Hopeless Is As Hopeless Does

What do I mean when I refer to hopelessness? What is hopelessness? Get ready we’re going back to school. But, only for a few moments.

Hopelessness is a noun (that’s a person, place, or thing) derived from the adjective (that’s a descriptive term) “hopeless”. Hopelessness is the state of having no prospect of hope, to be devoid of hope, or to be in despair. Hopelessness is to be unable or having a feeling of being unable to learn, act, perform, or work as desired. Hopelessness is the state of feeling inadequate for a purpose.

Now that we have the school work out of the way let me be more succinct about the definition that I use in this ministry. Hopelessness is a feeling of total and utter despair rooted in deeper feelings that one is inadequate to face, cope with, navigate, and overcome the rigors of life leaving one to believe that life has no meaning or that life is simply not worth living. THAT’S hopelessness in a nutshell. Hopelessness is a LIE fabricated by the devil to STEAL your joy, KILL you desire to live, and DESTROY your spirit, soul, and physical body! THAT’S hopelessness!

Now we’ve all heard the now famous words of Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.” I believe that “Hopeless is as hopeless does”. Sounds catchy if not original. However, I’m not calling anyone who is drowning in hopelessness stupid. Far from it. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a “stupid” person. You see, stupidity is the inability to absorb, store, recall, and apply information and knowledge. I have an autistic daughter. She does not absorb, store, recall, and apply information and knowledge to the same degree or in the same manner that most people do. I can assure you, however, that she is not stupid. Simply because she is expresses herself in a way that we have difficulty interpreting and because she does not apply what she learns in a way that we readily recognize, does not make her stupid. It reveals our ignorance in being unable to understand her ways. She is actually very intelligent. I don’t like the word stupid and refuse to use the word to describe anyone.

On the other hand, however, it would seem that if someone has good information or understanding and then chooses to think, speak, or act in a way that is contradictory to that good information or understanding, THAT could possibly be labeled as stupid. I retract my statement that I have never met a “stupid” person. There are a lot of stupid people in this world. I’ve done stupid things myself.

Having said that, many people who find themselves in hopeless situations or circumstances don’t know and understand how they arrived in their state of hopelessness to begin with, much less how to escape from it. I’ll go further in stating that some are AFRAID to take the first step to be delivered from their hopelessness. If a person grows up and all they have ever known is one hopeless situation after hopeless situation, there is a genuine FEAR of entering into the unknown existence of having real hope and a chance to have a prosperous, fulfilling healthy life.

Let me offer an example. My grandson just spent his twenty first birthday in prison. I’m not ashamed of that. He made a mistake. He manned up, stepped up to the plate and owned his mistake. Now, he is paying for his mistake. I’m proud of him for doing so. He has a young wife and a two-year-old son. His wife’s parents were not supportive of her nor have they attempted to teach her anything. What she learned from them was how to manipulate people and the system to survive. I’m not condemning any of these people. My heart is genuinely shredded regarding their lack of understanding of what real LOVE is.

My grandson’s wife calls frequently, and over a period of six months, she asks for and receives what I consider large sums of money to pay bills and rent with.  She makes every excuse possible as to why she cannot return any receipts on the payed bills. Sounded kind of fishy. We stopped sending money. She calls again. She and the great-grand-son are about to be kicked out of their apartment and will be living on the street. Her parents can’t help her because they are basically in the same predicament that she is in. Her grand-parents have flatly refused to help her.

Now pay close attention. Here’s where things get fishy, again. I tell her that I’ll make the thirteen- hour trip to come get her and her baby. I tell her that my house is cramped as it is and that she’ll have to sleep on an air mattress because that’s all that I have to offer her. I tell her that she’ll have to get a job, find child care and pay for child care while she’s working. I tell her that when there is a church function that we will all go to church. I tell her that the chaotic, drama -based lifestyle that she is accustomed to living will not be permitted to disrupt my household. That’s when her story begins to change.

“But this is so HARD for me!” she cries. “It’s so HARD to leave my family!” This is the family who is either too destitute to help, or unwilling to help, her in her hour of need. To make a long story short, she moved in with her grandparents, again.

Yes, what I was telling her was hard for her to digest. It meant adopting a completely new lifestyle that offered security at the price of having to work, pay for child care, conform to the rules of a new household and a different type of leadership. It required her willingness to receive some spiritual training. None of those things appealed to her. That’s okay. I’m not judging her or her family. I’m just expressing the ever-changing story as it was told to me and the solution that I offered. I expressed my happiness that she and the baby were not on the streets. I told her that I my offer was still available if she were to change her mind.

Now, here’s what really happened. She wanted a HAND OUT on her terms. That’s what she wanted. I offered a HAND UP on my terms which I believe is what she needed. She found herself in a “hopeless crisis” that she wanted to be removed from. I offered to do that but when I put terms in place that would require some effort on her part, she wanted nothing to do with it. Sad, but true nonetheless. She sees herself as so hopeless that she is AFRAID of CHANGE that might remove her from her hopelessness altogether at some point in the future. I do not see her that way at all. She’s smart enough to manipulate those who would feel sorry for her. Manipulation is her area of expertise. She is tired of living life without hope, but she is uncertain that she is able to take any kind of step in any direction to solve her problems.

The truth is that she may be right, but only to a certain extent. Until she is willing to accept responsibility for her actions, her life will never change. As long as she depends on others to get her out of tight spots, her life will never change. Until she is willing to INVEST a little sweat equity to improve her circumstance and situation, her tomorrows are just as bleak as her yesterdays.

To become lost in hopelessness takes very little to no EFFORT!  To rid yourself of frustration, anxiety, depression, fear, and hopelessness will require SOME effort on YOUR part! I’ve been there and done that! However, there is only so much that YOU can do. There is more to it than learning to put forth some hard work and picking yourself up by your boot straps.

I assure you that there is a peace, beyond our ability to understand, that comes from a total surrender to Jesus Christ. That doesn’t make sense to many of you. Not yet anyway. But with that PEACE comes TRUST and with that TRUST comes JOY! In that joy you will find that life IS worth living and that you can live life in abundance.

Will it happen overnight? No. Will it happen next week? No. Will it happen next month? Probably not. However, it CAN happen almost instantaneously, if you allow it to.

Hopeless is as hopeless does. Do you want to remain hopeless? No? Really? We’ll see. The door here is open and will remain open for a long time to come. Do you have the COURAGE to walk through the door and find out what is on the other side? Do you DARE to find out what it’s like to replace frustration, anxiety, depression, fear, and hopelessness with joy, peace, love, kindness, and goodness? Come on then. Come now. I’ll show you the way. God Bless!


In His Grip,

Lonnie Richardson

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