Episode 215: Hope-Filled Relationships

February 1, 2022

As we continue our focus on “Hope Throughout the Year,” this month we’ll be exploring hope and relationships.

Hope and Happiness in 2022

At the end of 2021, Gallup International found that global hope and happiness were decreasing around the world compared to 2020. It appears this is mostly fueled by fears of economic instability and the global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic clearly still impacts the world’s hopes, fears, and expectations.

Here’s what Gallup International found at the end of 2021:

  • 38% of the world’s population now think that 2022 will be better than 2021
  • 28% expect a worse year
  • 27% believe 2022 will be the same as 2021.  

Characteristics of Hope-Filled Relationships

As you consider your relationships with friends, acquaintances, relatives, and neighbors, it seems that 4/10 people are looking forward to 2022 with hope. We started to wonder, what are the characteristics of relationships filled with hope?

Here’s the reality. No two relationships are the same. Here are a few characteristics that began to emerge as we explored scripture and reflected on relationships filled with hope:

  • Commitment
  • Anticipation
  • Celebration
  • Presence

As you reflect on those characteristics and listen to Episode 215, consider who in scripture embodies hope-filled relationships.

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 215 unedited transcript. Please disregard any errors or omissions.


[00:00:00] Sara: Welcome to leader cast episode 215.

[00:00:04] you're listening to leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim Bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous Christ-centered leaders

[00:00:23] Tim: Well, we're now in February and we're looking at hope in relationships. So as we continue this journey of hope throughout the year, the focus of hope and relationships. I just want you to notice that I didn't say hope from relationship. Now while that might, , happen. Relationships are only possible when two or more people are committed to that relationship.

[00:00:51] So today we want to talk about four characteristics of hope, filled relationships, and look at a couple of examples from scripture.

[00:01:01] Sara: So before we do, let me remind you that you can find show notes for this episode, along with a link to learn more about hope throughout the year@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 5. So Tim, can we back up so that we can move forward?

[00:01:18] Tim: I was getting ready to say, Sara, why don't we back up so we can move forward.

[00:01:24] Sara: So at the end of 2021 Gallop found that global hope and happiness or decreasing around the world compared to 2020. Now, just stop and think about that for a second, 20, 21 hope and happiness around the world, decrease compared to 2020. And part of what they attribute that to is fears of upcoming economic difficulties remaining very high and are steadily growing.

[00:01:54] And the global pandemic still impacts the world's hopes, fears, and expectations. So here's what. As 2021 drew to a close, they still found that yes, there is hope for a brighter future around the world, but it's not reaching high levels as high of levels. As it measured some years ago, 38% of the world's population.

[00:02:21] Now think that 2022 will be better than 2021 38%. Of the world's population. Think that 2022 will be better than 2021.

[00:02:36] Tim: That's considerably less than half.

[00:02:40] Sara: Yes.

[00:02:41] Tim: Okay.

[00:02:42] Sara: Now I wish that what I was going to share next was a little bit more hope filled, but it's not 28% expect a worse year. So we're now at almost 70% of people, either think 20, 22 is going to be worse or than 2021, or they're anticipating this year is just going to be a bad year 27% believe that 2022 will be the same as 2021. Here's what probably won't surprise you. If you were to look at the hope and happiness scale since 2000, 2008 still remains the year with the largest pessimism around the world. Since 2000. Now we all could guess the number of reasons why that happened. That was when the economy went into recession.

[00:03:46] There were people losing jobs, foreclosures on home, the housing market on and on and on. We go. So as we think about that in relationship to Christ centered leaders, let's just say it this way for the sake of conversation today, only four in 10 people have a hopeful outlook to 2021. And what I want to say is surround yourself with one of those four people, because the reality is six and 10.

[00:04:20] Are expecting that 20, 22, they're going to be less hopeful and less happy. And so as leaders think about that in the context of the people that you lead,

[00:04:33] Tim: so Sara, what I'm hearing is that as leaders, we're surrounded by. People who see the, the hope for the future and lots of different ways yet we're still the people who give them direction and lead them in places of hope. And that's why we're having these conversations. We can't give up on the six out of 10 that aren't field and only stay with the four.

[00:05:02] But, but we do need to be able to understand that six out of 10 people that we're dealing with or responsible for, or entrusted to our care are people who especially need us with compassion need our compassion and trust and, and stability

[00:05:23] Sara: yeah. And, and the reality is Tim, when I think of. The people that we lead. And let's just for the sake of argument, say 200 people. The reality is, is some of our leaders are in that six to 10.

