These words were penned by Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray. Raised in Durham, her many accomplishments included serving as an attorney whose significantly contributed to the success of Brown v. Board of Education and becoming the first Black woman ordained as an Episcopal priest. Surely her life displayed a song that persisted in spite of the odds. So why is hope so important? I’m glad you asked! Although intangible, hope is an essential component of wellness. Hope, or an expectation of good to come, is what allows us to get up morning after morning and continue to put one foot in front of the other,
even when we don’t feel like it or when circumstances seem bleak. Hope is the opposite of hopelessness, which is the despair that is one of the hallmark symptoms of depression. Hopelessness is what makes us want to give in, throw in the towel, and go home. Under a
hopeless outlook, life is too hard, has dealt us too many blows, and is only getting worse, not better. Psychological research has repeatedly demonstrated through clinical and community studies that hope, a concept that has most robustly emerged out of the positive psychology movement, is associated with positive outcomes such as life satisfaction, optimism, gratitude, and lowered levels of psychological distress (e.g., Weis & Speridakos, 2011).
However, well before the field of psychology was born in a laboratory in Leipzig, Germany in 1879, there was ancient wisdom regarding the importance of hope, and perhaps more importantly, the originator of hope: The Psalmist David declared “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5). God promises
back to the faithful, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares
the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give
you hope and a future” ( Jeremiah 29:11). And even when our hope
waxes thin, we must remember:
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for,
and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their
power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to
God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run
and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.
(Isaiah 40:31, Amplified Version)
Thus, multiple sources of wisdom agree to the significance of hope for fulfilling the purposes of our lives. As Christians, we know that our God is the source of our hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Thus, our hope is rooted in God, and is blossoming as we pursue wellness in mind, spirit, body, and soul.
Want to learn more about translating the concept of hope into lived wellness? Well, hang on tight. My book/album launch is just 8 days away! Register at blossominghope.eventbrite.com to get a special discounted rate on your signed copy of Blossoming Hope: The Black Christian Woman’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellness. Can’t make it to the party? Keep your eyes open for updates on purchasing your copy through Amazon and Kindle!
À Votre Santé (“To your health”),
Tonya D. Armstrong, Ph.D., M.T.S.