It can be really, stinkin’ hard sometimes, right?
When your situation gets really tough…
You just can’t find happiness anymore…
Everything seems to be going against you…
What keeps you from just giving up when everything feels hopeless?
Have you ever wondered, "How Can I Find Hope?"
Hope keeps you hanging on because it allows you to believe that:
- Things will get better.
- You have a purpose to fulfill.
- There is a plan for your life.
- You are cared for
But I would like to suggest that people are losing hope at alarming rates.
As the founder of TheHopeLine which has been around for 25 years, I’ve seen trends. While relationship issues with friends, dating, and parents used to be the number one thing people wanted to talk about…now it is self-worth issues, suicide, depression.
And statistically, we can look at national suicide rates and note that they are up significantly. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report that shows that between 1999 and 2016 suicide rates went up by more than 30 percent in over half the United States. That suggests that hopelessness, depression, and suicidal thoughts could be coming together to cause big mental health challenges.
5 Reasons for Losing Hope
In my many conversations with teenagers and young adults, I hear variations of these five reasons over and over. I believe these statements capture some of the leading causes of hopelessness:
- They have no experience receiving unconditional love which causes feelings of worthlessness.
- Their identities are tied to changing circumstances and not a secure source, so they don't know who they are.
- Life is meaningless. They can't find a purpose.
- Intense feelings of being alone, rejected, abandoned…no one cares.
- Inability to find anything to look forward to.
What Causes People to Feel so Lost?
Let’s consider the prevailing way people view the world in this moment. It’s often referred to as the postmodern worldview.
Perhaps this worldview can best be summarized with, “You do you."
In some ways – I appreciate this saying – it allows people to be accepted for who they are without being judged harshly. “Be yourself.” There’s nothing wrong with that.
But on a deeper level, the message is, “You can believe whatever makes the most sense to you based on your life circumstances. There is no one truth. It’s all relative to your experiences.”
While this may sound good on the surface, the reality is it leaves a lot of people in a state of chaos.
Because what is true anymore and, well, what does work best for you?
When we are unstable without something solid to hold onto, we start to lose our sense of self, our sense of purpose, our sense HOPE.
How to Find Hope, where do you start?
There are over 4,200 belief systems in the world today.
If any of them can be true…where do you start?
As you search for your own truth, you realize you are completely untethered. There is nothing to anchor yourself to. Especially if what you believe depends upon your circumstances because circumstances change. People in your life change. Everything is constantly moving. So, if you are tying your identity and your belief system to your circumstances (even if that belief system is that you don’t believe in anything), what happens when your circumstances change?
You once again feel lost. Untethered.
So, let me ask you a question that the postmodern worldview would appreciate…
How’s life working for YOU right now? How is what you believe or don’t believe working for you? Is it giving you hope? Do you feel secure? Is it helping you feel loved and cherished?
What Give Us Hope?
To match the 5 reasons people are losing hope that I mentioned above, I believe we have hope when:
1. We feel loved and valued.
2. We know who we are without a doubt.
3. Our purpose is clear.
4. We don’t feel abandoned.
5. Our future is bright.
How can we have this security?
Only one thing has consistently provided all of these things for me and that is my Christian faith. I am not talking about religion, but about my relationship with Jesus and my faith in Him.
Now you may decide to stop reading at this point. You may think that I am failing to give you practical advice. To which I say two things:
1. My practical advice for HOPE is to find unconditional love, a secure identity, a purpose, a community and a confident knowledge that your future is secure.
2. The only way I know how to find these things is through my faith. So, I ask you, what kind of person would I be if I have found HOPE and I believe it is the ONE TRUTH that is UNCHANGING, and then I chose NOT to share it with you, would I be showing my genuine care and concern for you? If I kept this to myself when I believe it is the answer, would that be right?
So, I hope you will keep reading because I really do genuinely care. If you are feeling hopeless, what do you have to lose?
I am going to briefly share how my faith has provided the above 5 things for me and how it gives me HOPE. For further detail, I hope you will download our free eBook, Understanding Hope.
You Are Loved
My faith gives me the hope that I am loved by God. Always and forever. And so are you.
Even when you mess up. God loves you. And He loves you unconditionally. His love for YOU knows no limits or boundaries. It's limitless.
He created you and wants a relationship with you. The God of the universe thinks about you personally and wants the best for you. ALWAYS.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:17-18)
And when bad things happen, that is not what He wants. He still loves you.
In this sinful world, people are going to fail you. Even those who are supposed to love you unconditionally, they are going to let you down sometimes. They aren’t perfect. And if every time a person fails you, you in turn start to wonder if you are worthy of love. You will lose hope.
That is why knowing you are loved by God is an anchor of hope! You are loved no matter what!
You Have Worth
Do you find yourself tying your identity and your worth to:
What you achieve · What you look like · Who approves of you · Mistakes of your past
As a Christian, your worth and your identity are no longer defined by what the world says about you but rather by who God says you are.
In the Bible He says you are: Chosen ·Accepted ·Treasured ·Beautiful ·Protected ·Able ·Complete ·Known· Overcomer ·Masterpiece ·Rescued ·Held
Once you believe in the God of the Bible, these promises are yours to claim.
There is such hope in knowing that nothing can change who God says you are. Your identity is secure.
You have a Purpose
The whole idea that life is a vapid hole without meaning goes away when you are a Christian.
God designed you uniquely and created you in His image. He wouldn’t waste his time if you had no reason for existing.
God created you because he wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to love you, and in return, be loved by you. He is a personal God. We are here to praise Him for how great He is! To live lives that honor and glorify our Holy creator.
One way we honor and glorify God is to love others and that is our other purpose. In the Bible, God tells us that the most important things for us to do are to love God with all our hearts and love the people around us just as much as we love ourselves.
Your purpose then is to: Love God … Love yourself … Love others
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt 22:36-39)
You are Not Alone
God promises to NEVER abandon his children.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So, we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5&6)
When you take the leap of faith to believe, there will be times when God feels super close and times he feels farther away, but faith allows you to trust that God’s promises are always true. Even when you feel alone, you recognize that is just a feeling. God is still there.
Years of believing in God have proven this truth to me. There have been many times in my life where my circumstances would have made me feel hopeless and alone, but God has always been my anchor to hold onto in the storms. The knowledge that He is unchanging, unmovable, trustworthy and good allow me to have HOPE.
Your Future is Amazing
Do you ever feel like you have nothing to look forward to? That the same despair you may be feeling now will always be with you?
By putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, your life is made new. You get a fresh start. If you recognize that you have messed up and ask God to forgive you, God will forgive you, no matter what you’ve done. God will pour out mercy, peace, grace, blessings, and love on you. Your future is secure.
And once you have given your life to Christ, you can rest assured that, no matter what you face in this lifetime, you can look forward to eternal life in heaven.
And heaven…well, it’s going to be great! More beauty than we can comprehend. But even better is the pure joy we will have. There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more death.
Is This Hope for You?
It is certainly available to you if you choose it.
You can also visit our Get Help page to talk to someone about this.
Here’s the thing…. Christians still have problems. We still make mistakes. Bad things still happen.
Once sin came into the world, God never promised us life would be easy. However, God promises to overcome all of it, to love us always, and to never leave us.
Read this and see if you relate:
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom.
That’s from the Bible – nothing much has changed in human feelings over thousands of years. Here is what the writer of that passage went on to say.
But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. (Lamentations 3:19-26 MSG)
God provided hope to people then and still does today!
If you or a friend need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, for free confidential, 24/7 help. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. For additional help, please visit the suicide prevention resource page.
For more help with understanding hope and your purpose, download our free eBook!