As Christians, we have an ultimate eternal hope which is the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. However, at times, some of us feel hopeless, which is normal. Perhaps for you it might be a difficult time of year or a very sad time coming up to the Christmas season with the loss of loved ones no longer around. I don’t wish to minimise your loss, it’s real and it’s okay to feel that way. The downside is that studies show those with low hope tend to live with poorer health and that could lead to a greater propensity to illnesses like cancer and heart disease. So what can be done about a lack of hope?
Studies have found that if we can improve our hope, this translates to greater well-being, better social skills and proactivity about illness prevention which then assists living healthier lifestyles. It is not only possible to instil some hope into our thinking if we feel a bit down but there are also some proactive things we can do if this is the case. There are ways to focus on hope versus sadness or hopelessness.
Here are some strategies to build hope in your life.
Seek out those who are hopeful:
It’s good to get around others with hope to begin to see yourself with a better tomorrow. People seeking therapy, who have a high hope and expectancy about the outcome, come out with better results than those who don’t. Also, if the coach or therapist is hopeful that something will work, then this too has a direct impact on the success (or not) of therapy. If you think about this for yourself, you may at times feel a bit down or hopeless about a situation but talking to somebody who is positive and who believes that things are possible for you, helps you to believe ‘yes, I can do this’ and ‘I’m going to be okay’. So perhaps search out these people.
Find someone to trust:
Hope is attached to trust. Coming up to the Christmas season, even if it’s tough one, hope and trust that the Lord is working everything (even loss), for good as we come into what might be a sad season. As we trust in the Lord to work things out then this promotes hope and the possibilities for a better tomorrow. The song ‘Seven in Heaven’ (a link is at the end of my blog—The Story Behind The Song-- https://bit.ly/3u2UoJM for me, brings hope that those I love will make a God-choice and will be in heaven where I will see them again. If you have lost someone please have a listen and hopefully you will be encouraged.
When things were rough in my marriage around the 20-year mark (we have now been married 37 years), I had to trust that God was somehow working it all out for good and I’m so glad that we worked on our marriage and things are so much better now, even though at that time I lost trust in my husband. Instead, I had to look up and put my trust in the Lord. Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees when times are tough.
‘The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in His mercy.’ Psalm 146:11 NKJV
Perhaps, like me, you could do something proactive about building more hope in your life. I love the 96threeFM and Vison radio stations as they provide hope just tuning in to the radio. We receive a strong positive message about Jesus Christ.
Journal hopeful memories:
Hope can also be an intervention in terms of coaching or therapy by using journaling as an exercise. A way to do this is to remember when you’ve had hope before for something and how it felt and worked out at that time. By doing this you can apply the same principle in your present circumstances.
Think about hopeful people:
Another strategy is to think about a hopeful person you know and how they would react in your situation. This can be something that might help if you are feeling a bit hopeless. Sometimes you can piggyback on somebody else’s hope.
You could jot down some goals and pray about them.
Find Bible verses about hope:
Have a read of Psalm 88. This is a great psalm to read and appreciate how hope can be realised when things seem hopeless.
Hand out hope:
You could begin by giving practical hope to others by spending time with someone who may be sad this Christmas season by showing some empathic care and a listening ear. Being interested in others, in the context of relationships, can help your hope increase. Is there someone that you help by spending some time with them?
‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15:13 NKJV
Enlist the help of the Holy Spirit:
I believe the strongest help we can have is from the Lord. Hope can be for you, a supernatural and spiritual transaction as it brings joy and peace as the above verse declares. God gives an abundance of hope as we put ourselves in His hands. He is the ultimate in hope. If I feel miserable in the morning (which can be often), simply by spending some time worshipping the Lord, dancing to Christian music and then praying brings my hope levels back to where I can effectively start my day brighter — for me and for those I help.
Let’s do something proactive about hope this Christmas of 2022.
We can share the hope of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, in a manger, who was and is the light of the world.
Love and Blessings
Listen to more-96three FM, 10.30 am Thursdays.
Or Vision radio 20twenty with Neil Johnson
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