Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How Hope Changes Everything

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Pete Wilson, founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville. Let Hope In, Pete’s anticipated book, presents a new look at the power of healing through hope, revealing four choices that will change your life. Visit him on his blog or connect via Twitter @PWilson.

If you’ve ever written a book or a poem or maybe a song, then you know one of the first questions people tend to ask you is, “Why?”

Why did you write that? Why did you create that?

I think it’s a fair question. People want to know about the heart behind your creation, why behind what you do.

Let Hope In

Photo Credit: fusion-of-horizons via Compfight cc

Since the release of my new book, I’ve been asked that question a lot:

“Pete, why did you write it?”

My answer? Well, I really believe hope changes everything. I believe it can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place.

All you have to do is make the choice to let hope in.

It won’t be easy.
It won’t be quick.
But it’s possible.

Even if you’ve experienced pain in your past?

Yes, especially if you’ve experienced pain in your past.

You see, some people will never get beyond the pain of their past. It will wreak havoc in their personal and professional lives, because they will keep cursing their pain and it’ll keep cursing them back.

They’ll choose to believe they are inseparably attached to their past without realizing they are, in fact, making a choice to hold on to it. They will hold on to it in one of two ways:

  • they will give in to it with a self-loathing that ensures perpetual misery and failure, or…
  • they will wage an angry and desperate war against it in an effort to bury its devastation in self-denial.

Either way, they will never surrender the past pain. They will hold on to the idea that they shouldn’t have had to go through that pain and that life is not fair.

And they will, therefore, miss out on the brand-new ending that could be theirs.

Then there’s a group of people who will take a different path…

They will realize their past isn’t really their past. They will come to grips with the fact that their past pain is still impacting them and choose to rise above it.

In an incomprehensible twist, they will surrender their pain, instead of ignoring or denying there is strength in letting go. it. They will choose to be emptied of it.

And in a glorious miracle, God will actually use the pain of their past to help redeem others — in effect, allowing them to find purpose in the pain.

This choice isn’t easy. You have to choose to do something you think you can’t do. It requires a resolve that can only be found deep within your soul.

But this choice does nothing less than determine your destiny.

It all comes down to one choice

It’s the choice to let go of your desire to have life go the way you planned it. It’s the choice to find hope in your hurt.

It’s the choice called surrender.

There is strength in letting go. There is radical power in surrender. And I pray that today you begin your journey to let hope in today.

How has hope changed everything for you? Share in the comments.

About Pete Wilson

Pete is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville. Let Hope In, Pete’s anticipated book, presents a new look at the power of healing through hope, revealing four choices that will change your life. Visit him on his blog or connect via Twitter @PWilson.

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  • Oh my goodness…this post simply took my breath away! God knew exactly what I needed today…thank you.

    • Pete Wilson

      So glad it was helpful.

  • I say a resounding amen. The beauty of hope. The power of surrender. The solutions you have packed in this post. Yes, and amen. Thanks for writing, Pastor Pete.

  • Jackie

    In the hope we were saved
    Hope that is seen is no hope at all
    Who hopes for what he already has R8
    Lived a year letting this word, hope, change my view. Thanks. For sharing!

  • Amen! So true I wrote on Hope in the midst of Miscarriages. Hope is what got us through those painful years. Caused us to paint a bedroom and prepare for a baby even when it looked foolish. We now have 3 kids and we named the youngest Hope she is 9 months. God is good! Brings tears in my eyes just writing this. I am going to hold my little Hope now:) Blessings

  • mikesporer

    It is indeed a difficult process. We are inextricably tied to our past, but it is our choice how we handle those memories. I’ve learned that everything is my teacher, even the bad stuff. Letting go is a mindful activity, and quieting the mind makes room for healing.

  • I agree that there is a great strength related to surrender. Personally, surrendering to a lot of things has brought me great peace, when before there was only suffering.

    What you resist, persists. Surrendering is liberation.

  • Shari Lynne

    Awww love it Pete! That’s why i’ve started following Jeff (he’s so fantastic on encouraging others to share) because everyone has a story to tell and if we don’t tell it and it’s a painful one…we definitely get stuck. Stuck in alot of bitterness. I learned long ago you can look back but don’t stare. It’s true and you put it so eloquently. Blessings to you!!

    • Pete Wilson

      Thanks Shari!

      • Shari Lynne

        You are welcome Pete!!

  • In my life I’ve experienced one loss after another. For years, I just wanted the pain to stop. I tried avoiding pain, and wanted to live as I perceived others were living, without so much loss. But that was just my perception. We only see what people let us see.

    It was when I embraced my pain that I found the hope you’re referring to. God is God, even when we don’t understand what’s going on. His character is good even when the circumstances in our lives don’t feel good. God cannot be anything less than good.

    And he brings good out of our pain and losses. I have seen him do this time and time again. The very pain I tried avoiding, God used to show me his faithfulness. He has always been with me.

    In some cases, people don’t let go of their pasts. But in all fairness, we haven’t lived their lives. But we can pray. Just like people prayed for me.

    • Beautiful thoughts, Anne. I have found the same thing when it comes to the pain I spent years running away from and denying. When we bring it to Him, He is faithful to heal and then the beauty doesn’t stop there. I love how He then gives us this desire to share our stories of hope and freedom with others. I love that cycle!

