How are you doing this week? As you have navigated a pandemic, balanced family and work responsibilities, and continued to lead prophetically through recurring acts of racism, how are you feeling? How are you doing?
If you are weary of the false promises, disillusioned with artificial relationships, and disheartened with the political bantering and conflicting opinions, you are ready for an encouraging word. As a leader, created to lead for such as time as this, a word of hope would be good.
The Meaning of Hope
As you know, hope means different things to different people. To some, it has religious connotations. To others, it’s a strong feeling that motivates them to do great things. Some people think of hope as wishful thinking where they wish for something but have no control over the outcome. Still, others see hope as a genuine possibility of making dreams reality by reaching goals.
So, what will lift your spirits and keep you looking beyond the obstacles you are facing at the moment? What will keep you believing and expecting that out of today’s darkness, God’s light will shine brightly?
Hope Keeps You Focused
What we know is this, when there is a clear vision and a defined direction, hope is more than wishful thinking. It is the driving force of being able to evaluate the current situation, navigate discouragement, adapt to new realities, and renew the vision of what can and will be. Hope keeps you focused on the direction you are moving in the midst of the challenges.
So, slow down for a moment and get some fresh air. Even hope-filled leaders need a word of hope. I know it will sound strange, but you already know what is needed to move forward. Even though you might feel weary, anxious, and exhausted, you have it within you to lead others through the days we are living.
Even with that in mind, I know that when you are weary, you are more open to doing anything other than what you are doing to get out of the weariness. So, here is what I want you to do:
Keep your eyes on Jesus
- Jesus said, “If you believe in God, you believe in me.” God created you to lead through this time. As much as you want to please people, keep Jesus at the center of your life. Feeling anxious is normal. Following Jesus is transformational.
Trust your instincts
God has put within you the desire to trust God’s leading. You are who you are for a reason. There will be times that you will doubt yourself. Trust who God has created you to be and lead out of who we are.
Be generous with the people you are leading.
Love people the way God, in Jesus, has loved you. People are only trying to live into what they know. You are the leader and you know the mission and goal that is to be accomplished. People trust who and what they know. Give them the benefit of your doubt and love them into the future.
Don’t give up.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” Continue to hold before those entrusted to your care the picture of what’s next. Empower them to look beyond today’s challenges to tomorrow’s answers.
Remember that you are surrounded by those who have gone before you. They are cheering you on. Listen closely when you are weary. You will hear family members, mentors, saints throughout the ages saying, “Don’t give up. Keep going. We are with you! Hang in there! Don’t give up.”
Don’t be afraid to move forward.
You are a leader. You know there will be times of disapproval and pressure to conform. But you also know how to evaluate the current situation, navigate discouragement, adapt to new realities, and renew the vision of what can and will be.
Be the hope-filled leader you feel you need to face the challenges of today.
I know it is easier said than done. But the bottom line, in the midst of your weariness, is not to be afraid. When you are weary it is easier to be motivated by fear and by hope.
Fear prompts you to stay with the status quo. It is easier to stay with what you know rather than what you don’t know. There is a level of fear that is reasonable. But, when you let your fears take control, you often become paralyzed and do nothing.
Hope, on the other hand, gently steers you toward making a difference. By keeping your eyes upon your goal, hope helps you manage your fears. You move from weariness to expectation.
Slow Down for Hope
Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winning historian, writes,
“The opposite of fear is hope, defined as the expectation of good fortune not only for ourselves but for a group to which we belong. Fear feeds anxiety and produces anger; hope breeds optimism and feelings of well-being. Fear is about limits; hope is about growth. Fear casts its eyes warily, even shiftily, across the landscape; hope looks forward, toward the horizon. Fear points at others, assigning blame; hope points ahead, working for a common good. Fear pushes away; hope pulls others closer. Fear divides; hope unifies.”
When you move forward with hope, you:
- Let trust be the basis for your relationships,
- Offer opportunities for improvement,
- Test your assumptions with those entrusted to your care,
- Think more about what you stand for and less about what you oppose,
- Are curious about possibilities.
- Step outside your comfort zone, embrace the risks, and move forward.
Move Forward with Hope
So, slow down for a moment and get some fresh air. Stop what you are doing and read your favorite verse of scripture. Let the God who created you for this time give you a different perspective. Call, text, email a friend or colleague, and let them give you a fresh perspective on your leadership.
Remember, in the midst of weariness, hope is a gift. Don’t throw it away.
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning and as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, in him I will place my hope” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
When you need and want encouragement, Sara Thomas and I (Tim Bias) are available to assist you in the ways you might need it the most. Know how much you are appreciated.
Don’t give up! Move forward with hope. We need you and want you! Don’t give up!