MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
“I just can’t take it anymore!”
These are statements often uttered from the mouths of people who have given up hope. Whether it’s in life, business, sports, or relationships, we all need hope to keep on going. Hope is the elusive elixir of life. It is the fuel that makes the engine of our lives move forward. While gas may be nearly $5 a gallon in the US, we cannot even begin to put a value on the price of hope.
Hope is what gets that man out of bed even though he’s been out of work for 6 months. Hope is what allows that woman to keep a smile on her face even when she’s alone, feeling lonely, and love hasn’t visited her in quite a while. Hope is what allows us to go to sleep at night and have peace when all hell is breaking loose. Hope is the one thing in our life that is not dependent solely on what’s going on in our life. In fact, hope is the expectation that, regardless of how bad things may be right now, they WILL get better. Hope is “the expectation of good.”
Now, I know you may be saying, “Prime, things are so bad right now, I don’t know if I can have any hope, and I wouldn’t recognize hope if it knocked on my door.” My friend, the reality is BECAUSE things are so bad is why you really NEED hope. Your life may be hanging on by a thread (many friends and love ones have left you for dead), but now is the time to grab hold of the rope of hope. When you hang on to hope…hope won’t leave you hanging. (Somebody should just clap right there!)
The thing about hope is that you have to hope in something bigger than yourself or your situation. For me, my hope is rooted in my relationship with the Lord. I found hope in Him when I couldn’t find hope in PMS – Power Money & Sex. I was living in a big house, but I didn’t have hope. I was driving expensive cars, but they could not give me hope. As a matter of fact, I was suicidal. The enemy had tricked me into believing that I would be much better off dead. I had all of the things that society said should make you happy, but you can’t be happy if you don’t have hope. I had all those things, yet I had no hope. But there is good news. Even if you don’t have PMS…you can still have hope!
One of my spiritual mentors, Bishop Alfred Owens, often says that hope is the “neglected triplet.” The Bible talks about faith, hope and love in I Corinthians 13. Most people focus on faith and love, but few people take the time to talk about hope. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is famous for saying, “Keep hope alive!” I have found that is often easier said than done. So the question remains, “How can I have hope when my life seems hopeless?” It seems like nobody cares. I’m jobless. I can’t support my kids. I don’t have a career. I’m neglected, overlooked, abandoned, and rejected.
The TRUTH is, hope has nothing to do with what’s going on around you. It has everything to do with what’s going on inside you. I refuse to allow my environment or people, places or things to control the thermostat of my life, and I don’t care how YOU feel about me, what matters the most is how I feel about me! In a few weeks, I will be speaking in Winston-Salem, NC for an event called “Hope on the Inside”* sponsored by the Forsyth Jail & Prison Ministries. This ministry focuses on bringing hope to men and women who are incarcerated and to their families. The thing about some of you is that you are free, but yet you’re incarcerated. And there are many people in jail that are incarcerated, but they’re free. If a man or woman in prison can have hope, why can’t you?
The reality is, however, that while many of us are walking around free we are locked up in our own internal prisons. We are bound the guilt and shame of our past, but the key to freedom is hope. You do not have to be a prisoner to your past. Hope sets you free! Guilt and shame will always focus on your past, but hope looks toward your future. Guilt and shame focus on what you DID. Hope focuses on who you ARE. And who you ARE is better than what you DID! TRUTH!
Don’t get caught up in the mistakes of your past. Leave your past in the past, and look with hope toward your future. Although I looked back with my hand on my head highstepping…I could never run at full speed looking back! As the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13-14, we are to forget what’s behind us, and reach for what is in front of us. The only way we can reach forward is if we have hope. I must warn you though, hope comes with side effects. When you have hope, it’s hard for you to be selfish. When your life is filled with hope, you want to do everything in your power to share it with someone else.
HOPE = Helping Others Pursue Excellence
Hope doesn’t just make you better; it helps you to make others better. That’s what it did for me. Hope is what caused me to start the Primetime Sports Association, the TRUTH organization, and Prime Prep Academy, and to be the face of Georgia and Texas in the summer feeding program where we feed up to 100,000 kids a day and employ up to 50 kids in the summer months through the Texas Workforce Commission. It’s because of hope that I drive two hours every day to work with kids and families to help them see that they have a bright future, not only in sports, but in academics. Hope turned my life around, and it can turn yours around too. I used to dance when I scored touchdowns. Now I dance when I see the smiles of hope on the faces of kids and parents in our TRUTH program.
Hope is a powerful thing. It can turn any time into Primetime!
Tejado W. Hanchell