My husband called me one morning to tell me he was on his way home from work. The entire senior leadership team at his company was let go. He signed severance and was officially unemployed. My heart sank. He was our sole income earner. We had moved halfway across the country, left our home and family behind, and had a lot riding on this job.
Before my husband even arrived home, I had called the realtor to list our house. I also called a friend because I needed a shoulder to cry on. My friend came over and said, “Look forward to what God is going to do next just as you would look forward to a Christmas present. You know Christmas presents are good, just as God is going to do something good. Be full of joyful anticipation.”
My friend didn’t know it at the time, but those words carried me through the next few weeks. I would wake up in the morning and refuse to think about the tasks I dreaded during the day, but instead think about the future with hopeful anticipation. I would hope that my husband’s next job would be less stressful, maybe it would be less hours, and maybe we could move back home and live close to our family.
In fact, we began to work towards making those hopes come to fruition. Hope is a pathway to our goals and it’s not surprising that it is always correlated with higher achievement outcomes. It was those hopeful thoughts that carried me through and directed our day.
All that happened a couple years ago, long before I had read the 7 Minute Solution, and long before capturing the hope moments was even a defined practice.
John Brandon uses the beginning of his book to bring hope to the front and center. What should we do to start our day? According to Brandon, our first thing upon rising shouldn’t be making a task list, but rather capturing our hope moments. Brandon writes, “Hope should take precedence over goals and it should ultimately drive us. Hope can help us overcome disappointment and suffering, and it helps us connect the dots between what we do today and what is our life’s purpose.” I’m not sure anything resonates with me more.
Have specific hopes been motivating for me in the past? Yes. But they were never connected to a routine. When I read about the routines Brandon outlines, I was on board. Now I keep a journal on my nightstand. Before I even get out of bed in the morning, I write my hopes for the day and I also write down the thoughts I have that are causing stress.
I’ve found it so helpful to do this brain dump before I get out of bed. Once I get up, my day doesn’t stop until I find myself crawling under the covers at night. I’m amazed at what a purposeful 7 minutes in the morning has done for my daily focus and overall daily outcomes.
We are long past the unemployment stage. My husband likes his job, and we’re living in our home state close enough to visit grandparents often.
As I’ve had time to practice capturing my hope moments, I like to think of hope as setting the stage. It’s like an intro into my day that makes me excited about what is to come. When I record daily hopes, I’m filled with positive thoughts and feelings. Hope isn’t bogging me down with worry and it’s not a to-do list that makes me feel overwhelmed.
In many ways, it’s hope that puts the wind in my sails. According to Charles Snyder who developed the Hope Theory, hope is like a vehicle to get you where you want to go. Higher levels of hope are associated with higher academic performance, greater life satisfaction, and even a lower death rate. It’s not surprising that psychologists have found these things about hope as scripture tells us the same.
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
Hope anchored in our Creator gives us an eternal mindset. It’s hope in eternal life that drives us when our finite life here bogs us down. Hope that God is working for our good and that he is preparing an eternal home for us. Now that’s a hope worth waiting for.