  • jiche

    Harbouring pains from the past can be numbing. I,myself had suffered one loss after another and questionned God “why?”. I thought, I never asked Him of something bigger than life, why am I in pain now and sinking deeper and deeper everyday. After deciding to let go,thinking I am not going to win this on my own, I asked God to take charge, that’s when the pain became sweet and fruitful. Contemplating and learning from all my pains made me a sensitive and better person. Through this process, pain could be a teacher.

    • Pete Wilson

      Saying a prayer for you right now.

  • Christy King

    A beautiful post. I can’t say that hope has changed everything for me (not yet anyway!) but it’s certainly changed my experience of everything, making me a more contented person.

  • Jack Strandburg

    What started as hope for me to use my God-given (and I stress those words) talent and desire to be an author has evolved to faith and eventually a BELIEF God has a purpose for me and did not randomly bless me with this talent and desire. This came about during a painful time in my life and I self-published a book about it and am currently working on a follow up to my journey.

  • Right on. It’s amazing how God can redeem everything, even suffering.
    I’ve found that the greatest griefs in my life, *if I let them,* can become something sacred. Shared scars can broker powerful connections. They’re a passport into other people’s hurting hearts (and what more beautiful calling than to be Jesus’ arms, to be called to the ministry of holy hugs!).
    Slowly, I’m learning to thank God for my crosses–be they my uber-colicky firstborn (there’s no better boot camp for new parents), or losing my dad as a teen (tasting loss, at such a formative point, has changed my outlook on absolutely everything…for the better).

  • Melanie Fischer

    could not possibly put into words how hope has changed things for me! Thanks so
    much for sharing this.

  • Lisa Gane

    I think you’re amazing. When I’m down, I read your emails, you give HOPE. THANK YOU. Lisa

  • Sue Neal

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for an inspiring post.

    I don’t share your belief in God, but I think there is truth in your underlying message, regardless of any religious belief in a higher power. For me, it’s about awareness and acceptance that the past is gone – as the saying goes, it’s another country; I don’t live there any more – so fretting and tearing myself apart with regrets about it is futile – more than futile, it has the potential to destroy my present and future happiness. I can’t influence the past – but I do have control over what I do right now, this moment, today, and that’s what I try to focus on. I try to learn from the mistakes I’ve made in the past, but I don’t dwell on them.

    • Pete Wilson

      Sounds like we have a lot in common Sue.

  • No one has ever asked me why I wrote a song or a poem or an essay. It’s only when I commit destructive acts, like drive my fist through a window pane or smash a plate against the wall, that people ask me, “Why did you do that?”

    • Interesting. Maybe you should punch more walls? 😉

      Kidding, kidding…

  • Pirkko

    Thanks for sharing this book, and why the author writes it. I know a lot of pain as a mother of adult sons, so hope and healing is in the core of my being.

  • Pain is real and loomed large in my adult life. But God is bigger if we let Him in. Circumstances aren’t always good, but God is. He’ll redeem it all in due time. His plan is always best. We always have hope in Him, even when the darkness threatens to choke it out.

    Walking through my pain and learning the real meaning of hope and faith, has brought me to a place where I can empathize and encourage others walking through similar pain. What a blessing!

    It’s not easy to lay down our pain, our fears, our plans, but oh the peace and joy we can experience in the surrendering! Sounds like a wonderful book.

    • Pete Wilson

      Well said Julie.

  • Cherry Odelberg

    Well, that’s kind of huge.

  • I absolutely loved this, Pete. Speaking from experience, having written a memoir about my painful childhood, I know the truth in your words. This is such an important message for all of us. If I can help you get the word out about your book, just let me know. I’ll start by tweeting this post.

    • Pete Wilson

      Thanks so much Bryan!

  • Thanks for this. I definitely needed it. I’ve written about pain, although I haven’t posted it yet. Trying to figure out how I can give it the audience it needs, rather than my blog.

    Pain either shapes who we are or defines us. We don’t let go easily but thanks for the reminder that we need to.

    • I like that, Michael. Pain can either destroy us or be redeemed for a greater good. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Oftentimes, we shut down and don’t talk about painful experiences not realizing how it can help another. We all have problems, but we can choose to see them as opportunities to develop empathy and strengthen others, just like you’re doing here. Thanks for the post.

  • There is a simplicity in that choice– to either let it in or keep it out. That small push on the door of our hearts…letting the door swing on its hinges to let hope in…can change our lives eternally.

  • I had hope breathed into my tired and dried out soul by a life coach who saw things in me I didn’t know were there. He saw a fresh perspective, looking at my wide experiences not as shallow and worthless, but as a treasure worthy of excavating and sharing. He saw my love of words as a means of sharing stories to encourage and give hope to others.

    His business verse became mine as well: Jeremiah 29:11For 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.

    I look forward to your book!

  • “It’s the choice to let go of your desire to have life go the way you planned it. It’s the choice to find hope in your hurt. It’s the choice called surrender.”

    Goosebumps! Again, exactly what I needed to read tonight. I was a few days behind in your posts, but I am so glad that I could get caught up tonight!

    My prayer is that if even one person is touched, inspired, or encouraged by sharing my story – the pain, rawness, and hope renewed – that it will be worth everything that I am putting into it. There is nothing like getting a message from someone saying that what you wrote has helped them on such a deep level.

    Thank you for sharing!

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