Hope Over Worry

H. ope
O. ver
W. orry

As a Christian, How do I Keep Myself From Living in Desperation?

When life is caving in on you consider HOW God is going to help you through these circumstances. When trouble presents itself, the tendency is to allow ourself to plunge into despair and worry.

The real tragedy is that Christians seldom fare any better than those who are not believers. It’s an indictment against our faith that we allow despair and worry to win us over.

Is this to say that Christians should never let themselves be worried or troubled? Is this to say that it is a sin for one to shed tears or to lose sleep over problems they are facing? I would answer “no” to both questions. In fact, Jesus himself shed tears at the death of Lazarus (Jn. 11:35). He would also be troubled and wept over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19: 41-42) . In each case, Jesus was troubled over his concern for his people who refused to heed God’s voice.

None other than the venerable apostle Paul would express his own distress in Romans 9: 1-2. He uses the term, (NIV) “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” to describe his state of mind regarding his concern for his own Jewish brothers.

In each case, Hope won out Over Worry.

Worry is focused on limitations.

Hope is focused on a God who can transcend everything.

“What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can
be against us?. He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for
us all–how will he not also along
with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8: 31-32

But the question remains, “HOW”?

Step 1 – Talk to God about it. Pray. On your knees, in your own voice, on God’s terms. Express it. Even if the prayer is expressed in terms of unworthiness… ie. “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130: 3

Step 2 – Admit your own feeling of inadequacy and powerlessness. We’re not going to wallow in it, but you must face the reality of your feelings. Don’t stuff them, don’t deny them, don’t minimize them. Be honest with your feelings.

Step 3 – Write out your problem/dilemma/struggle in plain language. Don’t get into solutions or rationalizations yet, just write out the problem. For example, “The problem I am facing is that I have no money to pay my rent”.

Step 4 – Write out your options. Ex. “I can’t pay my rent, so I guess I’ll have to…” OR “I can pay my rent if only I can…..” etc. Write out as many options as you can think of. Give yourself ample time to be creative and thorough.

Step 5 – Utilize the resources at hand. Seek out counsel from a trusted and capable friend or associate.

When you have spent some time doing these five things, find a place to go where you can be distracted from your concern.

Skip rocks across a lake. Take the dog for a walk.

Bake cookies. Mow the lawn. Have a cup of tea.

Do something that forces you to give it over to God. Take a break.

Give it a rest.

Move over and let God bring you a new perspective. When you turn your attention back to the issue at hand, I can almost guarantee that it will not have gone away, but I think you will find that Hope is beginning to win out over worry. If things do not appear to have changed, repeat the 5 steps above. God’s mercies are great and they are guaranteed.

It’s not a matter of HOW but a matter of when….and only God knows the answer to that one.

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About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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One Response to Hope Over Worry

  1. Steve Erbach says:

    Gary,

    This made me think of what God knows about me:

    * I have caused problems for others
    * I have been selfish for ever and ever
    * I have treated serious matters cavalierly, especially in my own family
    * I have caused my wife much anxiety about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there
    * I haven’t been very thankful for the generosity of others, including our church family

    I remember when Steve Frazier talked about the three kinds of prayer a couple of years back (I don’t remember his exact terms): praise, supplication, and confession. I remember that afterwards I noticed the kinds of prayer that were offered up during our prayer time. Very few were confessions. That’s tough to do in public.

    I also remember every time I’ve been in financial difficulties that often I’ve “gotten creative.” Sometimes I’m able to devote more of my attention and my energies to finding more paying work. Sometimes I find someone who can float me a short-term loan. What winds up happening, though, is that my behavior doesn’t modify all that much. The financial difficulties persist.

    I am very fortunate to have my wife. She doesn’t always understand my foibles but she has stayed with me for almost 10 years now.

    Free association after reading your fine post…

    Steve Erbach
    Neenah, WI

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