Why hope matters in a time of crisis.

These are uncertain and difficult times. The numbers do not lie. As at the time of writing this article, over 33,000 have died from the Corona Virus in the United States alone. Worldwide, the number of lives claimed by this killer virus has surpassed 300,000.

So many have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses and almost all parts of the economy have shut down to stem the spread of the virus.

Listening to the news and hearing stories of friends and loved ones that have lost a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle… make it all seem like a never-ending nightmare. These are truly rough and tumultuous times.

If you have lost loved ones to this terrible pandemic, I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine the level of pain.

If you have lost your job and are just weighed down with anxiety not knowing what will happen in the near future, I am sorry. I too know what it is like to go from 2 incomes to 1 source of income that could barely cover living expenses. I can still remember the heaviness and anxiety that followed, after I lost my job during the 2008 recession shortly after we purchased our first home.

If you have lost your business. I sympathize with you. As a business owner myself, I understand the amount of sacrifice, hardwork and sleepless nights growing a business require.

Sooner than later this pandemic will come to an end. Time will cause the sharpness of the grief (from losing of your loved one(s) ) to recede and life will continue …well until the next big event happens… because life always does what it does best, it happens!

 In the midst of turmoil, hardship and uncertainty, HOPE whispers…this is not going to last forever, better days are ahead.

No matter how long the storm, it will eventually give way to sunshine. Just as how no matter how long and brutal Winter is, it eventually gives way to Spring.

This pandemic will eventually come to an end. A new and better chapter and season of your life is just around the corner. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

In the midst of all of the turmoil and pain and uncertainty, hope matters. Giving in to despair is like saying there is no reason to continue being here. You being alive at this particular time in history is not coincidental. You still have a purpose to fulfill and lots for you to do. So don’t you dare give up now.

“Hope does not deny the facts of the situation. It accepts the current feelings the situation produces and still determines to push through till it gets to the other better side” Yinka Adegbenle

Sometimes hope looks so bleak in a given situation that it appears non-existent, yet it is so vital for survival.  Everyone who has survived a life threatening ordeal- that on the surface looked impossible- will point to hope as the one thing that got them through. 

Hope is necessary because life happens to all of us. You need hope to get you through the difficult seasons of life. After crying, grieving, taking the necessary time to heal, then there is time to move on with life.

There is a time for everything. There’s a time for everything that is done on earth” Ecc. 3:1 NIRV

Hope is what gives you the strength to move on, strategize and come up with a plan B after the failure of Plan A. It helps you to do what is needed after the storm.

According to Psychology Today, hope is not just a feel-good emotion, but a dynamic cognitive motivational system. Under this conceptualization of hope, emotions follow cognitions, not the other way round.

Hope is needed to help you see and understand that you can still have the kind of future you want in spite of the roadblocks along the way. You will be hard pressed to read the story of a successful individual who has not gone through hardship and have had to overcome adversity to get to where they are today.

I love reading biographies of successful individuals, especially those that have been through very difficult circumstances. Most had moments when they just wanted to quit and they questioned if it was even all worth it.

At times, the pain from the loss was so intense that they could barely move or think.  But somehow, they made it through and lived to tell us their stories so we too can be encouraged and learn from their life stories.

It is during those hard times, when you just want to give up completely that you need to keep hope alive.

Hope plays a great role in getting you to that better other side.Here are a few additional reasons why you should keep hope alive in tough times:Hope helps to lift the blinding fog of despair and fear. In the midst of difficulty, when it looks and feels as though you cannot see past the blank wall in front of you, hope is what causes the fog to lift and increases your ability to identify your options and take the next best step available to you at that moment.

A Living Dog is better than a dead lion  – This verse from Ecclesiastes 9:4 speaks volumes on hope. We know that a lion symbolizes honor (king of the jungle) and power.

However, a person who is still joined to the living is in a far better position than the dead. The living person can still do a lot of things that the dead can no longer do. The dead can no longer do any of the things they wished they had done while alive, or wanted to do.

3. The real you is revealed in times of difficulty. Anyone can say a lot and naturally have a lot of motivation to do much when the going is good, when the lines have fallen into pleasant places.

But show me a person that CHOOSES to still rise above unimaginable circumstances. That’s a person with HOPE. That person determined to not let the current situation get the best of him/her.

If you falter under pressure, you have the need of Hope. Proverbs 24:10.

It is especially at such times that you need hope to lift you above your current dire circumstances.

4. We grow in tough times. It is during the tough times that gaps in our growth process are revealed. No one grows much when they are on the mountain top of life, when everything is going according to plan, when life is good. We develop our character in tough times. Hope allows us to see those gaps and do the needful.

5. Opportunities abound in tough times. Hard to believe but its true. Hope allows you to recognize them and seize them. It is hard to see any opportunities when you have resigned yourself to a state of hopelessness and despair.

6. Hope gives you the much needed encouragement and strength in tough times. Fear, despair, panic, anxiety, depression and hopelessness all suck the life out of us literally. Hope produces the strength and hope we need in times of crisis.

