The past few blogs have focused on raw emotions, purpose, and rejection. Now I want to take some time to focus on hope. What keeps us going even through our toughest days? How can we be optimistic even when we are struggling? This blog will be sharing some lessons I have learned and how others have implemented changes in order to cope with all they have been facing through the pandemic.
To begin with, I want to start with some scripture. Hebrews 11 is this beautiful account of all that was achieved by faith. If you need some encouragement on what faith can do and what living a life of faith looks like, I highly recommend reading this chapter. There were miracles taking place in their lives but the chapter states, ‘These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but have seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged they were strangers and exiles on earth.’ (v13).
There hope was in what they could not see but in what they had laid down their life to trust in . Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen., (11v1). I find this chapter hugely encouraging for my faith. It describes how many people who walked faithfully with the Lord did suffer, some in a more horrific way than others. To have faith does not mean life will be easy or my struggles will be few. However, I can keep my faith in the promises of God even when life is messy. My faith is not about direct results or everything always having to work out. It is in trusting the Lord: wherever I may find myself . I wanted to share this scripture because it is an encouragement to keep trusting and to continue in faith. God is working and has always been faithful. I carry the faith I have into the prayers for my friends, family, and my blog family. I pray our faith would remind us of how faithful God has been and continues to be.
Even if you are struggling to pray and find hope at the moment, know I pray for each person this blog reaches. I trust you will be able to find your hope again. Your passions and your dreams. May this season not defeat you.
How do we keep the faith? How do we remain motivated when we are struggling in a time of uncertainty?
I want to share with you about one of my family members, (I have asked their permission to). They struggle with a high level of anxiety and when the pandemic hit it was a overwhelming and a confusing time for them. Although many of the days they faced were hard, they began to channel the anxiety they were facing into doing something creative. It kept them occupied and helped to give some level of peace. One of those creative outlets was through a daily presentation on one of the walls of our house. Where they would put the date (which, was helpful as the weeks seemed to merge into one). Each day there was a different fact, riddle or joke, and a quote. I have to admit I am terrible at riddles, so I often cheated by asking them the answer. It was a blessing to us all. I received a beautiful birthday gift, which was uniquely designed box. Full of quotes, songs and so much more. They have done so many creative projects and are motivated to try their best to make the most of each day. They are so caring and give hope to others because they know how it feels to suffer and they do not want others to feel the same. They are a huge inspiration to me because their heart is so full of love and care for others. They always go the extra mile. Even on their toughest day, they find a way to receive love and to find some form of beauty or hope within the day.
I write about hope because without it, we would give up too easily. I would say I am a pretty optimistic person; I tend to focus on the positives and how situations can be fixed. I am pretty happy and find joy in life. As the pandemic continued over the long months and I was filling myself with the daily news and seeing how people were suffering around me. It affected me deeply and as I was struggling, I started to cave in a bit. It led me to numbing out, which I mentioned in my blog on raw emotions. I would binge watch a lot of Netflix and scroll aimlessly through social media. For me, it was not fulfilling; it was simply a temporary joy. It certainly did not help me to be optimistic and did not help me to be any more hopeful.
I needed to reassess the situation and attempt to implement some new practises. One of these was getting outside more often. When the lock down started, I was cautious about going out walking and walking similar routes was a little tedious. I tried to get out walking at least 3-4 times a week (which I have not been so great at recently) just for some fresh air. It was always nice to be able to see someone and say hello because being stuck inside the same place could at times be draining.
Now there is a more freedom with being able to go places. I love going to different parks and normally my younger sister joins me, it is nice time to take in nature. Especially with Autumn well on its way. I am thrilled for the autumnal weather and the changing leaves and cooler temperatures. It is learning to appreciate the small things; I have learned you can have hope and joy.
Secondly, I made an effort to want to grow in my faith. I was not perfect in this, but I wanted to spend more time in God’s word and learning how to live out my faith. Truly a lot of what I have learned has been turned into blogs. I am thankful and grateful the Lord would use this time, to help me to grow and to send these blogs to various people all around the world. My faith is huge part of who I am, I notice I love doing anything which helps to spread the Word of God, to learn about His word and to see the grace of God in so many peoples lives. When I felt so lost and I did not know what to do with my life, it is my faith which has always given me my identity and hope. Truly nothing can compare to it.
As the months passed, I was continuously reminded of how this situation in one way or another will pass. What the outcome will look like is highly up to debate. I know this season has been devastating for so many and for me it has felt crushing. I do not speak a lot about politics, but our government has had such a lack of care and concern for the people they govern. There has been so many lies and half-truths, which has led to such a lack of trust and great confusion. As I looked at these situations unfolding and prayed over everything. I knew I wanted to do as much as I could to not let this season defeat me. I wanted to find my joy even on the hardest day. I wanted to allow my heart to be filled with love so care for those around me. I wanted to keep my faith alive in God being continuously faithful.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40v8)
There is so much changing in our world day by day, we truly never know what will happen next. I do not say it simply to incite fear or worry but to speak truth. Where we put our hope in is important because if we continue to put it in people or in the things of this world, we will be disappointed. I realised a lot of my hope was put in the work I do, the money I achieved and the possessions I owned. When a lot of those were stripped away; I immediately felt at a loss and the only way to gain back my hope was in the pursuit of gaining these back. I am not being ignorant of how important it is to have a job and financial security; when those are the foundation my life is built on, how easily everything can come crumbling down.
I do pray your hope would be put fully in God because he is truly is steadfast. There is no peace which is comparable to what the Lord can give to you. Jesus says:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14v27).
The peace which Jesus gives, is a peace which gives hope. It gives purpose and it reminds us all of how faithful and gracious God is; within every situation of our lives. Hope is attainable within every situation, when we keep our trust in the Lord and in His word. It is through Jesus we have been saved, not by anything of our own gain but by his sacrifice. We can come into a relationship with the Lord, repenting of our past and trusting God with our lives.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5v8).
May our hope be put in a God who fully loves us and knows us. A God who is with us through the good and the bad. A God who is faithful and merciful beyond compare. May our hope be found in the faith we have, that there is still so much more to come.
‘The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that heaven must be our home.’ C.S Lewis.
As I wrap up this blog, it is a topic I will revisit before the end of this month. If you are similar to me and are finding you are just numbing out, I am going to leave some practises down below you may want to try.
- Social media fast: I do these often sometimes for a few days or a few weeks. It helps with comparison, anxiety, and FOMO.
- Journaling: writing out thoughts, prayers, gratitude, memories.
- Get outside: a 30-minute walk can help clear your head.
- Reading: productive and a form of escapism
- Cook or bake something new
- Have a consistent quiet time with the Lord. Finding peace in his presence.
- Reach out to friends and family, Stay connected with people.
- Enjoy the small blessings. Your first sip of coffee in the morning or a fresh breeze. Do not miss the small stuff.
You are loved and cherished, God bless, Victoria. xx
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