by Diane Cretin
Webster's dictionary defines hope as:
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment
2. to expect with confidence: trust
Wikipedia says this:
Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with confidence" and "to cherish a desire with anticipation."
The Bible looks at hope a little differently:
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"
We now live in a time when our "normal" life has changed. There are so many issues in play - Covid 19 and all that goes with it, the upcoming election, social injustice, and the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg just to name a few. Many people have lost jobs and are trying to figure out how to pay their rent and have enough money to buy food. Times are challenging.
Any of these factors could cause one to struggle relating to feeling hopeful, let alone experiencing all of them at once. We want to trust things will get better but are not sure of when or how this will happen.
The reality is that our journey is not normally a straight line but more like a twisted, hilly road. On the downhill straight section we may pick up speed and feel like things are calm and we know our path. Then comes a sharp corner or steep incline and life gets harder again.
So what can we do?
For me, I have needed to increase my prayer life. I have been spending more time reading the Psalms and hang onto the words of Psalm 9:18
"But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish."
I talk to my best friend now more than ever to process thoughts and concerns. I use my salt lamp and calming essential oils. I listen to uplifting music. I am just starting to reread a book by Beth Moore called Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance. I started it years ago and felt better before I got to the end, so I am hoping that happens again.
What else can we do?
Look for the positives
During this time of Covid 19 when my husband is working 100% from home and I am primarily working from home I have been able to reconnect with my husband in a wonderful way. We have more time to talk and enjoy each other's company. I will eternally be thankful for this.
Look for the helpers
As Mr. Rogers would say:
This can include talking to a professional counselor.
Look for ways to improve your health
Sleep more. Eat healthy. Limit your television watching to shows that make you feel better, not worse or more fearful. Limit your time online on apps like Facebook and Instagram.
Look for some new skill to acquire.
This can give you something fun to focus on rather than feeling out of control. Some people are learning to knit or play the guitar. Others are doing more artwork, such as adult coloring, painting, and more. Still others may be building more things with wood or other materials.
As we know, there is a battle going on. We know God wins. But we as followers were never told life would be easy. I believe God wants us to do our part to improve our situation. I pray that you will spend some time communing with God to figure out the best steps for you personally to maintain or increase your sense of hope.