When you hear the word “hope,” what do you think of? Something you are looking forward to? The knowledge that there is more to this life than what we have right in front of us? A wish for someone you love?
The word HOPE is a lovely word which has been part of my life for quite a few years now. Since 2005, I have had a small business called H.O.P.E. Unlimited, with HOPE standing for Helping Other People Excel. I’ve collected items with the word HOPE on them since then, and the word reminds us of a promising future and what we have in Christ.
Although the word is very familiar to me, for 2014 I chose to make it my “one word” for the year. There are two reasons for this. One, I wanted to have a more settled, joyful approach to life. I found myself having difficulty with that in 2013 and have seen improvements in 2014. Second, I am using the letters of the word HOPE to help me remember four areas of focus. I love acronyms!
H – Habits
Good habits are the foundation of a less-stressed, more productive life. For example, in mid-2013, my husband and I began a journey of learning to eat in a more healthy way. Over time, some of this lifestyle has become a habit. We want this to continue. Other habits I’m cultivating deal with my quiet times, task/time management, home management, and goal setting.
O – Opinions
I’m quite active with social media, and am giving thought to how often I should or should not share my opinion, or more importantly, base my decisions on the opinions of others. As a person who craves the approval of others, it is important that I concentrate more on what God is telling me to do and not be so influenced by the desire to be liked.
P – Perspective
I want my perspective this year to be informed by my relationship with God. I am trying to slow down and not worry about the future while still making sensible and reasonable plans. I’m currently in a wilderness season regarding one area of my life, but God has been doing some good work in me during it, using the time to reshape my perspective. I also want to think differently than society on some things, and encourage people to step back and re-think their perspective from time to time as well.
E – Engagement
I’m focusing more on my relationships, taking steps to become more intentional with some of them and also thinking through healthy boundaries. This doesn’t just refer to “in real life” relationships–I’m having to consider the “why” and “how much” of social media as well. And the most important of these relationships is the one I have with Jesus—He is our hope!
So far, this year has been one of more hope, not only in the above areas, but in some meaningful experiences. God has gifted me with some unique opportunities despite the wilderness portion of our lives right now. He is teaching me that hope comes in lots of little gifts and that He is using me to bring hope to others as well.
What signs of hope are you seeing in your life lately?
How is God using you to bring hope to others?