We walked into the small room with eight men wearing bright orange jumpsuits; one man’s presence surprised us. “Kevin, weren’t you going to get out on work release?!” He smiled. “I told my lawyer I wanted to stay in. I want to re-do the course with you guys.”
At that moment, Kevin was no longer the hope-starved person we met seven weeks prior. He just demonstrated the first bloom of hope — he chose to be hopeful.
Does hope lead to spirituality, or does spirituality lead to hope?
I first introduced Kevin’s story in Spirituality — The Secret to the Power of Hope. When our small team first met Kevin, he was an angry, sullen, sad young man who felt abandoned by the world and those he loved. The trauma Kevin experienced caused him to lose confidence in a spiritual presence that could guide him, empower him, and protect him.
Kevin found himself without hope and a spiritual foundation.
“hope is an especially relevant virtue in the age of anxiety. Because hope is spiritualized and grounded in faith, it can keep an individual as well as a nation “centered” in the worst of times.”
But here’s the catch:
Spiritual hope is a choice because hope is something you do.
In a literal sense, hope is not only a noun; it’s a verb. Verbs are action-oriented, and so is hope.
Kevin understood he needed to rebuild his spirituality, so instead of escaping the confines of jail, Kevin spent another seven weeks with our team discussing his spiritual beliefs, the big questions of life, and how to make wiser life choices.
Kevin chose hope, and he began to see his future in a more inspired and hopeful light.
Put in the same situation, I often wonder whether I would have made the same decision as Kevin.
Hopeful people act on their future
Dr. Charles Snyder’s research predicted Kevin’s decision because hopeful people create their futures. This is certainly true in the realm of spirituality, where there is no hope without faith. This is what St. Paul meant when he said that God is “the source of hope” and that we will be filled with “joy and peace” when we believe (Romans 15:13, NLT).
We saw Kevin’s spiritual hope grow and how he looked expectantly and excitedly for his faith to change him.
It all started with a simple hope-filled choice, and that choice changed his life.
Be wise and successful
You too can take the seven steps Kevin took to regain, build, and strengthen his spiritual hope:
- Choose to make spirituality a part of your life.
- Practice disciplines such as prayer, meditation, journaling, and serving others.
- Build a community of spiritual advocates and mentors.
- Keep an open mind and challenge your assumptions.
- Talk to others about what you’re learning.
- Ask for help when you’re doubtful or distressed.
- Expect results.
Note: The names of the people in this story were changed to maintain confidentiality.