“Are you driven by fear or hope?”

The words jumped off of a Facebook ad for Christopher West’s Cry of the Heart, and seemingly slapped me across the face recently.

I’ve lived in fear.

Fear of who I am, fear of what God was calling me to do with my life, fear of rejection, fear of persecution.

That list could probably go on and on. Let’s just say, I’ve lived with a lot of fears.

Those days have passed, thankfully, and I live in hope.

Does living in hope mean that you never experience fear? Of course not. As I often share, it simply means that you fear less.

Fear is decreased while hope is increased.

Hope buoys you with strength and joy, it’s unshakable faith no matter what the circumstance. Fear can be a great motivator (as lots of inspirational quotes remind us), but not necessarily in the most positive way. Decisions that I make out of hope are far different than those I make out of fear.

When I think about living a life of fear versus a life of hope, I can’t help but consider the experiences of those facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies.

Fear tells you that you won’t succeed. You can’t do it all. You can’t have both—a child and an education or a child and a career.

Fear tells you that you’re alone. No one supports you. You have nowhere to turn for help.

Fear tells you that the child you are carrying is better off dead. The world will be too much for them to bear with their set of health issues or potential disabilities.

Fear tells you that abortion is the only option.

Hope, on the other hand, tells a different story.

Hope says, “You can do this.” Will it be hard? Yes, but you CAN do it. You can finish school. You can have your career. And yes, you can have your child. You don’t have to choose one over the other.

Hope says that no matter how alone you feel, there is always someone who will help and support you. Maybe it’s the local pregnancy center or a local church and program like Embrace Grace. Maybe it’s a staff member at your school or university. Maybe it’s a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in a long time. Even if those closest to you are pressuring you into an abortion, there are others who will support you.

Hope says, “life may not look like what you expected it to, but it’s still beautiful, no matter how it’s packaged.” Hope says there will be lessons and blessings wrapped up in the uncertainties and the suffering. Hope says that every life has purpose and meaning.

No matter what you’re facing in your life, I encourage you live a life driven by hope.

And as the quote above from Nelson Mandela reminds us, “may your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears.”

What are your choices reflecting?