I’m in the process of learning a new skill that is pretty intimidating to me and the woman who’s teaching it to me sent me the above screenshot as we were getting started. She knows me so well. Nope, I don’t like change very much, my living space is something I design as a place of comfort and coziness, and yep I love me a good spa day.
Change is the word of the day though, right? Everything has changed and everything is still changing. First we were instructed to lock ourselves in our homes for months only to later be permitted to protest, riot, and loot in crowds practicing anything but social distancing and self-isolating. It’s a scary world out there and getting scarier by the minute.
It’s also the “new normal” they say, but the “new” seems to become ever more “new” on a daily basis. As spiritual mamma and mentor Susie Davis recently wrote, some days the new normal is fun and some days it’s tiresome. She’s learned along the way that finding a new normal requires comfort in perhaps ways you never realized before and takes heaping doses of patience, curiosity, and courage. It’s not easy to step into something new she explains, and it can be scary to leave behind what you know. But, we will get through this she assures us. I trust her and most of all I trust her faith.
I also have faith and I have hope. I have faith that everything is in God’s hands and I hope that if I do so I will see His hand in everything. But these are trying times and there’s more to hope and faith than that.
Often intertwined but dissimilar, faith and hope are equally powerful and empowering. The dictionary defines faith as “confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not based on proof.” Hope is defined as “an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation or desire.” To simplify, hope is a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen while faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Hope always pertains to the future while faith is all about now. Faith gives our hope substance and hope keeps our faith alive. Some say faith is actually based on hope in that if there’s no hope, there’s no faith. Faith is in your heart and you could say hope is the soil in which we plant our faith.
Then, there’s hope vs. hopefulness, and there is a difference. Much like the difference in what you might read the photo above says. Do you see “God is now here” or “God is nowhere?” Perspective, right. Similarly, “Greater Things Today” suggested reading three statements along the lines of these:
I hope healing will come
I know God will bring healing
God is a healer
All three demonstrate different levels of positivity and trust and the difference between merely being hopeful, possessing hope, and having faith. The first statement is hopeful in that it is filled with wishful thinking but still clouded with doubt and fear. The second statement, although more confident, expresses hope yet still a hint of doubt, especially if you add “but” at the end. The third statement is certain and is faith-filled.
So where am I going with this? Our novel and ever-evolving “new normal” is causing anxiety, fear, and worry but if we have hope and we have faith, some of those scary things can be somewhat reduced if not eliminated altogether. Courtney Carver writes that she sees these unsettled times as a time of “waiting, wondering, and creating” and is taking the time to see things through a new lens and a lens that is not hurried or certain or even exactly as it will be. Maybe a lens filtered with faith and hope and not worry or fear?
Now is not the time to give up hope. Instead, keep hoping for hope and trusting. We are all individually seeing many enemies out there and if you haven’t, just turn on the news or check social media. So much hate. So much disrespect. So much division. But in truth, we ALL have only one enemy and that enemy is enjoying every minute of the discourse and destruction and is laughing out loud. It all comes down to us…you, me, I. And as Life.Church so eloquently said today, the difference between UNITED and UNTIED is simply where you place the I. Where is your I? Is it firmly planted in an “I am right” position or an “I preach hate masked as all-knowing stance?” Are you uniting with your posts and positions or are you untying what little hope there is left?
As we all continue to witness and/or experience current or past unemployment, isolation, hate, vandalism, illness, and even death, I for one will continue to have hope that cooler heads will prevail and that the new normal will be one filled with a true faith that can move mountains. Will you take that first step and climb with me? I’m hopeful.