In Growing Deep, ‘Our foundation’, the following statement can be found – ‘Lutheran schools and early childhood services are communities of hope, nurtured by the promises of God’s word, love and forgiveness which empower staff and students to embrace the future with confidence’.
So, how will you and your community strive to live this out in 2019?
Well, a good starting point is to go to the promises in scripture that provide the lens through which we should be viewing the opportunities that await us as we commence a new year.
‘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.’ Isaiah 40:31
‘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 hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.’ Romans 5:5
‘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
The Christian faith is all about freedom and life. By recognising our identity (who and whose we are), we can confidently proceed to live life in all its fullness. No longer do we need to hide behind external masks, because self-acceptance enables us to find our identity in Christ; thus we no longer need to worry about anything!
John Maxwell, renowned author, in his book ‘Sometimes you win; Sometimes you learn’, wrote, “I believe that if a leader helps people believe the impossible is possible, it makes the impossible probable.”
He refers to hope as being our greatest asset and the greatest weapon we can use to battle our losses when they seem to be mounting. It is a difference maker:
- Hope looks for the lesson in defeat instead of just leaving you defeated
- Hope discovers what can be done instead of what can’t be done
- Hope regards problems, small or little, as opportunities
- Hope opens the door when despair closes them
- Hope draws strength from what can be instead of what was
- Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism
- With hope, failure is a skipping stone; without hope, failure is a tombstone.
As we start a new year, how can be foster and cultivate hope? Again, John Maxwell provides some suggestions:
- Realise that hope is a choice
The distinction between hope and optimism – Hope is the faith that together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope is an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes much courage to have hope.
- Change our thinking
Focus on positive and expectant outcomes. (Remember the glass is half full!!)
- Win some small victories
Creating a positive environment with positive experiences goes a long way to encourage others to keep hoping, keep trying and keep learning.
When people sense victory When people sense defeat
They sacrifice to succeed They give as little as possible
They look for ways to win They look for excuses
They become energised They become tired
They follow the game plan They forsake the game plan
They help other team members They hurt others
May you experience God’s joy, peace and hope that surpasses all human understanding as you embark, together with your staff, on the journey ahead for 2019.