6. The ripple effects of hope. They are indeed many: optimism, new strength, the new world of possibilities that open up to you when you choose to give hope a chance. Hope helps you to move forward in a time of crisis. Hope lets you fan the flames of courage into life.

“A shift in perspective, how we view things affect how we do things”  – John Maxwell.

7. Hope fuels Creativity and Innovation  – You need hope to even believe in the slightest that your idea can change the world. Without hope you will not even think about pursuing your ideas. They will continue to lie dormant in your mind and heart until they eventually die.

8. Even Faith requires hope – To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. Heb 11:1 GNT.

The two go hand in hand. You cannot have faith if you do not have hope. I cannot say I have faith in a God that I have not seen, if I don’t have no hope that all of His promises in the bible will come to pass.

Keep Hope Alive; Better Days are Ahead.

So how exactly do we develop hope in times of crisis? A lot of the strategies listed below are simple but very effective.

1. Read stories of other people that have overcome adversity: Hopelessness causes us to focus on only the current situation and nothing else. Reading or even listening to stories of others that have made it through times of crisis, learning about the survival strategies they adopted during times of difficulties and applying the strategies to our current situation can make a world of difference.

2. Move:  As simple and mundane as this sounds, it works wonders. Usually when we feel at our lowest, the last thing we want to do is move.  Going for a walk outside, the change of scenery and inhales…the fresh air can be very therapeutic indeed. I love going for long walks outdoors. I have received so many great ideas from my morning walks/jogs.

The release of the happy hormones: endorphins and dopamine also help to lift my mood and spirit. That much needed oomph can help to pull you out of a pit of despair and hopelessness.

3. Be mindful of what you watch and listen to in times of crisis: It is good to watch or listen to the news. We all need to be fully informed on what is going on especially now. However, spending all day watching the news will do nothing but pull you deeper into a pit of hopelessness and despair. Why? a lot of the news is sensationalized news. It is what sells.

Some news channels exaggerate and present views different from reality to hook you. This is not only unhealthy but will not serve you well in a time of crisis. I watch at most 30 minutes of the news daily and I am very selective of channels and stations I listen to. I get the necessary facts and move on.

During the 2008 crisis I did not know any better then. Plus I had just lost my job and did not have much else to do or so I thought. I would spend hours listening to the news about how the recession was the greatest of all time. It was one story of doom after the other. I was unable to see beyond what the newscasters were saying. Listening to that much negative news caused more harm than good.

I am thankful for growth because now I that I know better I choose to do better.

4. Feed your faith and starve your fears – The dominant emotion always wins. Feed the dominant emotion consistently and it will win in times of crisis.

We develop hope by getting rid of fear and  growing our faith. For me growing my faith means spending time reading, studying, meditating on God’s word and promises in the bible.

I was surprised as how calm and collected I was at the onset of this pandemic. It was a night and day difference compared to 2008. I had taken time over the years to build my faith. I had also applied the necessary lessons gained from then.

Of course I am still operating out of an abundance of caution during this crisis and taking all necessary precautions. Doing otherwise will be foolish. This virus is deadly. But I am not walking around filled with fear and laden with panic.

5. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or get professional help: If after trying all of the aforementioned, you still find yourself in need of help, talk to a trusted friend or a professional.

There is absolutely no shame in that. Realizing you need help, and reaching out to get the help you need is wise and will put you steps ahead in the right direction.

Hope allows you to make traction even in times of difficulty. It opens you up to possibilities. Fear shuts you down. The issues are magnified and you cannot see beyond now. Fear leads to pessimism and hopelessness, and you take it out on everybody especially those closest to you.

Hope is the not-so-easy choice to make in a time of crisis. But’s it it’s the better choice to make in a time of crisis. Yinka Adegbenle

In times of crisis there are many opportunities and the chances for  growth are plentiful. Hope will let you see them. With hope, you are better equipped to face your NOW and prepare for the future. This is because hope allows us to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success.

During the 2008 recession, I was heavily pregnant, without a job and we had just purchased our house. It all looked very bleak then. It was during those tough times that my husband and I decided that we could not trust our future and financial stability to a job or salary. It was during those tough days that we decided to become better stewards of our finances.

The recession of 2008 was a particularly tough time for my family. But we chose to keep hope alive and knew deep down then that things would get better.

Hope allowed us to see the lessons clouded in those tough times. We heeded those lessons and did the necessary work. Those lessons put us in a far better position when this current crisis hit.

A lot of what I have discussed in this article can be applied now and even after you get out of this crisis, and YES YOU WILL!

Be sure to get your affairs in order before the next crisis hits. This way you will be better prepared to weather the storm. Get your financial house in order as soon as you are able to: Get out of debt, live within your means.

Do what is within your control and leave the rest to God. We cannot control or determine when the next crisis occurs, but we can be better prepared to weather the storm when it does come. Keep hope alive, you have a bright ahead of you.