tornado is there, no one can reach out to help, no one can be heard over the noise, and everyone gets hurt.

Hope is something else entirely. Hope starts out quiet, sometimes as a small spark. The presence of hope can remove the fear tornado so that healing can take place.

Hope builds community. When we surround ourselves with people who fight for hope, we hear these beautiful words, “You are not alone. I am with you.” They remind us of truth, which brings us into the light. And Hope Warriors lovingly help us let go of the lies we’ve believed for far too long.

A photo by Steven Wei. unsplash.com/photos/g-AklIvI1aI

Hope makes us curious. It makes us question the way things are. We ask “What if…” “Does it have to stay this way?” “What would it look like if…” or “What am I hoping for?”

As we see each other as individual humans, and ask the curious questions in order to understand different views, we get to know each other. And we will find that what we have in common, the search for love, security, acceptance, and worth, is important.

Hope begets courage. Hope stirs a quiet, fierce strength inside us. Hope helps us believe the future could be good. When those around us are pointing us toward truth, we grow brave. When we point others toward truth, we grow strong.

Hope reminds us that change is possible. It reminds us that the last chapter has not been written, and that we hold the pen to begin a new chapter.

When we fight for hope and live brave, so much is possible.

 

 

When There Is No Script: Recap

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Coffee by Jennifer Pendleton at Bricks, French Camp, MS

I would love to sit down with you as you read this. I would love to visit over a leisurely cup of coffee and hear about the parts of your life that have no script. The parts that leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. The parts that make you say, “What am I supposed to do now?”

I would tell you about the situations in my life where I’ve slammed into brick walls, hurt, confused and wishing I had a script to follow, a map out of the darkness, a way to stop the pain.

As the steam rises from our coffee cups, we can remind each other that the brokenness of this world will knock on our front door, no matter how much protection we think we have wrapped around our life. There’s no bubble wrap for life.

And that is where the fight for hope begins. Because when there is no script, we get to write our own lines. We become Hope Warriors. And we just may find the badass hiding inside us as well.

When There Is No Script has been about finding our footing in the darkness, asking questions about the journey, and meeting brave Hope Warriors along the way.  We’ve looked at questions like:

Why fight for hope?

What is hope?

What does fighting for hope look like?

What is a hope warrior?

What is brokenness?

Sprinkled among these posts, I’ve had the honor of sharing stories of Hope Warriors – people who have decided that the struggle will not define them, and the darkness will not win.

Heather Hollander wrote about the reality of having hope when the world is filled with suffering and tragedy in her post Do The Next Thing.

Tara Dickson shared about her fight for hope in the midst of losing her husband to brain cancer in Beauty in Sorrow.

Becky Spies shared how God beautifully redeemed the broken and hurting places in her life.

Linsey Ewing wrote a courageous post about  becoming a Hope Warrior and her journey with Bipolar Disorder.

Tammy Gonzalez shared a piece of her story that reminds us of the power of words – the negative ones we speak to ourselves and the life-giving ones we receive from others.

Natalie Ogbourne wrote about her fight for hope in the midst of discouragement and despair in Standing Against the Waves.

These stories are so important. It took great courage for these ladies to write about their fight for hope and it gives courage to us, the readers of their stories. Because even if our struggles don’t look the same, our needs are the same. We need to know that we will see the beauty of redemption and that the fight will have been worth it.

The darkness doesn’t last, but the strength that comes from fighting does.

Keep fighting for hope, my friend.

You are worth it.