National Day of Hope | Joy for Today

Nearly weekly we post about JOY and end with a wish that you'll find HOPE for tomorrow. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope helps us smile when we think about the future, looking forward to the days to come. Where are you placing your hope? When you think about the future, what is the source of the smile on your face? Reminding yourself of this will help bring JOY for Today.

April 5, 2023

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. There are three elements of hope? Hope, defined by PsychCentral as "the belief that your future will be better than the present and that you have the ability to make it happen" includes three elements: having goals, feeling empowered, and identifying various potential paths to your goals. (Psychology Today and Arizona State University)
  2. Hope helps attendance? According to a study completed at a tech company, workers with high hope levels held better attendance records than those with low levels. What's more, a different study indicates workers with high hope levels are also more successful at their work. (Psychology Today)
  3. Hope leads to happiness? People who live in hope predictably experience more satisfaction and satisfaction helps us feel happy. (Psychology Today)
  4. Hope heals? People diagnosed with a malady or illness tolerate higher pain levels and are more likely to make choices that lead to faster healing when they are hopeful.  (Psychology Today)
  5. Hope sustains? Hopeful patients were twice as likely to be alive and able to attend the follow-up date of their research study.  (Psychology Today)

We'd Love to Know:   

Which fact is of most interest to you?

Wolfe Stew Connects

Hope is hard. We make it sound simple: "Hold on to hope." "Never give up." "Keep on believing." Yet even the researchers on hope theory at ASU comment on how they struggle to practice what they teach. When you lose hope it's not easy to find. 

I recently traversed a bout of hopelessness, and it feels lonely. No one else is there with you, and though they want to pull you out, you just don't have the ability to pull yourself out yet. 

It reminded me of times when the Mr. would advise: "Just don't. Refuse to feel stressed." 

To which I would respond, "I'm sorry, I just can't find my stop stressing button. I don't think mine was ever installed."

Feeling hopeless was similar, I looked for that hope rope to pull myself out, but just couldn't find it. I reminded myself it was there, willed myself to look for it, went through the motions of grabbing on, but just could not pull myself out.

How do you find hope when you've lost it? My nephew's answer: "Be around people who remind you where your hope is." 

And I think that's true, talking to people who share in your hope helps because they can direct you in your blindness. But, also, I think being gentle with yourself helps. Acknowledge how you feel and accept that in time, you will emerge. 

We can't force change. We take steps, we make plans, we accept encouragement, and in time, we're able to grab that rope, climb out, and keep going. 

But the first step in all of this is to know where your hope is, to clearly define what you hope for, because where we put our hope shapes our lives. My hope is in Jesus. When you put your hope in Him, you're provided a firm foundation, clear direction, and a built-in group of fellow sojourners. Knowing where my hope is equipped me for the climb out of darkness, and it will for you, too.

In response:

  1. Pause to define the source of your hope. The big hope, not in the next moment, but over the course of your lifetime. What are you reaching for, what is your end goal? Who shares in your hope? Who will encourage you in times of darkness? Surround yourself with these people. Record victories you've made in pursuit of your hope. When darkness descends, remind yourself that you overcame it before, and you will overcome it again.
  2. Join us as we grow to be hardworking by looking at Proverbs 31:13 and 19. Next week, we will work toward becoming better seekers, workers, and interpreters. (Take a peek at our Wolfe Notes to see what we covered last week.) Or engage in last year's growth opportunity and learn to TRUST God's Promises.

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses

  • "Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God." Psalm 42:11 GNT
  • "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 MEV
  • "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5 NIV
  • "But I - I will watch for Adonai. I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me." Micah 7:7 TLV
  • "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 MEV

Quotes

  • "In fact, hope is best gained after defeat and failure, because then inner strength and toughness is produced." - Fritz Knapp
  • "Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today." - Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Listen to the mustn'ts, child, Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." Shel Silverstein
  • "Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul / And sings the tune without the words / And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson
  • "There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for." - J.R.R. Tolkien

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote speaks to you?

 

Activity Suggestions

To inspire hope.

The Mr.'s Suggestion:

Make a wish list!
Go ahead; be creative. Add dreams that just don't make sense. Hope for the impossible. Think about which one of these wishes breathes life into you, drives your passion. If you're ready to take it seriously - set goals, set course, and set sail! 

The Mrs.' Suggestions: 

Read Hopeful Stories

Keep a Hope Jar

Encourage learners to write their hopes on paper and deposit them in the jar. Periodically, share the hopes of your learners and together discuss steps to take to make the hope a reality. If the hope is an impossibility, discuss how to change the described hope into a possibility. If you find the jar empty, take a moment to have everyone (including yourself) record a hope.

Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Be able to change the weather or a choice you made?
  • Control the lunch menu or the special's schedule for one day?
  • Always sit next to whoever you like or answer every question correctly?
These questions are unique to this post. If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every March day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint. And find April's Would You Rather...? PowerPoint here.

Take on the Family Challenge

Discuss hope as a family. Ask: What do you place your hope in? How is it shaping your life? When you've lost hope, where are you going to find it? Encourage each other in the ongoing quest for hope.

We'd Love to Know:

What you hope for.



We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. 


Your Partners in JOY Finding,
Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


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