Big Love, Deep Vulnerability, and Unbridled Courage: Three Essentials for Thriving in Hope

We were made to hope. Political campaigns have been run on the promise of it. Artists and poets create works based on it and we use the word in our daily conversation. From the simple, “I hope my baby naps today” to the deeper hopes like, “I hope I am a part of something that lasts-that I won’t be forgotten,” hope is a part of our very existence.

To hope means we know there is something bigger than us, something that we are a part of that is more than the “now.” It resonates in our souls but it is not meant to be experienced in a vacuum. Sometimes disappointments in life like depression, loss or grief can cause us to forget our hope. What is it that allows our hope to be rekindled? Hope cannot thrive without big love, deep vulnerability, and unbridled courage.

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Big Love

Your hope is where your heart is. In my experience, most people I know have big hearts.

When I became a mother, my heart was so large it grew to walk outside my chest. It came to be known as Ellis. And when my second daughter, Adeleine, was born, my heart expanded in more ways than I thought possible.

If loving these two girls has taught me anything, it has taught me to hope. Hope in the beauty of my daughter singing herself to sleep at night or in the wonder of my five-month old basking in awe at the light filtering through the blinds at midday.

But if this was all I hoped in and this was the epitome of love, then those deeper “I hope” statements would not be satisfied.

Our hope is tied to the extent in which we love ourselves and those around us. I am loved in monumental proportions by the one who is LOVE itself. From the creation of the universe, each star and planet was lovingly put in place and we were made to be a part of this larger cosmic story.

When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God whispered to his heart-outside-his-chest people and said, “Just wait! Have hope. There is someone I’m sending to rescue you.” Then Jesus came, giving us access to His heart and the unfettered hope that comes with Him.

When we have access to boundless love we have access to unlimited hope. But that’s not all we need in order to live full of hope. As C.S. Lewis puts it, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

Deep Vulnerability

Hoping looks a lot like loving, but it also means allowing ourselves to be deeply vested in hope even when we could be disappointed. Vulnerability born out of love is essential to hope.

I lived in the tension of vulnerable hope for years. After losing three pregnancies, I allowed myself to hope even though there was a high probability I could lose another. Then our second daughter arrived and my hope was fulfilled.

When we hope, we don’t know the outcome of it, only that if we lived without it, life wouldn’t be worth living at all.

Vulnerability is not a passive act. When you are vulnerable, you are putting yourself out there- your hopes, plans, the deep parts of you. Walking in vulnerability is a strength that only comes through unbridled courage.

Unbridled Courage

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and having a willingness to hope is one of the most courageous things you could do.

Courage is really hope in action. Courageous living is when you replace fear with hope and move forward confidently in it.

Being courageous doesn’t necessarily mean fear will disappear. Our fears must be acknowledged and put under the authority of God before hope and courage can take the appropriate place in our hearts. Our hope is birthed out of courageously living day-by-day in the knowledge that we are a part of something more, something eternal.

We must take those deep “I hope” thoughts and move forward boldly knowing that even though we don’t have the answers, we know the One who does. Living and thriving in hope stems from our connection with God.

We are a part of something even larger than what politicians, artists and poets claim. God made us in our humanity to be a part of His cosmic story. And he offers his limitless love, for us in our vulnerability so we can be courageous, hope-filled people.

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