Hope. In Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord declares that he will give me hope and a future. In scripture, hope means “a strong and confident expectation.”
As I was reflecting over 2015, and planning for 2016, I found that I have lost my hope. I have lost my hope in a future. I have lost my hope in the dreams I once had. I have even lost my hope in possibilities. I have lost my hope that “things” will ever be better than they are right now. I have lost my hope.
For 2016, I am dedicating myself to spending more time in relationship with God and studying His word. As I spend more time with Him, I am starting to see things more clearly and how all this has happened. It is all very simple, really, how I became hopeless, or without hope.
I had put all my hope in the world. I depended a lot on what people said. I put a lot of weight on what people thought of me. I cared way too much about how I was perceived by others. I based my entire identity on who the world thought I was. Or to be more precise, on whom I thought the world wanted me to be. And over and over again, the world let me down. Yet, I felt like I repeatedly let everyone in the world down.
Throughout this blog, I will mention that for years I knew God. The reality is I knew who God was/is. But I didn’t have a relationship with Him. The funny thing is, as it turns out, you don’t really ever know that you don’t KNOW God, until you really KNOW God. I hope the person who needs to understand what I am saying gets this concept.
In my studies, I am learning that the only thing true and constant is Jesus Christ. I want my hope to be found in what is true. And I definitely want my hope to be constant. It would only make sense that I would find my hope in the Lord.
So, you may be wondering, what am I doing to get my hope back?
First, I am seeking God
Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
When I put my hope in Jesus, it is pretty easy to seek him with all of my heart. When I am truly tuning in to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to me, I am amazed at what I hear. God’s living word is on paper for every living soul to read, and get a glimpse of his love for us. Daily, I am seeking God. I talk to him. I sing to him. We laugh together… mostly at me. We are in a valuable relationship, so we communicate.
Next, I am surrounding myself with Godly relationships
I am certain, that you say as much as I do, “I don’t have time for that,” or “I’m too busy.” We all are. It’s the worldly way. If you are not too busy and over committed then you must be lazy, right? I have found that, until I can get less busy and stop over committing, that the best thing to do is find like-minded people. I look for the other parents that I know are Christians at the football game. I sit with the ladies from bible study at the swim meets. Sometimes you have to just start small. Simply change who you are hanging out with!
If you can’t do that, just change the conversation. Decided you won’t participate in a negative conversation! Hebrews 3:13 tells us to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
In one of my very worst tribulations, I committed myself to not participate in negative conversations with my neighbor. I knew that if i did, it would almost be a contest of who could complain the most about how bad our messes were. It was the very best thing I could do! You know why? Because it was contagious! Instead of out doing each other on how big our mess was, we talked about how great our God was, and that in the midst of our mess, God was there and we could see him working. Hebrews 10:24 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” And positive conversations that help us realize how good God is, even in our trials and messes, do just that!
Finally, I won’t give up
Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” I believe God’s promises. And he promised in Jeremiah 29:11 to give me “hope and a future.” I know that a life without hope is not the life that God has planned for me. I believe that this is only a valley, and the Lord is leading me through this valley. And I know beyond any doubt that this valley is not my destination and that my journey is not near over.
We don’t’ have to just keep our heads above water. We were created for so much more! Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” So seek God, be patient and surround yourself with the right people, and don’t give up. Hope for hope!