Happy weekend! Welcome to Dressed for My Day, where on Saturdays we talk about inner beauty. Today I thought we’d chat about the beauty of hope. Would you say you’re a woman who lives with hope? Or do you communicate despair?
Having hope is more than having a glass half full. To be a woman who lives with hope means you live with certainty. Hope is not wishful thinking. It’s an anchor that keeps you from being tossed about during life’s storms.
How Can We Have Hope?
I remember Marilla Cuthbert responding to a despairing Anne in Anne of Green Gables with, “To despair is to turn your back on God.” That small quote has stuck with me for years.
Truly, we have a choice. We can turn our back on God during difficult times or we can focus squarely on Him, refusing to allow our gaze to wander to the turbulence around us.
Hope is a choice. Regardless of how difficult or unstable or discouraging your circumstances may seem, you can choose to believe that there is a God who is still in control and that He has not forsaken you. You can choose to believe that He is good and faithful to His promises even when others around you are sinking in despair.
There are many scriptures that tell us what hope is and where to find it, but my favorite passage that reminds us how to be filled with hope is Lamentations 3:19-24. In the verses that precede these, the prophet is lamenting the hopeless situation around him. All seems lost. He is sinking into despair.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,Lamentations 3:19-21
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
But in verse 21, after pouring out his hopelessness for 20 verses, he makes a turn. Jeremiah shakes off his despair and stubbornly turns his attention toward something else instead.
The prophet’s decision is somewhat akin to Scarlett O’Hara saying belligerently, “I won’t think about that right now!” But more than putting his difficult circumstances out of mind for the moment, Jeremiah shifts his gaze to something more substantial.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;Lamentations 3:22-24
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Jeremiah insists on dwelling on the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord instead of being sucked into despair. And he grabs hold of that which anchors his hope by recounting God’s love and His mercies that never come to an end.
And that’s exactly how a beautiful woman grabs hold of hope today.
If you find yourself…or someone you love…in what seems to be a hopeless situation, grab hold of hope. Hope is found in the character of God.When we choose to focus on God's character rather than the challenges we face, we are able to shake free from despair and lay hold of hope instead. Click To Tweet
But it really is a choice, dear gal. The downward spiral of despair has a strong pull on our weary hearts. And if you’ve already been sucked into it – and who hasn’t at some point? – then it will take determination and grit to lay hold of the anchor that can pull you free.
So I suggest you:
- meditate on and memorize scriptures that remind you of God’s character (see this post for tips)
- ask others to pray for you as you shift your focus
- write out your own prayers to God following Jeremiah’s pattern in Lamentations 3.
- ask one or two other people to hold you accountable to this shift
- listen to uplifting Christian music that reminds you of God’s character
Notice I’m not suggesting you do anything that actually changes your circumstances. That may or may not be completely out of your control. I’m simply suggesting you changing your thinking. That’s hard enough, but it can be done.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.Proverbs 23:7
Why hope makes us beautiful
Have you ever been to a pity party? Sure you have!
Pity parties are fun for a while until we look around and realize we’re the only one there. Ha! That’s because even when we invite others into our pity parties, they rarely want to join us. From the inside looking out, these soirees are warm and cozy. But from the outside in, they appear to be what they really are – sick environments that feed our despair and sour our disposition.
And yes, I’ve been that woman at times. We all have days (or at least I do) when we get sucked into the vortex of despair.
But the next time despair asks us to throw a party, let’s refuse. Instead, go for a walk, clear your head and choose to focus on the character of God.
That’s when people around you will notice the glory of God on your countenance. And that, dear gal, is why hope is beautiful.
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.