Over the past few months, I’ve been busy interviewing a wonderful group of young women — survivors of human trafficking who have each successfully transitioned out of ‘the life’ and are making positive strides towards a purpose-filled future.
In each of our conversations I asked them not only about their dreams, but what hope means to them and the role it has and continues to play in helping them navigate their own path forward. Their answers varied, though significantly, each of them held steadfast to the belief that their life would not change by waiting passively to be ‘rescued’, but rather, would require a willingness to actively take ownership of their own choices, moment-by-moment, day-by-day.
I have not walked in their shoes, though I admire their courage, resiliency and willingness to be accountable for their own choices and outcomes. As I reflected on our conversations, it got me thinking some more about hope and the role it plays in helping each of us move through times struggle, loss, transition or uncertainty.
The concept of ‘hope’ is often misunderstood and expressed as some platitude or affirmation that is supposed to magically transform our lives. But hope is more than passive, wishful thinking. At it’s core, hope is about possibility thinking — an active way of seeing, being and doing.
It’s understanding that while life can be difficult, filled with trials and tribulations that test us along the way, it is always changing. Where we are today, no matter how challenging the circumstances, will most assuredly be different that where we are tomorrow, next week or next year.
More than passively relying on extrinsic events to change our circumstance, hope is not only moving forward in faith and believing in the possibility for a better outcome when we are in a season of sorrow or difficulty, but having enough courage and confidence in the value of our dreams and vision for the future that we are willing to commit ourselves to doing the intrinsic work necessary to realize a different outcome. Whether from a Christian or secular perspective, it’s faith in action — taking steps to advance ourselves forward, while staying open to new possibilities along the way — an idea that in and of itself, gives me hope!
I’m curious to know…
What does hope mean to you? What is the relationship in your own life between faith and hope? How can taking responsibility for your own choices and outcomes enable you to shift from a mindset of ‘hopelessness’ to hopeful, even under the most difficult of circumstances?