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Take better care of your hope

Haiti grief 1 89f79fe6
George is a hard charging businessman who is known for getting things done. Now his marriage is a mess. He and his wife fight over the kids, the house, their finances. He’s lost hope.   Sue is 27 and unemployed. She’s moved back into her parents’ basement. She’s lonely and is beginning t…
By Seth Barnes
Haiti grief 1George is a hard charging businessman who is known for getting things done. Now his marriage is a mess. He and his wife fight over the kids, the house, their finances. He’s lost hope.
 
Sue is 27 and unemployed. She’s moved back into her parents’ basement. She’s lonely and is beginning to think she may never get married. She can’t afford her medication – she feels like life is circling the drain.
 
Jennifer is a mom without any life direction now that her kids are gone. She spent 20+ years pouring herself into her family and feels like her life is as empty as her house. When she thinks about the future, it’s bleak.
 
The homeless guy in this blog said, “I want hope, I want to quit
drinking, but I have no hope.”
People in America are more hopeless than they’ve been in a while. Their personal issues weigh heavy on them. Unemployment is up, debt is up and life is hard. The drumbeat of bad news fills their days and they don’t trust politicians to do anything about it.
 
We need hope if we’re to navigate life and we need to do a better job of taking care of the hope that we do have. The book of Hebrews talks about “taking hold of hope” so that we may be “greatly encouraged.” It calls this hope “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”*
 
Do you have hope that is anchoring your soul? Or does your soul feel like it’s floundering in a sea of adverse circumstances? It wasn’t meant to be like this. We all need more hope in our lives and we need to take better care of the hope that we’ve got.
 
What gives you hope? Your job? Your kids? Your theology? A lot of people go through life overwhelmed, looking forward to death as a way of wiping the slate clean and starting over. They sing the song, “Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away.”
 
We can do better than that. What exactly did Jesus mean when he promised us abundant life? Was he blowing smoke? Things were tough for his disciples. Their country was under siege; they themselves were homeless; they were persecuted and ultimately martyred – yet they remained hopeful. What did they understand that we’re missing?
 
We need to learn how to care for our hope. We need to protect it from attack and we need to add to it. Here are a few ideas as to how:
 
Protecting hope
Stop watching so much news. 90% of the news you hear through the media is bad news. It doesn’t even touch your life and there’s little you can do about it. There are other ways to stay informed without hearing about all the people that died in your town or how the economy is a mess.
 
Stop worrying. If you find yourself thinking “what if” a lot, then you’re living in an imaginary future. Choose to live in the present. As Jesus told his disciples, “Who of you can add one hour to your life by worrying?”**
 
Adding hope
Change your thoughts. What is right in your life? What gifts have you been given? What opportunities do you have? The Bible tells us to think about “whatever is true, noble, right, and pure.”***  Begin by making a list of those things.
 
Change your prayers. Instead of asking God for help all the time, thank and praise him for what he’s already given you. Cultivate a thankful heart and God will meet you in the midst of your prayer.
 
Change your friends. One of my daughters recently recounted how glad she was to get out of her old negative workplace. Teachers, don’t go to the teachers’ lounge if the people who hang out there are going to complain about their students. We all need to stop hanging out with losers unless God is specifically telling us to minister to them.

*Hebrews 6:18-19

**Matt. 6:27

***Phil. 4:8

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