Hope isn’t always an easy thing, and it doesn’t always feel very natural.  But I’m learning that hope is more than a feeling (more than a feeeeeelingg…) – it’s a choice, a deliberate commitment, like exercise, or saving your money instead of spending it.  It’s the wiser, healthier decision – the one that will bring the biggest payoff, even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Recently, I’ve experienced discouragement and disappointment and hurt – to the point that I’ve stopped hoping for anything, because hoping hasn’t felt easy.  I’ve snuggled up with loneliness, curled my back to hopelessness, and taken comfort in the company of emptiness because it’s what has felt most real.  Hope hasn’t felt real – it’s felt imaginary, like playing pretend, like inventing some mythical creature and expecting it to materialize in front of me.

But the rejection of hope is actually to my detriment.  It makes me an ugly person, a bitter person, one with walls and suspicions and frown lines.  And moreover, as a Christian, I am called to hope, commanded to hope, even when it feels dangerous because of the possibility of pain and disappointment.

It might get cold, and all of our leaves may fall off, and our branches may crack – but hope is trusting that our roots will hold, and spring is going to come, and something is going to bloom again.

It’s just that what blooms might not be what we’re expecting.



  1. Darcie on December 6, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    This is the blog I needed to read today. Thanks Annie….I hope you know you’re not alone on the ‘trying to hold onto hope’ journey. :)

  2. Carmen Goetschius on December 6, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Amen, sista. Amen. Here’s hoping for some surprises, sooner than later, darlin.

  3. Nick on December 6, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    I’ve had a similar relationship with hope for a few years now. You’ve nailed it. I will quibble just a bit though.

    I still say hope isn’t a choice. Planning is a choice, but not hope. Letting yourself want something comes first, I suppose. Something will happen if you plan, but — as you said — maybe not what you expect.

    You can choose to accommodate, admit, invite, and finally foster hope in your life. Then it will grow from within you; it will bloom.

    I’m overwhelmingly confident that you have this gift in yourself, if you’ll intend it.

  4. Lan on December 6, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    can i just confess that i used to live by the henry rollins quote Hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated.

    how completely depressing and lonely to think that way! it has not been a good time for me these past months either, and i shudder to think of what is coming this winter, but i now live with some mad hope (words i actually had INKED on me recently!) inside of me and that is what gets me thru the days.

    have faith.

  5. kendall on December 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    where’s the “like” button, dammit! Oh wait… I guess I just did:)

  6. Whitney on December 6, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    This is perfect. I just wrote an e-mail to a friend that was talking about weird, dark times, and sometimes not knowing until much later what that was all about. And this might have been the perfect bit of whip cream to top off the thought. Just the sort of sweetness you have to remember.


  7. Jon Griffith on December 6, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Hey, look at it this way…frown marks are evidence that some of your facial muscles are in good working condition! That’s a positive thing…

    …right? Boy, I hope so.

  8. Katie on December 6, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    So wise and so true, Annie. Do you know “Every Season” by Nichole Nordeman? I’m thinking of the last lines when spring breaks through, and He makes all things new again. Gorgeous, and deep-down-in-your-soul true.

  9. Ali Einfeld on December 6, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    “the thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices”

    …a promise i often cling to in anticipation!

  10. Ginger Morby on December 7, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    IF thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,
    Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,
    Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content:–
    The stars pre-eminent in magnitude,
    And they that from the zenith dart their beams,
    (Visible though they be to half the earth,
    Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness)
    Are yet of no diviner origin,
    No purer essence, than the one that burns,
    Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge
    Of some dark mountain; or than those which seem
    Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps,
    Among the branches of the leafless trees.
    All are the undying offspring of one Sire:
    Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed,
    Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.
    – William Wordsworth

    Shine on, Hopeful Annie!

  11. Jan on December 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Some words that filled me with hope recently:

    Life breaks and falls apart,
    but we know these are. . .
    Places where grace is soon to be so amazing.
    They maybe unfulfilled.
    They may be unrestored.
    But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord,
    Just watch and see, it will not be Unredeemed.
    (from Unredeemed by Selah)

  12. grandma on December 10, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    HOPE!! It is vital. I learned with grandpa how losing it lost all meaning to life. And when God regained it for me was rebirth. Go Girl! I love you.

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