Hope Is Not a Strategy

I’ve apparently reached that fun stage of life where I get to experience the unforeseen joy of things that can only be labeled unglamorously as “gallbladder issues”.

In April last year I spent a week in misery and all loathsome symptoms (you can look them up if you want to but let’s just say I saw a lot of the bathroom floor) pointed to the pesky little organ housed under my right rib cage.

I’d never given much thought to my gallbladder before, but apparently, according to the NHS, “ The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ in the upper right part of your tummy. It stores bile, a fluid produced by the liver that helps break down fatty foods. You don’t need a gallbladder, so surgery to take it out is often recommended if you develop any problems with it.

Well, I needed mine, especially since a common side effect of gallbladder removal is “chronic IBS.” Not willing to lose a body part if I could help it, I had a decision to make. I could hope it just miraculously healed on its own, or I could take action and do my part to lessen the load for my poor little organ.

I read that common culprits for gallbladder issues included some of my favorite guilty pleasures: fat, sugar, white flour, etc. Of course. Could I really give those up? Remember, you’re talking to the girl who would have married pizza if Ben hadn’t come along.

As much as I would have preferred to sit around (preferably at Mellow Mushroom) and hope my gallbladder issues would just go away, all evidence suggested that unless I did something about it, I would be in agony again or under a knife in the very near future.

So, I did the work. I meticulously tracked calories and macros each day using a free app on my phone, making sure to keep my fats and sugars lower than the daily allowance. I haven’t been perfect, but, since the end of April, I’ve lost forty pounds, and I haven’t experienced gallbladder issues in eight glorious months!

Amen and amen.

If I was still eating the way I was before, just hoping for something to change, there’s no doubt in my mind I’d still be sick.

It’s the same way with other things, too.

You see, we’re not the first kids to do this thing called life. Many have gone before us, and we’ve seen what it takes to be successful in different areas. But we have to be willing to do the necessary “hard” to achieve the desired outcome.

For example, if you are hoping to buy a house but not working, where will you be a year from now? San Francisco?

You may hope to be debt-free, but it you are unwilling to curb unnecessary spending, how will you ever be rid of your creditors?

Or you may be hoping that even though you haven’t surrendered your life to God, that your good will outweigh your bad in the end and he’ll give a little wink and let you into heaven anyway.

Hope is not a strategy.

Action based on evidence is a much better way to go.

Evidence can be based, scientifically, on experiment with repeatable outcome. It can also be the corroborated testimony of an eyewitness; for example, we trust the factuality of historical events based on the testimony of the people who lived through them.

Evidence proves the hypothesis, and most likely will produce the same outcome again and again; such as less calories in will most likely result in weight loss.

Evidence is agreed upon by those who have observed it; such as the apostles who physically saw Christ die a gruesome death on the cross and then later saw him walking around, miraculously resurrected from the dead. They talked with him, saw him ascend back into heaven, and went each to their own horrific death unwilling to retract their story.

Evidence corresponds with reality, and will bestow the same outcome on both believers and non-believers alike.

I have always learned the hard way, but I am grateful for second, third, and thirty-fifth chances to get it right.

What are you hoping for?

Base your hope in reality, and go after what it takes to get there.

Hope is not a strategy, but action based on evidence seems to work just fine.

Happy New Year, friends.


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