What causes you the most stress? Is it your job, bills, people, the future, your past? There are many things in our lives that makes us feel overwhelmed, and it seems that each season of life comes with new challenges. I’m the type of person that is always looking towards the future, and I don’t mean this in a good way. I frequently find myself waiting on some future me that will be in a better place in life. I day-dream about how happy I’ll be once I make a lot of money, or once I have my own house, or once I have my perfect body, or once I get new clothes! The dreams list goes on…
I think it’s natural for us to hope in the future. The future is what drives us to work, to problem-solve, to pursue relationships. The hope in a future gives us reason to live! People have accomplished incredible things because of the effort they put in to achieve something greater. People are able to persevere through hardships because they believe there’s something better. Hope gives us strength. But what happens when you’ve reached that goal, you got that job, you bought that house, and you find that it’s still not enough? Do you keep on searching for the next great thing until you reach the end of your life? Then what…What was the point of all that striving?
Hope is a gift from God, but it was intended to be placed in Him. Where are you placing your hope? Is it in something temporal or something that is eternal?
“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
We can get so focused on the circumstances of our lives that we lose sight of what is most important to God. God is concerned with conforming us into His likeness. God is calling you to surrender your life to Him. Your only hope for true life is found in Him, so He will allow whatever is necessary to bring you to the truth. Sometimes I find myself looking at my past and despairing over all my failures and all the time that I’ve wasted – and during these moments the Holy Spirit reminds me that the pain of those sins, of those failures, and even the heartache I received from others was necessary to bring me to Jesus Christ. He tells me that I am victorious, not because of my accomplishments, but because I am in Christ.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalm 32:1
“…Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Isaiah 6:7
“Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.” Isaiah 38:17
Pay attention to your heart and leave the rest to Him
God tells us to not waste our time worrying. Our peace comes from God – not from having ideal circumstances. How might our lives be different if we let go of those things that we held onto so tightly and released them to God? How might our attitudes be different if we trusted in God’s promises?
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 2:18
“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things…” Matthew 6:30-31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)
(New Living Translation used unless otherwise noted)