Monday, August 11, 2008

Trying not to lose hope.

Hope is expectant and confident for better things in the future. People who are depressed often feel hopeless -- like there is nothing better down the road; they will always feel low. I think that is probably the worst feeling in the world.

A lot of negativity has been going on in my life recently. It would be easy to slip into a pit of despair. Summer should be a time of relaxation and renewal, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way this year. Unfortunately life does not always give me what I want. There is good and bad in the world. I can't have one without the other.

I have grown weary from frustration that I can't fit everything into a neat little box. I don't understand what motivates people to make the choices that they make. It seems so simple that it is perplexing to me that people find themselves in awkward positions. Could they not foresee the result of that action? Have they not learned the meaning of cause and effect yet? Alas it is not so simple. I have not walked a mile in their shoes, as they have not walked a mile in mine. I have not always made the right decisions either. I can't forget that, lest I start to take inventory of their wrongs.

Life is full of turning points -- standing at the crossroads which choice do I make? There is always a point at which I can turn back and not feel the regret of a wrong path taken. It is at these moments that we find out what we are made of -- what we put our hope in. I can't make a wrong decision and hope for the best. That would be foolhardy. I have to hope for the best first and then my decisions will follow suit.

In my case, being that I am a Christian, I place my hope firmly at the foot of the cross of Jesus. He did not suffer and bleed and die for me so that I could throw caution to the wind and live my life willy-nilly. I am asked to make the hard choices sometimes. I am asked to turn from myself and carry my cross along with the one whom I serve. This means I will have to deny myself things that take my eyes off of my God. It is the action that separates me from my God, not the temptation. It is said that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, but that is not exactly true -- my own choices can alienate me from God's love.

The choices that I have seen made by some friends still bewilder me. I would hope that I would not make those same choices. I really want to put my God and my family before myself. I can't let my fear stand in the way of the victorious life my God has planned for me.

It is my belief that it is fear that is the common denominator behind wrong decisions. Fear of abandonment, fear of not measuring up, fear of failure -- these are just a few of the fears that motivate bad decisions. I have to put these fears behind me. When I trust in something bigger than myself, it is easier not to be afraid. Fear can't grow inside of hope; there is nothing for it to take root in. So, it stands to reason that if my hope and trust are fixed on things besides myself, I will not have fear. It is still not always easy and perfection is impossible, but it gives me something to reach for.

Romans 5:1-5

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Psalm 27:1-4

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me

to devour my flesh,

when my enemies and my foes attack me,

they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,

my heart will not fear;

though war break out against me,

even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his templ