By the time I was 26 years old, I had consumed 250,000 pills; spent 14,235 hours doing breathing treatments; and racked up $663,000 in medical bills – most of that on daily medication. These personal statistics are enough to make the average person feel hopeless – I’ve certainly felt that from time to time, especially this year during the pandemic. My name is Mandy B. Anderson and I have cystic fibrosis.
The first time I ever remember experiencing Hope Deferred was as a freshman in high school.
I tried out for All State Choir and was certain I would make it in. I was absolutely shocked when I didn’t, and cried for hours about it. In dramatic fashion I played a song by the Christian group Avalon over and over again as I poured out my heart to God and reminded myself that the dreams God had for me were indeed bigger than the dreams I had for me.
How could God’s dreams be bigger than me becoming the next Celine Dion? My freshman heart couldn’t fathom that. Nor would I have bet my life on the fact that when I finally did make it into All State Choir my senior year, I would pass up the chance to attend for trying to win a beauty pageant. (I actually did win the beauty pageant. I mean, scholarship pageant. And while the experience helped with my stage presence, it did not land me the dream job of becoming the next Celine Dion.)
So, I guess the news I received this year on August 4, 2020 proves something: now at the age of 38 years old, I’ve matured.
Finally. You see, that was the day I found out that the TEDx Talk I was scheduled to speak at the following week got cancelled because of the pandemic known as Coronavirus. It’s the main villain of 2020 and has stolen many hopes this year. Yes, I was beyond sad. I was let down. But I quickly realized that the silver lining was this: I didn’t lose my opportunity to actually be a TED Speaker. It just got deferred until 2021. I get another year to prepare and hone my message.
Maybe the fact that I’ve been down the road of Hope Deferred many times before makes this one easier to swallow. Or maybe it’s the fact that I know the opportunity is still there in the future. It’s probably a little bit of both. Hope Deferred and I are well acquainted by now.
My best friend and business partner says the thing I do best is turning pain into purpose – quickly. Ha. If I didn’t do that, I’d be the rightful queen of a land called Debbie Downerville. My life has been sprinkled with Hope Deferred moments of loss and setbacks. It’s how I got my PhD from the School of Hard-knocks. (Who else wishes that was a real PhD? Anyone?)
Here’s a glimpse into my journey of Hope Deferred.
Growing up there were times where I was looking forward to a school event but couldn’t go because I was in the hospital. Ten years ago my husband and I lost everything we owned to a devastating apartment fire that left me with PTSD and anxiety I had never known before. I know what it’s like to pray for healing of CF only to end up in the hospital and almost die.
Every time I was disappointed with my circumstances, I had a choice: wallow and stay in the disappointment permanently or find a way to make it matter. After a healthy dose of grieving, I always choose to make it matter. Every time.
For the last decade I have used my disappointments to fuel my ability to rise up and help others. I share my experiences, teaching them in coaching groups and private sessions and on in-person and virtual stages. I design courses and books to help people apply the lessons I’ve learned. Why? Because my hope is that someone else will be able to rise up and help others, too, because of the lessons I have shared with them from my own disappointments and setbacks.
You see, hope is dangerous like that. It comes with the risk of not getting the thing you hoped for.
But my friend, I’m here to encourage you today to lean into the hopelessness when it comes. There’s something valuable in it that will equip you to keep going. And that is the real danger of hope! Hope changes things.
Hope is a long game, and I strongly believe that not even a pandemic can snuff it out! What have you hoped for this year that was snatched from you? I encourage you today to lean into the hopelessness of it to learn what’s there for you in it. And when more setbacks and disappointments happen? Disrupt them. Turn them into something meaningful that burns bright with a dangerous hope of action for others.
P.S. You’ve only got a few days left to pre-order my new book, Dangerous Hope, and get in on all of the one-time-offer bonuses! Visit https://publishizer.com/dangerous-hope to pre-order 1, 2, 5, or 15+ copies today! The more copies you pre-order, the better bonuses you get! (Like access to the Build Hope Library, One-on-One Coaching, Virtual Workplace Training, and MORE!) Offer ends November 11th! Thank you so much for your support…I can’t wait to get it into your hands!