404 Why You Should Get Your Hopes Up

Why You Should Get Your Hopes Up

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

Have you ever thought about why we say that? I mean, I realize that nobody likes to be disappointed. But is disappointment really the end of the world?

Nick Face

I’ve prided myself on being a pretty steady guy. I’m a rock of stability, if you will. I don’t get too excited about good things and I don’t get too upset about bad things. But that’s good, right? Well…maybe not as much as I like to think.

I’m starting to believe that I drank the “don’t get your hopes up” Kool-Aid.

When we get hurt, we all have this natural response to protect ourselves. We build walls around our heart so we will never be disappointed. But those same walls that keep out the bad, also keep out the good.

An Unfair Trade

Every day we can choose hope with the chance that it won’t work out the way we plan. Or we can choose to protect ourselves behind a wall of fear. You would think we would always choose hope. But that’s not the case.

We’ve been conditioned to believe disappointment is so bad that we will trade all hope to avoid it. 

Because we haven’t learned to handle disappointment and failure, we lose all perspective. A hopeful heart is too vulnerable, we think. The world is a bad place filled with bad people looking to hurt us at every turn. If no one is going to protect us, then we have to protect ourselves.

In those moments, our safety sounds much more appealing than hope in the unknown.

Reframing Disappointment

Disappointments come when we have unmet expectations. So to understand our disappointment, we must figure out what we’re expecting out of a situation.

If you are expecting that every situation is going to work out exactly as you envision, you’re in for quite a surprise. It’s like going shopping on Black Friday and thinking that granny won’t throw an elbow at your face to grab that last flat screen TV.

Our expectations can also swing to the other side. There’s a phrase that says, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” It sounds good on the surface, but I think it’s crap. If you are preparing for the worst, how can you possibly hope for the best? The worst is the worst, am I right?

“we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

There has to be something in between rainbows and unicorns and doom and gloom. 

This verse in Romans is the key to unlocking hope. Paul explains how hope is formed. It’s a process of development in our lives. For those who like lists, here’s how it’s laid out:

  1. Expect tribulation (any difficult circumstance)
  2. Form perseverance (keep going through tribulation) It’s like strength training for your heart
  3. Develop character (change your mindset/expectations/habits)
  4. Establish hope

Paul says when this happens, the hope we develop will not disappoint. This is pretty amazing because when we know hope will no longer disappoint, we can stop building those walls. We can throw out our unrealistic expectations and allow anything we face to change us for the better.

Another translation says “hope will not put us to shame”. Shame is rooted in fear. When we frame our circumstances correctly we don’t have to fear getting our hopes up. We can learn to harness hope.

Don’t trade the process of forming hope for the illusion of your own safety. We all will face struggles. Our measure of hope comes from how we respond to them.

So don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Go ahead and get your hopes up.


  1. Lisa wier says:

    I was just looking up the the spirit of fear, and came across tour articles. God, ordained for me today. Thank you.

  2. I know I’m late… this post was lost in my Pocket… but great post, Tony. Love it!

  3. Interesting post Tony. 🙂
    and it’s true. I like it very much.
    Don’t lose hope for good things. 🙂

  4. It seems that “don’t get your hopes up” thinking is a survival mechanism. Do I really trust the Creator to work things out for my good or not. Me, I don’t sometimes. A lot of times. I think you’re right. That even keel may not be we thought it was after all. Great words Tony.

    • I absolutely believe we use it as a survival mechanism. Trust is such a huge issue for most of us. I think how we frame disappointments has a lot to do with our ability to trust.

  5. When we hope for something, we create an atmosphere, a mindset, that helps create a reality for us. It’s like the self-fulfilling prophecy – if you’re hoping for something, you’re thinking about it all the time, your actions begin to change, and it ends up coming to pass (with God of course). If you’re constantly expecting the worse, you aren’t going to take risks, be creative, or find yourself in the right places to meet the right people – and you end up getting less than what you could have. Great post, Tony!
    Jason Vana recently posted..Advent Deeper: Hope Again

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