7 Ways to Stay Hopeful When Life Looks Hopeless

Date
Sep, 14, 2020

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

How many of us can say that life isn’t going as we’d planned? I don’t know about you, but 2020 has looked nothing like I’d had in mind when exiting 2019. From a pandemic, job changes, new friendships, then a job loss, and many new realities realized mentally, relationally, and emotionally, I can definitely say that I have been taken aback by the life events we’ve experienced this year.

With all of the above, it was hard to see past it all. Imagine that, the encourager void of encouragement in a time when we all need it most. I felt I had nothing to give because I hadn’t received what I’d needed. With my identity and worth mixed up in all the wrong places, I’d felt like I lost me, and so went my confidence to do much of what I’ve been called to do.

Meanwhile, I know who I am and WHOSE I am, but I’m also human, and for longer than I care to admit, I’d allowed that fact to lead me into a state of hopelessness and keep me there. I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely hopeless, maybe a little bitter, but I had a feeling things would work out at some point. I struggled with having to know when and how and where—I’m a planner, and I like to know the end before the beginning, sound familiar?

“Be still, and know that I am God…” — Psalm 46:10

With my need to know it all, so went my dependence on the One who knows it all! I mean, that’s assurance in and of itself. He said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Not to parade His title, He doesn’t have to do that. But I wonder if He told us to know that He is God because there is power in KNOWING HIM. There is HOPE IN KNOWING HIM AND IN KNOWING WHO HE IS, WHAT HE’S DONE, AND WHAT HE CAN DO.

All of this to say, when I let go of having to know it all and allowed God to be God, I was reminded of some things. I used to struggle with anxiety and depression, and in those moments, God would always orchestrate all the right things for me at just the right times. I don’t know when or how it happened or ended (in the natural), but it did!! I say all of this to point out that this isn’t my first time facing something I’m not a fan of, and God got me through it time and time again before, won’t He now?!

So, I want to share some things I’ve done to GET MY HOPES UP and stay at PEACE when it feels like all hell has broken loose! This list isn’t exhaustive, and I encourage you to add or take away whatever works for you; this is just something to help get you pointed in the right or the hopeFULL direction. (additional “L” added for illustrative purposes)

7 Ways to Stay Hopeful When Life Looks Hopeless:

1. PRAY
I know how to pray, and I know the importance of prayer, but I’d somehow allowed my prayer life to take a backseat to everything else I had going on in life. I prayed to see results, and when I got the results, I’d pray here and there but not as fervently as I could have. This isn’t a religious practice; it’s a relationship cultivation. It’s a practice that puts our whole being in remembrance of our NEED of JESUS! Because as He said, apart from Him, we can do NOTHING. (John 15:5) It may feel like we can for a season, but we’ll soon find that prayer is one of the most valuable assets given to us by God for connection to and with Him, which equals the EMPOWERMENT we need to live at such a time as this.

2. WORSHIP
During the hard times I mentioned above, I learned the importance of worship. Again, not as an act of religion but as a practice and cultivation of selflessness. When I worship, I’m no longer focused on me and my needs. When I worship, I’m able to put my whole focus on God, and He IS INTIMATELY AWARE of my every need! And He CARES ABOUT MY EVERY NEED!! If it matters to you, then it matters to God! Worship shifts my perspective from whatever looks hopeless to the Author and giver of HOPE, which gives me the hope I need.

3. TALK IT OUT
I struggle with this sometimes because I don’t like to “burden” others with my problems. BUT, with the right person, it’s never a burden. Find someone you trust who genuinely loves you and talk to them about how you’re feeling. It fuels my heart so much when I’m able to connect with those I love, and they offer prayer, advice, or both! There’s nothing like having time with loved ones to get your mind off the issues and onto something else like a good laugh with good friends.

4. JOURNAL
I used to be an avid journal-keeper, and I’m working on getting back to it because it’s a great habit. For me, it’s a place for me to share my feelings without fear of judgment FREELY. It’s easy to hold on to so much, but we weren’t created to, which is why I believe journaling is healthy as we can dump out and get rid of all the things that are troubling us mentally, emotionally, or any other cares and concerns we may have.

5. LISTEN
I recently rediscovered some gems in my playlists! There’s something about worship music that gets my heart in a good place, especially when the song is full of God’s Word, His promises, what’s ours in Christ, etc. I mentioned worshipping—which I still 100% encourage—but to be honest, I’ve had moments where I’ve had to just listen. I don’t believe that God is offended by that! I remember when I’d be in my feelings and listen to music that I probably didn’t need to listen to—although I’m not opposed to other music—but it’d, in essence, affirm my feelings. Music always takes you back to where it came from, so when I’m in a battle for hope or the protection of my peace or whatever the case, it’s important what I feed on. My personal preference is to listen to something that came from the Throne Room of God and echos what is written instead of what I feel. It helps to still my restless heart.

As part two of “LISTEN,” I’d also suggest listening to a good message. A sermon or a motivational message that helps to get and keep you encouraged. I’m an avid podcaster, so I love it when I find a good podcast that can encourage me.

6. READ
I enjoy reading. I especially like books that discuss the area or areas I need help with. Fear, for example, has been an on and off struggle for me. So, I read books about overcoming fear. Or if I’m struggling with my thinking, I read books on the mind. While categorical reading is great, there, of course, is a book that covers it ALL—the Bible. I, of course, read the Bible and find it to be most helpful. My purpose in reading the other books is to help with perspective and practical application.

7. TAKE A BREAK
Let’s be real; a large percentage of our mental wellbeing or lack of is due to the consumption or overconsumption of things. To that, I’ll say this: IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK—from social media, watching the news, or media altogether. If something’s robbing you of hope instead of feeding your hope—it’s okay to FIRE IT! You are the CEO and the decider of how your life goes—God has given us all authority; let’s use it. I often go to another room to read or spend time being quiet, and I leave my phone in my room. I once let my phone die on purpose so that I’d stay away. I say that to say: do whatever necessary to take whatever breaks you need to when possible.

Again, this is a brief list of ideas for you to get and keep your hopes up despite how things look. Yes, a lot is going on in the world, BUT we don’t have to let what’s going on in the world determine what goes on in us. I’ll leave you with this encouragement: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. God is WITH YOU. GOD IS FOR YOU. GOD LOVES YOU. GOD IS WORKING. And GOD WILL WORK THINGS OUT FOR YOUR GOOD; just trust Him.

If you try out any or all of the suggested tips, let me know how it goes for you! If this post encouraged you, please let me know, and please share it with a friend or someone you feel it would help. Thank you so much for reading!!

Below I’ve shared a few of my favorite songs and some resources for you to check out.

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

 

Jasmine

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