by: Dr. Michael Layne
Psalm 46:3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present elp in trouble.”
Life isn’t always the way we want it to be. All we have to do is to glance at the headlines to see that we live in very uncertain times. The job we thought was safe might not be there tomorrow. There’s always some natural disaster somewhere. And people seem to be more cruel than kind.
It’s easy to get caught up in a negative spiral of self-doubt and anxiety. How do you stay hopeful and positive when around you all you see are negative messages and fear?
Be here now
By focusing on the present, you will find it easier to take a step back and act as an observer. By practicing mindfulness, you’ll see you can enjoy the simple things in life, no matter how bad things may seem. All worries and fears of the unknown can melt away if you focus on the present. Look for things in your life for which you're grateful.
Look for ways to exhibit compassion and empathy
Spreading hope needs to start somewhere. Begin with the one person you can control, yourself. By looking for opportunities to pay it forward through random acts of kindness, you then become the impetus for others to do the same. Your compassionate heart and ability to walk in another’s shoes will be the guide to those around you. And even if it’s not? You’ll have at least changed one heart - your own.
The person without hope becomes stagnant, preferring to hide from the world. If you find that’s the case with yourself, then it’s time to force yourself into action, even if you don’t feel like it. Get out of the house. Call a friend and suggest an outing or go by yourself. Find a green space somewhere because these places have been found to create calm and contentment in those who spend even a few minutes there. The goal is to find a positive action and embrace it, whatever that might be. Pick up litter, hug a child, do something that makes you feel good inside, and there you will find hope blossoming.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the world around you. Only by actively seeking hope will you find it. By practicing these three steps regularly, you’ll find yourself able to look forward to each day, no matter what’s going on around you.
Pastor Michael Layne