As we begin the last week of 2009 perhaps there will be time to reflect about all that's happened this year. What changes can you make to correct problems? What decisions can you rethink in order to not repeat bad choices?
Many of life's challenges are out of our control. Unkind spouses, rebellious adult children, serious illness and loss of jobs are only a few. Are you still hopeful for change or has your hope begun to evaporate like steam from a tea pot? What are you doing to foster hope? If you don't take care of it, hope will disappear entirely.
Here are a few suggestions (for even the most happy and optimistic people) to nurture their "hope bank."
- Keep a journal that only includes the good things that happen (even the tiniest)
- Reflect on times in the past when a positive change has happened to you
- Fill your mind with uplifting thoughts (be aware of when your mind starts to go down a path of despair and reroute your thinking)
- Be certain that your circle of friends includes at least one person who always has encouraging things to say (the more of these friends the better...be sure to return the favor instead of draining them!) If you're lacking these types of friendships, be intentional about pursuing new ones.
- Read the Bible. It is full of stories of amazing change to inspire more faith...hope and faith are partners.
- Read a book of Bible promises as a reminder of what God can and says He will do.
- Pray. Pour your heart's desires out to the Lord. Let it be a time of emotional cleansing if you need it. Don't stop after you've told Him what you want to change. Listen to what He might be telling you in answer to your plea. Write it down as a letter from God to you.
- Think and talk about the future in terms of already having arrived at a better place in life. "When I'm feeling better..." or "When my husband agrees to counseling..." Don't limit yourself to wishful or "if only" statements.
I recently saw this quote but don't know the author: "If nothing was ever allowed to change, where would butterflies come from?"
I pray that in 2010 you see many new butterflies in your life. Happy New Year.