Hope and some things you told me about YOU.

There's a lot in this world that causes stress and anxiety.

Sidenote: That's a great way to start a blog post, isn't it?  Don't the warm fuzzies from that line above really make you want to keep reading this seemingly depressing article? I'll get to work on my blog intro skills, ASAP.

When I asked you on FB how YOU dealt with anxiety and stress, here's what a few of you said:

"I redirect the nervous energy of stress and worry into DIY projects (aka: things i CAN control/things that make me feel productive and creative)." 

"I dive into a great book, something inspirational, I like Tony Robbins currently. Or listen to some great preaching...I fill my head with belief, strength & positive thoughts."

"I make crafts for other people, clean, purge and organize." 

"BOWLING!!! throwing dangerously heavy objects in an attempt to break something is a good stress vent."

"exercise and travel (when i can)"

"Prayer!!!"

Is there a specific facet of life causing you to feel consumed by worry?

Oh sweet baby Jesus, I don't mean to make you want to pour a drink, I promise.

Whatever that thing is for you right now, I don't want to focus on that. 

I promise.  

Instead, I want you to know...there's hope for you, even in the midst of that situation.

You're absolutely right, I don't know what your circumstances are, and I don't know how long you've been dealing with it...but I do know this:

there. is. hope.

I'm putting this blog post to the test myself, so don't think I've got this "hope" thing down.

I'm waiting on some test results from the doctor's office and it's torture. When someone tells you, you have to see a specialist, oh yeah, and by the way, he's at the CANCER INSTITUTE, hope is not the default emotion to which I run. 

I have dress rehearsed tragedy so many times in my mind these past few days. I have felt desperate and distressed. And in the midst of that tumult, I've found that true reprieve comes when I clench with all the might my bony fingers can muster to hope.

No joke, I'm living this blog post right now.

 Insert random picture nature here. I don't know, aren't ferns and moss growing on a rock supposed to be therapeutic or something? And I figured my jazz hands selfie wouldn't really fit the whole theme of this post.

Insert random picture nature here. I don't know, aren't ferns and moss growing on a rock supposed to be therapeutic or something? And I figured my jazz hands selfie wouldn't really fit the whole theme of this post.

I often forget to tap into that four letter word during times when I'm afraid, in transition, overwhelmed with stress, or fighting anxiety: 

hope

Instead, I look for ways to cope, for ideas to take the edge off the wave of emotion that I may be feeling, and I forget about the lifeline that hope extends to me.  I miss out on the bridge hope provides between worry and peace.

Here are some important nuggets regarding hope:

1. Hope makes you forward focused. When you zone in on hope, it moves your eyes off the problem and disrupts your preoccupation with the stressor.

2. Hope is a salve.  What is a salve?

  • an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.
  • something that is soothing or consoling for wounded feelings or an uneasy conscience

For goodness sake, rub it all over you. Douse yourself in it. Jump in with your clothes on and get all soggy in it. Hope soothes. Hope heals. 

3. Hope is that place where despite what's going on...you can connect to expectations of good.

4. Hope is a choice. Recently, I've found myself having to make that choice every five minutes. (See my earlier statement about not having this hope thing down, yet...)

5. Hope isn't something you have enough strength to conjure up on your own, especially when you're going through a difficult season. Hope that sustains has to come from something bigger than you.  If you were to ask me where my hope comes from that answer would most definitely be: Jesus. That answer may not be the same for you, and I totally respect that. 

Here's a practical look at what hope feels like to me:

"In all seasons (divorce, traveling the world, settling down, raising a teenager, homeschooling kids) and all things (quitting my job, living paycheck to paycheck, selling our house, buying a new one, illness, waiting on a doctor's report) I am fully convinced that I will see God's goodness in it all, whether it's the outcome I want or not."

If you're going through a tough time tonight, I guess I just wanted you to know, you aren't alone.

And if you aren't walking through anything especially difficult right now, will you help those of us who are by reminding us to keep our eyes on hope?

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