Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hope as an Anchor

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

It's interesting how the (rather cynical) world informs you that to be hopeful is to be carried away by a flimsy wish or fantasy. Someone who is hopeful for something they can't see is naive, childish, and misguided. I think that opinion is inaccurate. This scripture from the Book of Mormon teaches just the opposite: that hope (based on faith) acts as an anchor, rooting a person in solid ground. Though it might sound counterintuitive, I've seen its truth in my own life.

I've experienced distinct periods in my life flavored by either hope or despair, hope's opposite. Despair for me often comes when I've failed myself when I know I'm capable of better. When it's particularly bad or generalizes to more parts of my life, I feel restless, doubtful, unsettled, withdrawn, and dissatisfied, and I go to bed late because I feel unfulfilled, and I tend to ignore regular mealtimes or revert to anxiously nibbling on comfort food. I feel like I've failed, and no matter how much I try, I can't do better - my situation won't change. That's what a lack of hope feels like to me. I'm dragged down by my past, and feel adrift, unstable, and fearful about the future.

The times when I feel like I am truly hopeful are completely different. I feel at peace with myself, that even if things aren't great now, that they'll get better. I feel more confident and trusting now and for the future. I feel more capable and optimistic. I feel stable, or anchored. Those feelings enable me to move forward and live more daringly and securely (odd combination, huh?). Thus, having faith in the present helps me have hope for the future, because I trust that it'll work out, and I'll be ok. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy - by choosing faith, you choose to be hopeful and be happy (and even occasionally excited!), and make it happen.

Most of the time, I feel pretty middle-of-the-road. I have some doubts that come when I make mistakes or face decisions, but I know how to judge between which doubts are important and which are irrelevant. If I have to pick, my heart and spirit want to err on the side of hope, because hope gives me a chance to live, while despair kills the chance before I can take it. Living that way - choosing hope (and love, and faith, its companions) - makes happiness possible and invites it into my life.

Hurray for Hope! Hurray for Love! Hurray for Faith! And Glory to God in the highest! All things are possible through Him.

1 comment:

  1. I think I know what I need to be working on now. Thanks for posting this.