Hope When You’ve Got Nothing Left

The fact that we have nothing left is not the end of our world.

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There are times when I’ve got nothing left. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I feel like a wreck, and there’s no hope for today, let alone tomorrow. All purpose and meaning are vanquished, insight is annulled, and motivation crushed. It’s like a living death. It’s like life has been consumed and there’s nothing to be lived for. It’s like everything is limited, there are limits and impediments everywhere, and it’s like everything is frustrated, but frustration is no longer frustrating because to be frustrated, there would need to be a hope that’s disappointed. When there is no hope, there is no disappointment. This is what it feels like when I’ve got nothing left.

And yet, do you know what? You may notice the same trend. There is a “tomorrow” where a fresh fire is breathed into us. And whether that “tomorrow” is actually tomorrow or a week or an hour from now doesn’t matter. We know it will come.

I’ve experienced this so many times I know it’s part of the same old rhythm. I can trust that recovery will come because it does come because it HAS come so very many times now. And still, I need to tell myself afresh because with literally no insight, I can be lulled into a sense of futility, and it can seem as though recovery is a light year away.

BUT – one thing that needs to be remembered is this:

If there’s anything we can really trust about the future, it’s the past. Past patterns are the best predictors of future inevitabilities.

There IS hope because there’s always hope and whether we see that hope or not is inconsequential. That hope IS there. Sometimes we need to be reminded by an external source that it’s there, but it IS there.

Having nothing left is NOT a disaster.

It can actually be a very good thing. I mean this in a very specific way. When we acknowledge that we have nothing left and yet we’re not panicked by such a reality, when there’s a sense of realization and even resignation, we don’t get in our own way. We experience patience even if there’s a vacuum of hope.

We let go of our frustration, of our anger, of our entitlement that things be different from what they are, and we let go of our insistence that our world be ordered in any way we’d have it ordered. Letting go is like a resignation. We walk away and we don’t have any thoughts that will torment us. It’s like resignation has met acceptance. We may not like it, but the important thing is we’re no longer consumed by it.

So, the fact that we have nothing left is not the end of our world.

Though we experience a complete lack of hope, paradoxically, we’re walking in a more mature hope than we were before. We’re ready for whatever life might throw at us because we no longer protect ourselves against those things we have no control over. We admit that life can and will surprise us, and I think this is what resilience truly is.

So, even though you may have nothing left, even though you may have lost hope, don’t despair because you may have a deeper sense of acceptance now than ever before.

There are so many things over which we have no control. Resilience, then, is truly grounded in the repetitive experience of simply bearing the weight of unfavorable circumstances. It’s the mere fact that we can bear these without them crushing us indefinitely.

So it’s okay that we have nothing left, and indeed it’s an incredible affirmation of our resilience that we can bear it, that we can sit in it, insisting on nothing, because we literally have nothing.


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework

Featured Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay 

The views and opinions expressed by Kingdom Winds Collective Members, authors, and contributors are their own and do not represent the views of Kingdom Winds LLC.

About the Author

Steve Wickham is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He holds several roles, including husband, father, peacemaker championing peacemaking for children and adults, conflict coach and mediator, church pastor, counselor, funeral celebrant, chaplain, mentor, and Board Secretary. He holds degrees in Science, Divinity (2), and Counselling. Steve is also a Christian minister serving CyberSpace i.e. here.

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