Recently I had the opportunity to attend TOFW. This was my first experience doing so, and I have a lot to blog about as a result of this experience, but today, for whatever reason, I'm being prompted to write about the title of my post.
Sometimes we receive promptings that are so strong, they're impossible to ignore. We can try, but something, inevitably, pops up to make us remember. And that's what I've been doing all day today...remembering. Hope.
This may be a bit scattered, a bit unorganzied, but I'm putting it out there anyway, because there's not time like the present.
So some things that I learned from TOFW, besides the universal message of having hope, was how important hope actually is. There were many speakers who spoke on varying ways hope helped them throughout their lives. How significant hope is...to them, to us. To me.
So here goes: Hope is as important as air. I had never really given this much merit. How can hope be as important as air? We require air, we need air...it is a universal truth and it applies to everyone. I had never considered that having hope was the same or applied to me specifically in this way. But giving it some extra thought and pondering this analogy, I find it to be most adequate. Clever these people are to address the issue of hope this way. Much like air, if we don't have hope--we die. Maybe not in the literal sense, but maybe so. How often have I been so heavy burdened in my life, miserable even? Many times, I'd venture to say, especially in the thick of things, more than my share. Each time, the only thing that pulled me out was hope. Whether it was a person, a thing, a message, a letter...one or many of these things struck me and made me hope.
We hope not for what we have, but what we believe is possible. However, is it wrong to still hope for the things that we have? I mean, I have a family, and I hope for them all the time. Maybe I'm refining my hope, then, and continuing to put in the effort for my hope to be realized. I think that's expected of me. I need to work on refining my hope for my family, and focus on the very most important of things. Recently in conference we had the opportunity to hear from President Uchtdorf and he spoke about our lives and the rushed pace of it all--and how we need to refocus on what matters most. He says, "...it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions." I think that when we slow down, we can see more clearly our hopes, but when we're rushed or pressured we lose sight of those hopes--even if a little--and when this happens, I've found that, for me, my course is unclear.
How much clearer our path, that righteous course, when hope is always in sight!
We were asked at TOFW the first day to list the things that we hoped 'for'. No hope, no venture, no dream was too large to hope for. The next day, we listed what we hoped 'in'. I have to take pause for a moment to reflect on these lists. Wipe my eyes and blow my nose, because my lists are very similar.
I'll show you what I mean, here's some things on my hope for list: A happy eternal life. Jon to be happy with his career choices. Jon to be happy. Austin to be happy. Alex to be happy. Samantha to be happy. For my family to know God loves them. To get to my goal weight loss. Financial security.
And my hope 'in' list: Christ. Jon. Austin. Alex. Samantha. Susan. My ability to lose weight. My ability to provide for my family. Myself to achieve eternal life.
There are other things for which I both hope for and hope in, but I found that these things were the most important to me, and thus were listed first. How similar they are!
Having hope is not something that will weaken us, but strengthen us. Provide us with an understanding that God loves each and every one of us. That He knows our basic needs and will always meet those needs. Which leads me to the one question I've been struggling with...Do my prayers contain my hopes? Or perhaps I should be even more specific...Do my prayers frequently contain my hopes?
Sometimes I find myself asking Heavenly Father for something, but it's once...and it's more of a need. Sometimes a desire. It's not that I think it's not important enough to ask more than once for...it's just that I feel like I ask for so much as it is--that what I hope for isn't as important to Him to hear about, than the things that I geniunely need. And I KNOW that He wants to hear from me always, about anything, but maybe I should consider He hopes for me to ask Him ALL THINGS.
How can I remember to prayerfully contain my hopes on a consistent basis? Are my hopes really too far different than my needs? What will jog my memory while I'm on my knees? A ribbon tied on my wrist? Or is it more that I need to better know that I'm worthy to have my hopes realized? Maybe a combination of those things and more.
As I sit here contemplating what I can do to further clarify and refine my hopes, I'm prayerful that I'll get it right for myself.
But I have to put on roller skates right now and get a million things done. I hope for enough time to do them.