[00:05:41] Tim: Yes, that's true.

[00:05:45] Sara: And so Tim and I are not psychologists. We are not therapists. We are, but that's, that is not our role. But if you do find yourself in that place as a leader what I would say is seek out those professionals to help you because as a leader, If we're not finding and leading from hope, and we'll say this again, as we move through this being hopeful doesn't mean that you don't get discouraged being hopeful doesn't mean that you don't have bad days, but if you are consistently finding yourself, not seeing the possibilities of ways forward, that it is all gloom and doom, it's likely that you need someone to come alongside.

[00:06:30] Tim: Come alongside you, not only to listen to you, but also remind you. That your hope is actually anchored in a person by the name of Jesus and not in institutions and not in situations and circumstances around the world, but, but in a God who has offered us hope and in through Jesus,

[00:06:54] Sara: And thank you, Tim bias for the S that statement of the obvious, that is so easy to forget. And, and that's why, that's why we're having this conversation. So how about we talk about the people. We are in relationship with, from family and friends, to people who provide services to a congregation, to a small group friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, and Tim, you already said it.

[00:07:24] Your relationship with Jesus,

[00:07:27] Tim: So Sara, I guess it begs the question then that are those relationships four and 10 or six and 10, are they hope-filled or not so much hope field. So as we began to explore the big idea of hope filled relationships, that really brings up some. Some things to think about. So we might start to wonder what are the characteristics of relationships filled was hope.

[00:07:57] Are those characteristics, are they, are people optimist or are they realist? Are they people who know know you well or people who know you on a specific role? I think that's a big one. Are they on your favorite list, your speed dial, or are they people who emerge in different seasons and how do you relate to them?

[00:08:23] What do you do with them? How do you communicate? Collaborate care, celebrate, correct. Calm contain, create, continue to grow.

[00:08:41] Sara: So here's the reality, Tim, there's no two relationships that are the same. Right. And so you're bringing up some great questions about hope, relationships and what, what do they look like? And so we landed on four specific characteristics. That we saw in hope-filled relationships. The first one is commitment.

[00:09:12] There's a constancy.

[00:09:14] You've made a commitment and, okay. So here's the obvious one. When we talk about commitment, marriage, now we all know cases where marriages end, but they end for very specific reasons. Guess what? Usually, because there's a breach in that, that commitment, the covenant that has been made. So commitment is the first characteristic.

[00:09:37] What's the second one.

[00:09:39] Tim: It's anticipation. It's it's looking forward.

[00:09:46] Sara: And the third one is celebration. These are the people who celebrate the small and large things in your life, or the people who celebrate you, who celebrate the things that you're a part of who care care for you and care about you.

[00:10:00] Tim: And then there's also presence that you actually are. I, I guess definition shouldn't use the same word, but you're actually present with people. It's not just a. It's just not a theory. You're not just talking the talk, but you're actually walking the walk. And when I am with those characteristics, Sara, though, one of the things that comes to mind is that I've heard people when there's been a crisis in someone's life and a friend shows up whether it's a death or whether it's an accident, something and a friend shows up and they saw, I just didn't think that you'd be there and said, but that's what friends.

[00:10:35] Yeah, I think we've all heard that, or we've all experienced. It we've all been the friend or been the recipient recipient of the friend. But th these are the characteristics that, that define that kind of relationship.

[00:10:50] Sara: Yeah. And, and I think the other thing that came to mind, as you were saying that Tim is. It's those relationships that are filled with hope that in those moments where there aren't words, or you don't know what words to say, you're simply there. And after all is said and done the person that you showed up for ends up saying something along the lines of, you know what I know you didn't know what to say, but the most important thing to me was that you were simply.

[00:11:24] Tim: Right.

[00:11:25] Sara: And so just being present

[00:11:27] Tim: And then I jumped off of that, but here's another one and that is one of the things that means a lot to me and I, it, it, and it's different than if you need me, call me is that I know someone who says, you know, where to find me There's an invitation in that more than if you need me call me.

[00:11:48] Sara: Yeah.

[00:11:48] Tim: so I I've always appreciated that in terms of a relationship.

[00:11:54] Sara: Yeah.

[00:11:55] Tim: Sara, who in scripture models, some of those four characteristics you you've given some thought to that.

[00:12:03] Sara: Yeah. And all I keep thinking about is the birth of Jesus. And I know we're not an advent or Christmas, but as I think about the biblical arc and the people in scripture, Mary and Joseph are two people. To me embody those four characteristics in beautiful ways. When I think about commitment, I think about not only their commitment to each other, but their commitment to God and their commitment to seeing that Jesus is born.

