HOPELESS: Finding Hope During a Seemingly Hopeless (or Wilted) time
By Sally Tippett Rains
It was just two weeks ago that my husband Rob gave me flowers, and it was such a happy day, but my how things have changed since then.
Sunflowers are such pretty and inspirational flowers that I chose them for the cover of “Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation” and I have a whole section in it about the sunflower. Besides being inspirational, they just make you happy.
The week I got the flowers, I was filled with excitement and enthusiasm about all the wonderful things that could come out of the pandemic; how we can learn so much and grow in ways we never would have dreamed during this time.
Two weeks later the flowers were wilted and so was my mood– and everyone else’s.
The news feeds and television channels became flooded with another tragic story– but this time it seemed different. It seemed with every news report or social media post that there was no hope. Many people were trying to express their opinion in a peaceful manner, yet at the same time, some were feeling helpless.
Others were so angry along with their hopelessness they would betray all sense of the law. One must really be at a low point– or hopeless point– in their life to just start stealing things and destroying property.
Still others watched with extreme sadness, not knowing what to do; it seemed every day was getting scarier and more hopeless than the day before. I’m sure you fit somewhere in the mix.
It seemed like our world was wilting right before our eyes, like the dead sunflowers– and there was nothing we could do about it. First it was the pandemic and while we were seemingly at our lowest point from that, the racial unrest came into play, and then there was even a hurricane complete with storms to add further insult to injury, and of course your own personal problems and situations.
Sometimes it seems like life is a wilted mess!
If you are feeling unsettled, frustrated, helpless, or hopeless– due to the current events or to your own personal health or life situation– take a few minutes out and consider the Sunflower. One sunflower by itself is pretty, but a whole field of sunflowers is amazing. One single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds, so when it wilts, those seeds are distributed and more beautiful ones will grow. The hope it shows is that during even the toughest of times we can come back.
Hope is what gives us the strength to keep going, to keep looking towards the light like sunflowers do–despite feeling “wilted” and defeated at times. No matter how tough things get, John Lennon said it best in his song Mind Games— “love is the answer.”
He went on to say “Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.” Each one of us has the potential to grow and have a positive effect on so many in our lives—these are the seeds we produce– and we have the ability to provide nourishment to others. We are strong like a sunflower and no matter what we are facing, we can hold our head up and keep going.
When we are upset, angry or scared, criticizing others or blaming people is the easy way out but people striving for Excellence stay above it. They do the best they can to be the change they want to see in others without pulling others down. In the end the only person we can control is ourself. If we try to make ourself that person of good example– then that’s one more nice person who is in the world. Imagine if everybody worked on themselves, what a world we could have.
Our negative thoughts and reactions lead us towards wilting and towards our soul dying, but you are stronger than you think. And what about the strength of a sunflower? The stalk is thick enough to withstand bad weather. We may not realize it but we are built to make it through the storms of our lives too.
There are large sunflower fields in Kansas; and the one (shown above) in St. Louis called Columbia Bottoms, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The feeling of happiness and peacefulness is overwhelming when you visit a sunflower field. This feeling is the polar opposite of the overwhelming sense of chaos and hopelessness that can happen to us in bad times.
Some days we feel strong, some days not so much, some days we are creative, or crabby, or excited or tired. There are even days we do things we regret—like snap at someone or talk negatively about someone behind their back– but God loves us through it all.
Good or bad, it is all a part of us and God sees us as the whole, not the tiny parts of us, or using the sunflower as an example, the many seeds and petals which all together make it beautiful. He sees the good in us and wants us to see the good in ourselves, others and in any situation we are faced with.
Especially in tough times like these where we can feel exhausted and helpless– He wants us to center ourselves, and see each other in Love and not in judgement. The more you learn to see people in love, the more you will see your strength and your faith in yourself grow.
Let the sunflower give you strength. Whenever you see one let it be a reminder to keep looking towards the light. If you’ve had your head down, it’s time to look up.
“…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” —Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
“Keep on playing those mind games forever…Raising the spirit of peace and love.”– John Lennon
- Write down what exactly it is that is bothering you this week. Is it how you personally feel or is it how you perceive that others are making you feel? We have to be able to distinguish our own feelings and honor them when all around us there is chaos and sometimes we feel a pressure to behave or feel in a certain way. Identify how you are feeling regarding the events of recent times, and write it down or think about it.
- Now look at what you wrote down. Does it look hopeful or hopeless? It’s very easy to feel hopeless. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t find the blessing in a situation on any given day, just know that things will get better, so hang on. The biggest thing about generally happy people and those who try to live a positive life is even during the low times they know the tide will turn. Look at what you wrote down and if there are negatives, think about how you can turn them around.
- What are a few things you can do that are totally unrelated to the things that are stressing you out and making you feel hopeless? We can be extremely passionate about a situation but we don’t need to let it consume our life. Some things you could do: call a family member who makes you smile; look up a fun recipe and cook something new; look on your bookshelf– or in an old box– and find a book you may or may not have read and read it; check the television listings and find something fun to watch or even educational; write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a while who you think could use a pick-me-up, go get some sunflower seeds and plant them. Watching something grow from seed is an awesome way to realize how much growth we can have in ourselves and it helps us realize change and growth does not happen all at once. Check your plants each day as you look for the good in yourself– and the positive growth is exciting to watch.
- Who do you know who could benefit by this weekly inspiration? Consider sharing it with someone or send us their email so we can send it to them.
One Last Thought
Be kind to yourself this week. If you discover areas you feel you could improve on to be a better person, head in that direction. If you need rest to recharge yourself so you can be your best: rest. Seek Excellence but in doing so remember excellence is not being perfect, it is trying your best. If we try our best in all areas of our life we will find more happiness.
And don’t forget– wonderful things still CAN come out of this time during the pandemic; we can learn so much and grow in ways we never would have dreamed.
If there is any way we can help you this week, please let us know. If you have special prayers you would like to request, I’d be honored to pray for you. Just remember, if you are doing your best you are doing a great job! –STR
Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation, By Sally Tippett Rains
This book can help you choose happy when things are falling apart because it contains stories of many who have overcome the dark valleys they have gone through and are living positive, happy lives. If you feel you really need this encouragement but cannot afford the book, please contact us through the contact page and we will send it to you free of charge.