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Stop Wishing🌟and Start Hoping

Plenty of people struggle with the concept of hope. I, myself, related hoping with wishing. You know, like the wishes you make when blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Or even, the three mythical wishes made when rubbing the lamp of a genie. Simply put, wishing is expressing a desire for something that is most likely unattainable. This is why hoping never looked attractive to me because of how I associated it with wishing. It also explains why a number of people forbid the use of the word hope in their vocabulary. To some, hope is merely wishing for something that will never come. However, if you juxtapose hope next to wish you’ll notice an interesting difference. Hope involves expressing a desire for something but with the expectation of attaining it or fulfillment. This explicit difference changes the entire scope of how hope should be used. Let’s continue to gain a new perspective of hope and how to apply it in our lives.

The Bible is very accurate when it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,…” (Proverbs 13:12, Amplified Bible, Classic Ed). Simply stated, a disappointed heart will reframe hope into nothing but a wish with the expectation of never receiving its fulfillment. This often causes the desertion of many healthy dreams and desires, which explains the great need to infuse hope back into our society, families, and communities. Hope holds great significance in the forward trajectory of all individuals alike. It plays a key role in our advancement and growth. Philosophers see hope as a utopian element for progressive thinkers. The Bible talks about hope numerous times in the scriptures, and even personifies it as Jesus Christ, “… Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.” (Colossians 1:27, Amplified Bible, Classic Ed). In every instance, hope is always being applied whether towards an object, experience, or individual. It relies on there being an end goal with an expected result.

Hope is not merely a feeling, it is more cognitive than we realize. Our emotions carry an influential role as it relates to hope, however it has been theorized hope is actually coupled between mental determination and physical strategy. These are two essential pieces in making healthy dreams and desires achievable. The directed energy of hope makes it much more powerful than just being optimistic. Optimism does not carry the critical thinking agent necessary in achieving most goals (Snyder, 1994, p. 25). It stands on the positive belief good things will happen, but does not provide a clear plan as to how to achieve the directed goal or overcome barriers along the way (Snyder, 1994, p 25). The basic objective of hope is to set clear goals and get energized with different ways to reach them, allowing your thoughts to influence your actions (Snyder, 1994, p 23). Hope is not impulsive but it is intentional. It connects that which you believe to the fulfillment of the outcome (Gwinn & Chan, 2022, p 42). Hope covers the varying undertakings as it relates to the gap between you and the goal.

It is essential to give your hope a clear cut vision and a designated goal. Hope does not rely on ambiguity. Goals are the target of your mental focus, and since not all goals are morally ethical it is important they remain healthy (Snyder, 2002, p 250). Healthy goals are imperative to the sustainability of elevated levels of hope. They have the ability to produce greater outcomes and make influential impact. Another requisite is mental energy which is depicted as willpower, the motivational aspect of hope. As well as the need for pathways to those goals and workable solutions to obstacles. Your pathways carry great weight in correlation to hope. For it is said, “Willpower without pathways is [simply] a wish.” (Gwinn & Chan, 2022, p 47). This demonstrates the intentionality of hope, which is a long way from the vagueness it’s thought to possess.

Hope is the ignitor to the belief that your future can be brighter than your past (Gwinn & Chan, 2022, p 41). However, hope’s results can only be seen as it becomes a true practice in one's life. The Bible states in addition to faith and love, hope is a significant virtue we must continuously activate in our daily living (1 Corinthians 13:13). Here are a few suggestions when trying to spark more hope in your life (Snyder, 1995, p 358-359).

  • Generate healthy self talk

  • See setbacks as challenges, not failures.

  • Perfection is not required to be hopeful

  • Use physical exercise to relearn connectedness between mind and body

  • Eating properly to aid in refueling

  • Educating yourself for specific skills encouraging learning

  • Reward yourself for small subgoals

  • Re-goal when facing persistent blockages

  • Journal your past successes

  • Find healthy role models

  • Enlist a life coach to assist with goal-setting

So, take out your long wishlists you have stashed away. Review a few of those items on your list and revert them into healthy goals. Start generating hope instead of yielding to wishes. Give yourself permission to do the work to make your hope a reality, not allowing it be re-categorized as a wish (Gwinn & Chan, 2022, p 41). “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ [our Hope]” (1 Peter 1:13, English Standard Version).

Proverbs 13:12

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.


Gwinn, C., & Chan, H. (2022). Hope rising: How the science of hope can change your life. New York, NY: Morgan James Publishing

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Hope. In dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Wish. In dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2023, from

Snyder, C. R., (1995). Conceptualizing, measuring, and nurturing hope. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(3), 355-360

Snyder, C. R., (2002). Hope theory: Rainbow in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13(4), 249-275

Snyder, C. R., (1994). Psychology of hope: You can get here from there. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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