As I completed my degree, I realized I had a substantial gift for research and synthesizing information. I decided that I wanted to pursue a master’s degree and began my studies in government administration.This degree program had a strong background in ethics – which became my Master’s thesis. Once I finished my master’s degree, I decided to start the process of earning a doctoral degree.
After searching for online doctoral degrees, Regent University offered the most available and exciting choice. I had spent many years in secular academia, so Regent was a breath of fresh air, allowing me to use my spiritual gift of wisdom. My early exploration uncovered hope theory, developed by Dr. C. R. Snyder, which inspired my doctoral dissertation on hope. Hope theory details the basics of how people organize their lives using goals, motivation, and planning together to build their future. This new theory has benefited many people over the past thirty years by helping them find hope despite the despair in this world.
I recently finished my dissertation proposal defense on Messenger of Hope: A Narrative Analysis of the Biography of the Apostle Paul and his Message of Hope. My argument focuses on how hope begins when you realize there is an attainable future. Hope is a unique part of civilized humanity available only to people who believe there is a future for them. My goal with my research is to help create heartfelt meaning that perseveres in a toxic, immoral world.
Background of Hope Theory
Dr. Winston, a Regent’s School of Business and Leadership professor, documented that hope theory also had cross-disciplinary applications for expanding the leadership discipline. Hope theory expands leadership theory by applying goals, motivation, and planning together in a more systematic manner. Through further research, I realized hope theory can also be used for organizations, people, and churches.
Jurgen Moltmann, Professor of Systematic Theology and author of Theology of Hope, observed that life consists of a struggle between death and decay, hunger, and perversion, which co-exists with eternal life, righteousness, joy, and abundance. This living contrast reminds us of the sliding scale between despair and hope, with us somewhere in the middle.
With this inspiration, I realized the apostle Paul’s life was a great example of how to maintain hope even when living through difficult times. Paul was instrumental in developing this message of hope to people who had none. His concept of hope created more transcendent goals to lead people out of their earth-focused lives, and hope theory expands this. I have seen many Christians and churches begin their spiritual journey full of hope, only to fail later in life and lose their purpose and joy., because they did not continue their journey.
Hope is something you create and work to accomplish it to build a better future.
The following six principles summarize my dissertation framework in developing hope in organizations and individuals –a solution to creating hope for everyone:
The first principle looks at how hope thrives when a person understands their strengths. Thus, our starting point is learning how to build on them. Snyder realized that hope is a created process in our lives, and a major way to strengthen it is to work daily to develop it.
The second principle is that hope lives when people can see their dreams through their current darkness. Our dreams and vision for the future are at the top of a long ladder. This principle forms the transcendent goals of a better life. Even when facing challenging times, understanding that we can push through and achieve our goals helps keep hope alive.
The third principle is that hope lives when people know their purpose for creating and living in hope. Purpose should reflect and illustrate a person’s most inspirational, selfless nature that speaks to the heart. A person’s purpose is part of their goal and motivation –so they can find joy in the worst of times and the best of times –because our purpose is selfless.
The fourth principle is that hope lives when a person’s desires are strong enough to accomplish their dreams. The “why” of seeking hope comes from the innermost desire of a person to gain their dream. This desire fuels your motivation during your journey –no matter how long it takes.
The fifth principle is hope lives when you carefully plan this journey to accomplish your dreams. This effort requires research and careful detail to find the right path and plan for barriers.
The sixth and final principle is hope lives when a person journeys to find hope. This step develops on the more practical day-to-day work efforts that empower you to execute each step and build the motivation to accomplish your goals.
No one can hand it to you – some may help – however, only the dreamer can accomplish their dream and pursue hope. Hope always renews itself from dream to dream in the journey of life. We know hope begins with salvation, yet we do not teach hope to Christians as the template to enrich the rest of our lives. Hope is essential in our Christian journey until our vision of hope is complete in heaven.
Hope lives in the future and you must take the journey to find it.