When You Don’t Get What You Were Hoping For
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Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Have you ever hoped for something and faithfully believed that God would bring it about? But the months and years passed, and the object of your hope began to slip away. Every time you tried to renew your hope, it would be dashed as you saw someone else, yet again, obtain that thing you desired while you were left empty-handed. You were left feeling hopeless.
I’m willing to bet every single person on the planet has had this experience. And even if you’re extremely resilient, when hope is deferred for long enough, the heart gets sick.
Maybe it’s the lack of a loving partner, a house full of children, that dream job, a higher paying salary so you can pay the bills, close friends or good health. Whatever it happens to be, you’ve prayed for it, worked for it, desired it, and it hasn’t materialized.
What do we do when we’re feeling hopeless?
It would be easy to give the typical Christian answer, “Just put your hope in God and believe He is good.” But in my experience leading an inner healing prayer ministry, this simple statement often misses the pain and struggle an individual is experiencing. While I highly recommend looking to God’s word for hope, if you are a dedicated follower of Christ, you’ve likely tried renewing your hope by meditating on the fact that God is good and that He’s the one who fulfills us.
When you’re truly feeling hopeless, or even depressed about your life circumstances, you may believe that God has abandoned you or that He’s withholding good things from you. While I don’t claim that these few practices will alleviate your hopelessness completely, I have found them to be helpful in reframing the circumstances.
- Start with a little self-compassion. It’s quite common for negative feelings to beget more negative feelings. This cycle only serves to increase hopelessness and depression. Even if it’s one simple thought or belief, try offering yourself a bit of love and compassion in the midst of your struggle.
- Imagine how a best friend or family member would comfort you. We’re often harder on ourselves than others would be. It’s likely that your best friend has experienced something similar and would have words of empathy and kindness for your situation.
- Name a few things you’re grateful for. Life is not dualistic. You can hold feelings of sadness and grief while acknowledging goodness and positivity. A practice of gratitude, especially in seasons where hope is lacking, can help balance the emotional extremes you may be feeling.
- Know that emotional ups and downs are a normal part of life. There’s nothing wrong with you. We’ve all felt hopeless. But when we’re secluded in our thoughts, we may be tempted to believe that we are “in this alone.” Try opening your mind to the idea that all humanity can relate and that many are in a similar situation as you right this moment.
- Seek help. At times, hopelessness and depression become more than we can handle on our own. Seeking professional counseling or healing is a brave choice that can help set us free from negative thought patterns and beliefs.
If you live in the Phoenix Valley and are looking to take a step towards freedom, Agave Sozo would be honored to be a part of your journey. We’ve helped many people move past feelings of hopelessness and depression and into new hope and abundant life in God. To learn more about our ministry or read testimonies from real people, visit our website today!