[00:12:42] You might even say that they were committed to country or to the empire. I mean after all Jesus was born, as they were traveling to for a census anticipation, I mean, just look at Mary's song. A recognition of what was being asked of her and the anticipation of. What is coming, not only through the birth, but through Jesus's life because of who, who he was.

[00:13:17] And we don't hear an awful lot about from Joseph about what he might've been anticipating. But if he wasn't anticipating what was, what was ahead, we probably wouldn't have, and I'm gonna totally butcher this in the Thomas translation. But the line, where he didn't, divorce her.

[00:13:39] I mean, he considered it, there was, there was anticipation in, in that, of what, what is this relationship going to bring about? If I do see this through and he continued, he continued down the path that Maybe the path of honor is what's the word I'm looking for? Not on honor.

[00:13:58] Tim: Respect.

[00:13:59] Sara: path of respect, or let's go back to the first characteristic, a path of commitment. That was, that was all a part of it. Celebration. Yeah. Hello, savior of the world's born birth of Jesus. They were, they were celebrating and they stayed with one another. They stayed by one another. Now I realize, as I'm saying all of that, and this is going to sound a bit silly.

[00:14:27] You might be thinking it too. Maybe if you're pregnant with the savior of the world and you're engaged to the woman, who's pregnant with the savior of the world, there's some divine intervention going on in orchestrating that hope filled relationships, but really we want to bring up the people in scripture to help you to think about the relationships in your life and how they are hope filled.

[00:14:55] Tim I've gone. I've taken us back a month into advent and Christmas. Thinking about Mary and Joseph and how they embody those four characteristics who comes to mind for you.

[00:15:10] Tim: Sara. This is a, it's kind of complicated, but the apostle Paul comes to mind.

[00:15:17] Sara: Oh yeah. So what, what relationships are you. Are you thinking of with Paul? Because he was all over the place.

[00:15:25] Tim: Well, that's, that's true. And, and maybe well, I won't say that. I I'm just saying it's complicated because Paul has a relationship with Barnabas silo. Mark Simon, Peter. And there is a commitment at times until things don't go his way. There is an anticipation with a mission because they're all working for the same thing.

[00:15:49] They just can't agree on. Now what's going to happen. And Paul does celebrate. I mean, he does say rejoice in the Lord, always.

[00:15:59] Sara: Yes, he does.

[00:16:01] Tim: So, I guess maybe I'm taking a poll as being more of a local church,

[00:16:09] Sara: And presence. He he's present with the people when, when he's in a certain place, but he didn't stay in one place.

[00:16:18] Tim: but he writes some letters. He continues to try to stay in relationship with them. And, and if I may say it this way, this is it's not the best way to say it, but he also wears the stripes for all these people. He takes beatings for him and, and he stands in their place at times. He actually I think he actually lives out, put, he talks about, he becomes Christ.

[00:16:46] Sara: Yeah. And, and so maybe as we look at these four characteristics, what both of us pointed to Tim is the commitment to God. Is what guides that hope the commitment to being faithful to God then gets lived out in relationship with the people that, that you are surrounded by. So what does that mean as a crate for you as a Christ.

[00:17:21] centered leader?

[00:17:23] What does it mean to. Try and model and embody hope filled relationships.

[00:17:34] Tim: Well, you've already mentioned when you mentioned presence showing up and showing you care that you notice, but it isn't. I think when words can't be spoken, but yet you're there. And, and you mentioned that earlier. I just think that's a a real important thing to understand that not only who we are in a position, whether it's pastor leader of some kind, but just who we are as human beings.

[00:18:07] That we show up for each other and we're there. That's what I, that's what it would mean to me as a Christ centered leader with presence.

[00:18:17] Sara: And then commitment again, just we're going to sound repetitive, but I'll say it again, your commitment to God, commitment to your, the purpose that, that you have as a leader, not just to your role, but the overall purpose of the organization or team that, that you were, are leading and. Commitment to I'm going to jump to another one here, commitment to anticipating what, what is ahead that if as leaders we're going to lead, that has to be a part of, of what we're doing.

[00:18:58] And we'll get to that one in, in just a little bit. Yeah.

[00:19:05] Tim: So one of these that one of the characteristics that probably doesn't show up and all of my relationships is celebrating. I'm celebrating a God who calls equips and empowers. But there's and, and that might be Sara, where, where you and I have talked about, where did you see God today? The big celebration comes by being able to, to recognize that we're in God's presence 24 7, but, but being able to identify that presence is really a celebration.

