So I’m a little late posting, I generally post on Wednesdays but I just didn’t have a good feel for what direction I wanted to go with this last weeks blog. It’s a God thing. But this week, as I met with my small group, God gave me the direction I needed through them. This is a group of ladies that are AMAZING. From day 1, this group has been unlike any other. These women are transparent, diverse, broken, and beautiful, hurt yet full of life. They are newly divorced. Each of them comes from a different walk. Some are divorced and don’t want to be, some of have been torn to shreds by infidelity, and some are the cause of their own situation. BUT we are united by Christ. They pour into one another, and usually do it better than I could myself. They will be victorious through Christ. They are a blessing to lead and bring so much joy to my heart – I’m writing this week for each of them… There’s hope for each of you to experience JOY in the truest fashion!
Elohim-Yachal – The God of Hope.
I’m gonna take two different approaches on “hope” here. The first is on finding hope for our current situations (Temporary Hope) – divorce, communication with our ex, relationships with our exes and their family, and the everyday issues that arise. The second approach is on Eternal Hope – our overall hope for our lives, our future, and the future of our children.
Hope is such a small word in the English language, but it carries such significance.
How many of you feel like you could justify being hopeless based on your past? Have any of you experienced rejection? Everybody can likely answer yes to both of these questions. But should we let past rejection and failures steal our hope for our future?
- In 1919, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because the Editor thought he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.
- Lucille Ball was considered a failed actress (B-list) prior to I Love Lucy. Her drama instructors urged her to find another profession.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school basketball team his sophomore year.
- Babe Ruth had 1330 strikeouts in his career.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theatre, Film, and Television three times. He was accepted into another program but dropped to pursue directing.
This is just a few from the long, long list of highly successful people who had every reason to give up but chose to persevere. The point here is that they CHOSE to PERSEVERE. I’m not certain of where they found their hope but I know where we should find ours. Hope is the fuel we need to persevere through desperate and hard times. When we have hope, we can tolerate and push through a lot more than if we feel our situation is never-ending. Sometimes hope is just that small still voice in your head and sometimes we truly have to dig into to God’s word to find that hope. Either way we must find hope in every situation that we intend to conquer…
Hope is the fuel we need to persevere through desperate and hard times…
Don’t be confused by the title of this portion… our hope shouldn’t be based on or found in anything temporary. But rather all of our hope should be in God, the only real- true being capable of perfect love. The temporary part is in the title because we need to learn to cling to that unshakeable hope when we are facing temporary struggles. Let me remind you now, PEOPLE, SITUATIONS, and MATERIALS are TEMPORARY. Don’t put your hope in people – they will disappoint you, don’t put your hope in situations – they won’t always workout the way you want, don’t put your hope in materials – they will lose their luster.
Divorce is hard. And that’s putting it lightly. Most of us have never faced the turmoil we find ourselves in after a divorce. Even if your divorce was on the more amicable side, you still face issues you never imagined would arise. Who would have thought we would be arguing over such trivial things? How in the world do we find hope in this mess we’ve created?
The first step is God. We pray and stay in relationship with Him. We focus on His word and we apply it to OURSELVES and our situations. ALL of our situations. When we are facing a temporary struggle, so often we let it take control of us. We focus on the negative aspect of the situation instead of finding hope. We find ourselves in a place where we are desperate. We are exhausted in the arguing and disarray of things. We look for little tiny fixes in our daily interactions to find hope in…
We start hoping our ex will understand our side. Hoping his family will change. Hoping our children will like us. Hoping our ex will trade weekends with us so we can go to the beach. Hoping we won’t be alone the rest of our lives. Hoping our financial situations improve. Hoping our ex will change. Hoping we will change. Hoping we can finally get along. Hoping there won’t be fall apart when exchange the kids this afternoon. Hoping our ex will apologize. Hoping our ex will finally recognize how valuable we are. Hoping others won’t judge us for our situation. Hoping the holiday plans workout the way we want. Hoping… Hoping… Hoping.
But in all of these things our hope is in something temporary. Its in the situation. What happens when that thing we were hoping for doesn’t come to be??? Let me answer that for you, we find ourselves with a new unmet expectation, another reason to argue – another thing to blame on our ex or his family. When we put our hope in people, situations, and materials – we give them the power to steal our joy. If our hope is truly in these temporary struggles then it only takes a little ripple to rock our whole world. And let me drop another little tip here – if you give your ex the power to steal your joy, he will do it every single time. Not because he is mean and intends to, but because WE ALLOW him to. Finding hope in the wrong places often leaves us to be the repeated victim of the circumstances that surround us. We are constantly let down by people, situations, and stuff. Constantly wounded by unmet expectations.
What if Walt Disney or Lucille Ball had given up when the expectation they had was met with rejection? What if they had found their hope in the people who rejected them instead of believing in the dream they had?
Do you dream of finding peace with your ex and his family? Do dream of the day your anxiety doesn’t hit the roof when you realize you need to communicate with your ex? Do you dream of the day that you aren’t shattered by the fear of uncertainty? Tired of being the victim?
When you face temporary struggles, I challenge you to place your hope in God. Let Him be the one that fills you with acceptance and joy. Let Him be the one you look to for help when trouble is creeping in. God doesn’t change. He doesn’t waver. He will never let you down. In every circumstance, He will see you through and use it for your good. Unshakeable hope is found in Him alone. It’s the only hope that doesn’t loose its luster when our situation doesn’t workout the way we wanted – He is still the same God…
That removes the pressure from every little interaction we face with our exes. If the situation doesn’t workout, it leaves us UNOFFENDED. We put so much focus and so much pressure on every little interaction that, to be honest, sometimes I’m not sure we could meet our own expectations. But when we pull that pressure off and place our hope in Christ we often find that He exceeds our expectations!
Can any of us truly comprehend eternity? It seems so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, we lose sight of how little our temporary struggles are in the grand scheme of eternity. Our eternal hope is found in Christ. Even when we know that, it’s still pretty easy to get distracted.
What exactly is hope? It’s a mindset, ones own ability to choose to focus on the positive possibilities and promises of Christ in all situations rather than honing in on the negative aspects of life. Hope isn’t a feeling its a choice. We can choose it.
We have to remember that when we are struggling, when we are hurt, when we are desperate… we are only in a season. The way we perceive that desperation can ABSOLUTELY determine how we handle it.
“Desperation will open doors that complacency will keep shut” – Pastor Robert Madu
We have a choice in how we perceive all things. You know that little verse we refer to all the time “take captive every thought, and align it…“?? Guess what, perceptions are thoughts and we can choose to take them captive and align them with the word of God. We can choose to perceive that our desperation is only a small season and an opportunity for us to cling to the hope that Christ has promised us OR we can choose to perceive it as another terrible circumstance that we are a victim of.
The victim mentality puts the end to our problems in whoever made us a victim. It gives someone else the reigns to decide our future. Even if we are the cause of our situation, sometimes we still make ourselves of a victim.
Finding hope in desperate times instead of choosing to be a victim does not mean you are responsible for what has happened to you. It means you are responsible for what WILL happen to you, in light of the circumstances.
The hope mentality enables us to take the weight off our own shoulders. We can cast our cares and truly focus on the promises of our future. Hope is knowing that God can use your circumstances, no matter what they are, to build something beautiful.
Hope is believing that your past does not prevent you from fulfilling your divine purpose.