Doomscrolling is a new term that has come to fore during these Covid times. It refers to our tendency to continue to scroll through news articles full of bad news, despite how saddening, disheartening or depressing the news is.
This Doomscrolling is not limited to Covid-related news but it seems that Covid is one of the main culprits!
It’s no surprise then that many of us are functioning as people of despair instead of people of Hope.
I think many of us consider Hope to be something that some people just have and we (or others) don’t. And maybe it does come more naturally to some of us, but ultimately, hope is something that is either growing in us or being squashed.
Hope must be cultivated.
This point was hammered home for me while listening to an NT Wright talk on the topic of Hope. Now I’m sure NT Wright isn’t the only person (or even the first person!) to point out this truth. But he’s the person I heard it from. Perhaps I’d heard it before and forgotten it, but this time it stuck!
There are two key aspects to Hope. The first is what (or who) is the source of our hope. In other words, what are we hoping for? Who are we hoping in?
We know the right answer! And we may say that our Hope is in the Lord but we must ask ourselves whether that is really true in practice!
Often when I feel hopeless, I realize that it’s actually because I’m putting my hope in the wrong things.
If our hope is in things that cannot support the weight of that hope, then our hope will be in vain. As Paul says to the Corinthians, if our hope is in this life only then we are to be pitied (1 Cor 15:19). This life, though a good gift from God, cannot support the weight of our hope.
Rather, our Hope is the glory of God (Rom 5:2). And this Hope “does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). This is the Hope that can support the weight of all our expectations.
The second key aspect of Hope is how. How are we cultivating our Hope? Are we growing it or squashing it? Are we allowing Hope to flourish or are we squeezing the life out of it?
Many of our daily practices are doing their best to completely squash and destroy our hope. And I can think of no greater example than Doomscrolling!
Of course we should be informed and this is not a call to stick our heads in the sand! Rather this is a call to reconsider what we are dwelling on and what we are filling our minds with. We should be an informed people but we must take that information, be it sad, scary or downright depressing and place it within the context of our Hope.
Might I suggest that we begin a new practice – Hopescrolling!
Is it possible that we actually need a whole lot less time to stay up to date with the news, leaving us with a lot more time to fill our minds with all that is good and true and full of hope?
We have a Hope that will never disappoint.
May we be people who cultivate that Hope!