[00:19:40] Sara: Yeah. And I think the other part of that one, Tim, as a leader is where I thought you were going to go with celebrating the God who calls equips and empowers was being able to see as a leader, the gifts and graces in other. And calling those forth and people and celebrating, celebrating how God has gifted other people.

[00:20:04] And at the same time, Also celebrating the fact that you don't have to have all those gifts and graces because you've got a group of people that are around you that can come together to form that body and, and do the things that you're not gifted to do. You don't have to, you don't have to do it all.

[00:20:23] And the, the uncertainty we haven't experienced any of that in the past two years, Sara says very sarcastically. That it is God who is empowering us for the work that we are called to do. And, and keeping that you said this, I'm just saying it in a different way, keeping that at the forefront of our minds as leaders, how important that is.

[00:20:56] You know, on the days that you are feeling discouraged or you're thinking okay, that can't happen now because of X. That I think a couple of weeks ago, we, we had a podcast that it was something along the lines of the image was something along the lines. Yeah. You've got this because God's got you like, it's you don't, you are not alone in this.

[00:21:20] And celebrating that and remembering that every day, sometimes every hour, sometimes every minute when you're in the midst of those, those difficult seasons. And so Tim, we're talking an awful lot about how a leader and I'm going to say it this way, how a leader has to prepare their own. To be in hope-filled relationships that it's not, you know, you're not depending on other people to, to bring that hope, but you're centering your heart and your soul on Jesus so that you can experience that hope and be in relationship with us.

[00:22:02] Tim: I was thinking about celebration. And with you talking about the gifts, the graces strengths of other people, that is a true celebration for me, when I can be surrounded by people who can do things I can't do. And, and, and they can be set free to do that. I can then celebrate God's gifts and their lives as they help me become more who I'm to be as a leader.

[00:22:27] Sara: So, are you taking back your statement that you don't celebrate? See, that's exactly what I was trying to get you to do. Cause I'm like, oh yes, you do. You celebrate people all the time. No, it's not the route. If you thought what we were going to talk about is the raw pom-poms celebration. No, some people have that personality and that might be how they celebrate.

[00:22:52] Other people celebrate people in other ways.

[00:22:56] as a Christ centered leader, anticipation, think about it in this way. It's the ability to see far enough ahead about what needs to get done to help prepare people, equip people, empower people. To do the work, to be engaged, to take ownership over what, what is happening. And I don't know who said this, but there's a quote that reads, hope, implies trust in the future.

[00:23:27] And, and so if you're leading folks to trust in the future, Being able to see far enough ahead offers stability for the people around you. And, and that's part of what helps to bring hope. Even when the world is out of whack and nothing seems stable, those small things that we can do as leaders to help folks experience both hope and, and stability.

[00:23:57] And as I say that, I'll probably cut this out, but our conversation last week, Tim, about the cycles of re-inventing and, and so part of what the research has shown is that organizations up until 1989 reinvented themselves every 76 years. I think it was 76, maybe it was 78 and then starting in 1989, it went down to 26 or 28.

[00:24:29] But in 2020, it went all the way down to organizations reinventing themselves every six years. The reality of that is we reinvent ourselves as we're on the rise towards peak towards the peak. And so if you think of a six year cycle, it's likely that you're going to hit that peak.

[00:24:55] About year three. So really what is happening is every three years you're having to reinvent yourselves. And, and this was all in the context of continued growth and, and adapting to changing, changing environments. So as a leader, when we think about anticipation, being able to see what is changing in the world and, and how, how does that impact.

[00:25:24] What you were trying to do, and the purpose that God has given you in terms of your leadership,

[00:25:29] Tim: I think all that's very good because it talks about it points to adaptive leadership and, and more than any time in our history, we need to be flexible able to move to, to pivot. All of those things are part of a of adaptively. So anticipation would be one of those characteristics.

[00:25:54] Sara: Yeah. And I think in that there's also a piece of it is of anticipating that you're going to try some things and they aren't going to work. And being able to try things, recognize that they're not working and then pivoting again and not quitting from the fact that, oh, that didn't work the first time. So we're not gonna do.

[00:26:19] No. What did you learn in that? That's, that's where I think the hope comes from in, in relationships. And now I'm thinking about relationships between parents and children, that, and we'll take a really simple example here of learning to ride a bike or learning to walk. There's not a parent on the face of this earth that claims that the title parent who.

