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Hope as Incentive

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Hope points to solutions. At times it points to upcoming solutions and possibilities and at other times it shows directly the actions that are necessary. The former is vague, whereas in the latter situation the necessary action is clear. It is thus evident that Hope exists only within the action and that failure is a guaranteed outcome of inaction. It is a motivation pointing to a reward and thus maintains a person's ability to continue. Without the promise of a reward along the way, many will give up. The lake in which Tantalus stood receded at his attempts to drink and the branches pulled away at his reach; he was like a dog chasing its tail. You may need to offer incentives of Hope along the way as rewards; these are only realized as a reward for specific actions. Inaction or misaction are not rewarded and may include negative consequences instead.

When seeking to and attempting to return, an MLCer will take many missteps, but he will also do some things right and with a genuine heart. Be firm: missteps have consequences, but also offer incentives for appropriate actions. If he has come and left multiple times, there are consequences for leaving and consequences for contacting the OW, but there also must be positive consequences for appropriate behaviour--these fuel his Hope and without them, he may discontinue further attempts to return and rebuild.

Signs

Do you need to see to believe and thus to have Hope? Many search for signs of Hope. Has God sent a sign, has their MLCer dropped clues--intentionally or unintentionally? MLCer clues may be evidence toward greater probabilities--though such things are often misinterpreted. Certainly look to God for Hope. But God places Hope within you; it is for you to create. If you do not receive an external sign, you may not have noticed it or God wants you to look inward.

Some people ask for specific signs. If I'm lying, may I be struck by lightning. Since being struck by lighting is a rare occurrence, most would consider it a sign, particularly when it follows a request. But many request signs of commonality. God, show me Starbucks stores. Um, in some cities there seems to be a Starbucks on every corner. It is wasteful to request that God show you something that is almost guaranteed. But why dictate to God how He should give you His messages? In some ways, this may water-down the meaning. Maybe the lack of a (recognizable) sign is a sign in itself that you are seeking to find a way to cling to something that will enable you to wait passively rather than continue living.

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