Hope is so needed for so many today. A few years ago I was at my lowest point ever. Looking back I’m amazed I had taken so long to regain mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health.
All that happened was due to my own failure to read my gauges. The reality… I had arrived at this low point because of my poor decisions, and my fears.
Rebuilding does take time. Much more time than I had ever imagined. Recovery, I think is sometimes like that. We are complex beings.
In the process, I developed a few practices/tools to help nudge the process along.
I’m not the same person I was even a year ago.
The test provided testimony to God’s grace and His re-establishment of hope in my life.
Some thoughts on regaining hope.
We went through a season ~ two years ~ learning to rebuild our hope. I had lost hope and when you lose hope your heart becomes sick and needs healing. I discovered hope is the connector to Faith and to Love. Hope is the active power that ignites Faith and Love within a heart.
Without hope it is hard to receive or to give love, and to exercise faith.
I began to apply a few principles, leaned into friends, received some counseling, and yes, failed often. Panic attacks, miss-communications, and feelings of loss of identity all had shifted to the negative. Gratefully a few people helped me pick up the pieces.
Here’s how I began to recover.
1. I had to change my thinking.
I had a friend who encouraged me with straight speaking. “Steve you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t change you will crash and burn.”
His gift, Steve Backlund’s book Victorious Mindsets, helped me begin to shift negative thinking. I began to practice positive thinking in spite of anxiety/panic attacks. Bringing thoughts under control helped me realize which thoughts were not mine. Often I’d declare that’s not my thought. Leave in Jesus’ name!
I began to guard my mind as my mindset slowly shifted.
I read the Bible a lot. I also used my journal to write passages which spoke to my heart. I understood I needed the washing of His words.
Ephesians 5:26 NASB Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.
I knew my brain is not just an organ, but part of my make up as a human. Within my body resides my mind, will, spirit, and emotions. We are body, soul, and spirit inter-connected each part assisting or influencing the other. I decided to continue to exercise, eat better, and manage my sleep.
Proverbs 23:7 Says… as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
Ephesians 4:23 NASB encourages us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Sometimes we need to put on a new helmet of Salvation. Acknowledging the reality of our salvation protects our minds. I was saved, I am in the process of being saved, and I will be saved. Also, Sozo means being made new spirit, soul, and body.
Romans 12:1-2 NASB Encourages…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I had to repent. Repentance means to change your mind/thinking, which—has the fruit of changed behavior going in a different direction. Walking forward in the best direction.
The night seasons were especially difficult. Psalms 23 and Psalms 27 became my nightly meditation and my confession.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalms 27:13
2. I had to change my speech. I listened to worship and I worshiped more. One man once stated, “If you don’t know what to do… worship!“
I sang from my heart sometimes for hours. I believed I was receiving more than I could ever realize. This required making room in my week to intentionally position myself to worship, read, declare, and pray.
I attempted to watch what I said. Most of the time I had to guard what I said about myself. I had to make new declarations about who I was and who I was becoming. I also had to forgive myself and a few others.
3. I had to keep myself in the love of God.
I understood. Pattie, my wife, couldn’t keep me in the love of God. My friends could not keep me in the love of God. No pastor or leader could keep me in the love of God. I had to keep myself in the love of God.
Jude 1:21 NASB “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.“
I began to read and write passages that spoke of the love of God. I lived in 1 John.
I realized people could splash love upon me, but the love of the Father has greater love, a lavished love.
I often leaned in, positioned myself to receive His love.
4. I realized hope is a person. His name is Jesus.
He is the hope of Glory. He is the anchor within the veil. He is the one who comes to bring the Fathers love and hope.
I wrote a few songs. No one has ever heard the songs except Pattie.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. I pour contempt upon all my pride, I run into You and hide.
Jesus is the Hope of the Nations. He is the One Whom I can run into and hide.
When I look to the cross I see His love and His humility. His love for everyone to see. God became man in the flesh. He was crucified. Buried and has risen. He is Jesus the risen One.
This Jesus is our restorer, our redeemer, our peace, our wisdom, our healer, our deliverer.
Jesus is our Hope.