[00:26:47] After their child falls on their face after trying to stand up for the first time says, okay, don't, you know, don't ever try and walk you're you're okay. No, you encouraged them. Same thing with, with riding a bike. And yet as adults, somehow we think that we're going to have it all figured out that very first time when we're trying to do something and, and what happens innately in us as, as children.

[00:27:15] We recognize. Okay, we've got to try again. We've got to get up again and we're not saying to ourselves, what did we learn? But our body is saying, okay, what did you get? Right. And then you, when you get your legs going around the bicycle in a certain pattern, and you realize what you need to do to keep it going, guess what you keep doing that.

[00:27:37] And that's what as leaders. We need to be reminded of and anticipate that it's not all going to go swimmingly the first time around and it's okay.

[00:27:52] Tim: So you've in my mind, what I'm thinking is Jesus saying, unless you come as a child I have the faith of a child. And what you're talking about is you fall down, you get back up to it again, you, you keep, keep moving with the bike. You don't stop. It is not part of the agenda to say we tried that once and it did not work.

[00:28:16] Jesus says have the faith of a child get up and do it again. If you're moving toward the mission, keep going. Don't stop.

[00:28:26] Sara: So maybe the question in those conversations when someone says, well, we tried that once and it didn't work maybe a way as a leader to reframe, reframe it in terms of hope is to ask the question, what did we learn and what can we do differently?

[00:28:48] Tim: That's the difference between you and me? You're helping us move forward. I just sit there and say, don't stop.

[00:28:59] Sara: Keep going any hopeful thoughts from Tim by his and.

[00:29:07] Tim: Well,

[00:29:08] Sara: this podcast setting up hope, filled relationships.

[00:29:12] Tim: see if I can redeem myself. Several of the things that we've talked about today, I'll go back to say, I've said over and over and over on these podcasts. Boy, I wish I'd known this a long time ago. I think ministry would have been different for me, at least. In my mind, it I would have been more effective.

[00:29:31] Yeah. The other thing I'm thinking about Sara, and I know that we're going to talk more about, we've talked about it in past episodes and I'm sure we'll do it with with some in the future, is that hope and relationships really comes back again to that hope cycle. There are, there are commitments that we make to one another, but we're also anticipating that that future that we have.

[00:29:59] And we start where we are and we move toward that future. And there's, there's, there's a time in the midst of that with our conversations today, there are times in the midst of that, that we're negotiating or navigating the barriers that are. There's celebration when you're able to get around those barriers to get closer to the, to the, to the, to the goal.

[00:30:24] You don't stop in the middle and say, well, we've tried that before. We, we can't do that now. It's what did we learn? And what's the next step that goes with that. You're bringing people along with you who are going to stumble and. It's not a matter of saying, well, I guess that's that's there tough luck.

[00:30:45] It's a matter of coming alongside them and helping them get to the next place. So we all get to the end. I mean, that's, that's, that's what it is. I, I was thinking of when I think about the hope cycle, I think about relationships. I was thinking about a story that I heard a long time ago, and then I saw it with my own eyes.

[00:31:06] And it was in special Olympics. It's in a 50 yard dash. And it's with children with down syndrome and, you know, get on your mark, get set, go. And they're all gonna run 50 yards. And one of the little boys falls when he starts the rest of them.

[00:31:30] They come back to the little boy, help him up. And then they all run together to the finish line.

[00:31:43] It's tough for us in our world when we see things as competition and we even make our relationships competitor. And what we've talked about today is that the real hope we have in the world is being in relationship with the people around us. There are times they're going to stop and help us back to our feet.

[00:32:07] There are times that we do that for them, but as leaders, that's what we have to stay focused on. And we started this whole thing with out of 10 people believe the future has hope. I'm six out of 10 don't, but we've ended the podcast with hope, implies trust in the future. And we're the ones that bring that hope to reality as the leaders of the people entrusted to our care.

[00:32:40] Sara: So as you think about. The people in your life that you are in relationship with and all of the varied relationships, maybe there is one person that as you've listened to this episode, you're thinking, you know, I'd love to have a conversation with them about those four characteristics about what does commitment look like and the season of our relationship what's anticipation.

[00:33:07] What are we anticipating? What are we celebrating and how can we best celebrate one another or the team that you are leading and how can you be present to one another? You can find a way to share this episode along with all of the things, including the statistics that we talked about at the beginning of this podcast, over on the show notesPage@transformingmission.org forward slash 2 1 5.

[00:33:36] And. Who you are, is how you lead bye for now.