Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hope Management

John Ortberg on Hope Management
Optimism is the one responsibility no leader should delegate.
by John Ortberg

For this reason I've realized that I must learn the art of hope management. I must learn about the activities and practices and people who build hope, as well as the activities and practices and people who drain hope.

When I looked back at my old journals it came as a surprise to me how often they were simply chronicles of failure. I would write down how I felt inadequate as a pastor, incompetent as a dad, and not-all-that-great as a Christian in general. These weren't so much confessions with absolution and forgiveness; they were vague general expressions of discouragement that left me more discouraged. They were the opposite of what David did when he "encouraged himself in the Lord." I was "discouraging myself in the Lord."

So now I try to steward my hope; not by avoiding thinking about my sin, but trying to confess it, learn from it, and live in the reality of newness and grace. I have identified people in my life who breathe energy and hope into me, and I try to get large doses of time with them—especially on Mondays.

Psychologist Martin Seligman, though not religious himself, notes that not only does faith produce hopeful people, but more robust faith produces more robust hope. For all the great hopers are mystics. And long before FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, a great hoper known as Julian of Norwich sang her song from the depths of the Black Plague-infested fourteenth century:

But all shall be well,And all shall be well,And all manner of things shall be well…He did not say,

"You shall know no storms, no travails, no disease,
"He said, "You shall not be overcome."

You can't delegate hope.

John Ortberg is editor at large of Leadership and the pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

read whole article here.



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