Hope :: What IS Hope?

It’s a long post, but I hope you’ll stick it out to the end! 💙

So I’ve been naming these blog posts ‘Hope’ for many weeks now, but it only just occurred to me that I’ve never taken the time to actually explain what I believe hope is and how it works. So, my apologies! Here it is!

Hope is the belief that something greater is coming. This could be in reference to something as simple as “I know tomorrow will be better” or “I know 2020 will eventually end… it has to!” It can be as profound as knowing you have an eternal life.

Whatever your hope is, you can look ahead in life knowing that something sometime is going to be better.

Sometimes it’s hard… nearly impossible, really… to find hope anywhere in your life. I get it. I’ve been there plenty of times. What makes it even more difficult is trying to hide your struggles from everyone around you because you don’t want to seem ‘weak’. My friend, I tell you right now: being REAL is 100% opposite ‘weak’. It takes true strength to step up and admit your struggles.

I’ve dealt with this; I’ve been there! I was bullied in elementary school and I was so ashamed that I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone. I dreaded going to school every single day because I knew I was going to always be the outcast. I had no hope.

This hopelessness carried me through high school and right into college. In my freshmen year of college, I began seeing a counselor. I had always had the belief that going to counseling was a waste of time and something to be ashamed of – shouldn’t being a Christian mean I should be able to make it through with no trouble?!

But my advisor suggested that I attend counseling. And I did because it was a free resource on campus. I’m not going to lie and say going to that counselor fixed everything. Quite the opposite, really. This counselor liked to keep the attention on herself and we spent most of my sessions with her telling me about her dogs. Cool. But not helpful in the least.

During my years in college I began attending church and my confidence grew. I had hope. I didn’t really know where it was coming from, but it helped me get through. Though I didn’t have another counselor during college, I had some friends who I could be real and raw with because they were also real and raw with me.

Because of being able to admit to these struggles, we were all able to help one another navigate this messy thing called life.

Then I moved away from my family and began teaching music. I got onto a worship team at my church. I started dating a guy I really liked. I felt during my third year of teaching that I was going to go into full-time ministry.

So I quit teaching at the end of that year. And do you want to know what happened? After a few months, I still didn’t have a job, my previous principal – who I thought was an amazing man who just wanted me to succeed – died of cancer, and right after the funeral service – where I felt lost, alone, and completely wrecked – my boyfriend dumped me. Through a text message. 

So to say that I was hopeless would have been an understatement. I still remember signing up to meet with a counselor and, when explaining why I wanted to meet with a counselor, I realized that I truly hated myself. Like, bone-deep, inside-out hated myself. I had absolutely no hope to speak of.

I began meeting with the counselor. And as I finally admitted things to this counselor, he made me dig deep into everything and for the very first time I could see how all of my troubles from the past were truly running and ruining my life.

Because I realized this, I was able to work through these things with others and was able to find hope for my future.

I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. I won’t tell you it’s completely painless. But I will tell you: it’s worth it!

Find someone you can open up to. Like me. Seriously. If you think you can write your struggles down in an email much better than actually saying the words out loud yet, send your thoughts to me at my email address! You don’t have to live this life on your own.

Let us work together to find hope in a hurting and broken world. And I promise: I won’t shove Jesus down your throat or tell you that you need to go to church. Yes, my hope is found in Jesus. Yes, I know that being in a church has – throughout my life – been a refuge. 

If you ask questions, I will share my beliefs with you. If you’re just looking for someone to share your struggles with, I will help as best I can. You are not alone.

Find me on Facebook and Instagram! Just click the icon. Email me at brittany.d.stonestreet@gmail.com

Remember: you matter.

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