The Anatomy of Hope


Have you ever felt like you didn’t have hope of something getting better?  Hope is what keeps us going.  If we don’t have it, it is easy to fall into depression.  It doesn’t happen suddenly, but it is a gradual depletion of one of your “hope tanks.”  And hope depletion can lead to thoughts of suicide.  Pay attention to these tanks in your own life, and in the lives of the people around you.  Relationships, Emotions, Intellect, Vocation.  If you’ve thought, I have no hope, then you’re in need of a major fill up.  Pay attention:  where are you running low?


Read what guest blogger, Ben Bost, says about the anatomy of hope.

What are Hope Tanks?


The Anatomy of Hope

This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking and mentoring at the Idaho Student Leadership Forum. It’s an annual event hosted at the Capitol where student leadership from high schools and colleges gather to be encouraged is their growth.

The speakers included former Governor of Idaho and Secretary of the Interior under George H.W. Bush Dirk Kempthorn, current Governor Brad Little, Idaho Representative Heather Scott, veteran news anchor Dee Sarton, and ME!

Somebody didn’t get the memo! No way I should have been on this list but what an honor!

The people around us need us

My talk focused on helping them understand that leadership is about culture shaping and
 great culture shapers understand three things:

  • The world around them
  • Themselves
  • The needs of those they influence

I explained that we take the culture we are making into our sphere of influence and that sphere, like a circle, is always expanding and contracting. Sometimes there are more people in it than other times.

But those people we influence come with needs. 

Everyone needs hope

Ultimately, I demonstrated for the students through data that addressing anxiety, depression and suicide is the issue of their day and to lead means to be aware that the people they influence need HOPE!

But how does hope function? We often talk about hope in very ambiguous terms. Something we are able to identify when it’s missing but struggle to explain with words.

The 4 Hope Tanks

The graphic at the top of this post is an illustration I developed to explain how hope functions. We all have tanks…four of them. A relational tank, emotional tank, intellectual tank and vocational one. Each of these tanks have a function that contributes to our understanding of hope:

  • Relational – How we connect in life
  • Emotional – How we feel about life
  • Intellectual – How we think about life
  • Vocational – How we execute life

When one tank is depleted


The illustration is very simple, as our tanks deplete in these areas we become more hopeless. We don’t just arrive one day at hopelessness. And so, as an example, all it may take for one person is for their relational tank to deplete and they find them self contemplating suicide.

Someone might say…”Hey Ben, where is the eternal tank…the one that Jesus fills?”

Well, for those of us who follow Jesus we do have a fifth tank that never depletes and is filled by the eternal hope we have in Christ. But this is not true for everyone in our world. 

So as I seek to live out my faith, the goal is to do so in accordance with Hebrews 11:1 that says,

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

This means that I know what hope is and how it functions. It helps me translate to those around me how to find the kind of hope that keeps our tanks full and address them properly when they may be depleting. 

I HOPE this is helpful! 😉

Have a great week and love well!