If you haven’t read part one, skip back and read it before starting this one.
It hopefully (pun intended) inspired and challenged you to make sure your hope is deeply rooted in God and His promises. Being someone who has hope IN them is important, but it is hard. It requires us to be intentional about our thoughts, actions and sometimes even the people that we hang around with. I don’t want you to feel guilty for feeling hopeless at times or overwhelmed. It’s not like that. But I do want to encourage you to not settle for that.
So, here is a list of six things I do to ‘build hope’ when I don’t feel like taking on the world:
1) Give thanks – Remembering what He has done gives me confidence in His nature and that He will do it again. Thankfulness for who God is, what He has done, and what I’ve already been blessed with helps us to keep perspective and have faith for the future. Never under estimate the power of gratitude to change our lives.
2) Be real – No spiritual rose tinting. Don’t pretend everything is fine; that won’t help you and it won’t help others. Be real, everything is not perfect. We don’t become people of hope by summoning a false hope to make ourselves feel better. Things can be crappy now but it doesn’t change who God is.
3) Look up – God is bigger, much bigger than our problems and has promised that He works all things for good. Even the bad stuff has a purpose with Him. We are not promised that we will never have tough times; we are promised that God will never leave us and there will be purpose to our suffering.
4) Look down – The Bible tells us we are seated in heavenly places in Christ. That basically means we can have heaven’s perspective on things. We can zoom out from our current place in the journey, reflect on how far we’ve come and remember that it’s not going to last forever. Sometimes a bit of perspective is all we need to keep going.
5) Only accept what’s yours – James tells us that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Which is a good thing. There will be hard times and we need to accept and learn from them. It’s easy to be hopeful when everything is good but that’s not when it counts most. Going through hard times is part of life. However, you do not have to accept guilt or shame. You don’t have to feel worthless or as if you are being punished. No good comes from that and it’s NOT from God.
6) Finally; Skip to the end – Read Revelation 21… It all works out in the end. Ultimately we have the promise, through Jesus, of being made right with God and entering a new world where there is no more pain or crying or suffering or death. That’s a pretty good reason to have hope.
I hope (pun intended again!) that these will help you to build real hope in your life. A hope in Him and a hope that inspires you to dream, take risks and explore all God has for you. I also hope (again!) that it begins to impact those around you. True hope is infectious and right now so much negativity and fear is being spread; it’s up to us to spread a little hope.