Three Positive Questions to Ask Yourself

 

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Life is filled with twists and turns. Each day brings with it a fair amount of joys and challenges and even some major disappointments. How do you navigate the rough waters of life and stay steady on your journey? Here are three important questions to ask yourself along the way as you chart your course and sail onward toward your goals.

How can I grow from this? Whether it is an unexpected derailment from your schedule for the day or a major life change, it is good to consider what you can learn and how you can grow through the experience. Certainly we must grieve the loss of our original plan, but we must also think about the glimmer of hope or the upside of our situation. How can you become stronger? What are you learning in the process?

In what ways can I serve? There are always opportunities to use what we have learned or experienced to reach out and help another person. Look for ways you can use your gifts, talents and interests to serve those in your community who could use a helping hand. Whenever we lift up others, we ourselves experience a unique satisfaction and joy in serving – which is always an added benefit.

What is my motivation? It’s a good idea to do a little introspection and consider why we are doing what we are doing. This gives us a chance to examine and perhaps rethink our “Why.” Why am I pushing forward in this direction? Why do I think I need to accomplish this? Why am I being so hard on this particular person? When we check our motives, it helps us consider if our goal is worth pursuing, and it helps us recognize our own selfish ambitions or conceit. Knowing our “Why” can push us forward or help us redirect our path.

Routinely ask yourself these three questions as you face the ups and downs of life. You may even want to write then on an index card and keep them in front of you as a reminder. Life may be unpredictable, but positive questions can help us clarify what we want and where we are going.

Photo by Sean O. on Unsplash

 

How to Have Hope

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Like a dense fog, sometimes the clouds of discouragement can descend on us blocking out any glimmer of hope. Perhaps there have been times in your own life where you felt a sense of despair. How do you have hope when everything seems to be going wrong? Let’s look at a few ways to part the dark clouds.

Look Up instead of At. When we are going through a challenging time, circumstances loom large and are sometimes the only thing we can see. Certainly we must recognize our grief or pain, but one of the first steps toward seeing glimmers of hope is to change the direction of our focus. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above.” When we look only at our circumstances, it is easy to become overwhelmed, but when we look above our circumstances, we remind ourselves that there is a God who loves us. He is bigger than our challenges. He is the God who sees, and He is not surprised by this situation. When we turn our eyes upward, it helps us gain a broader perspective.

Praise. While we are looking up, let’s take a moment to praise God for who He is and what He is able to do. Actively praising God changes us within and opens our hearts to the possibilities of what He can do. Open the Psalms or open a hymnal, or play some worship music or simply pray something like:

“Father, I adore you as the God who is able to do immeasurably more that I ask or imagine.”

“Father, I praise you that you are Sovereign and Powerful. You know all things and can do all things.”

“I exalt you my God, because You see the bigger picture and You know what is best.”

“Praise you that you walk through the darkest valley’s with me. I am not alone.”

Or as Jeremiah prayed from the pit of despair,

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
  Lamentations 3:19 – 24

Encouragement. One of the apostle Paul’s prayers for the early believers was, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God is the God of hope, so let’s not hesitate to ask Him for hope, wisdom and guidance as we navigate rough waters. We can also pray that God sends a person into our life that can encourage us or walk along side of us through our dark moments.

James (the brother of Jesus) gave the persecuted church powerful and positive advice,  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. “

My friend, there is always hope. It may come in unexpected ways and look slightly different than how you thought it would look. Keep looking up and keep your heart open to what God wants to do in your life. I believe there is always hope, because I believe in a God of hope. I believe what the Bible tells us – that He is a redeeming God, and He will never leave or forsake those who trust in Him.

Photo by Łukasz Łada on Unsplash

 

True Positive: Day Three – Hope

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Despair comes easily when we find ourselves in a difficult situation. Generally speaking, it is a basic human tendency to defer to the negative. It takes a deliberate effort to look for hope when circumstance seem bleak, but that’s what positive people do. We must be honest and realistic about our pain, but through our grief we can look for glimmers of hope.

There is always hope. It may seem like a small sliver, but God can bring good even through the darkest night. Hold onto hope as you cry out to God. Trust the God of all hope to bring you through and ask Him to infuse you with hope. When Jeremiah lamented his own troubles, he made an intentional turn toward hope. He wrote, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3:21-22).”

As we focus on God’s unfailing love, let’s ask Him to give us a bigger picture of hope through the power of His Spirit at work within us. As Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).”

In the Pit

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Ever felt like you were in a pit? When life or emotions seem to bring us down, it is difficult to see anything but the pit in which we dwell. Interestingly, did you ever notice that there are several instances in the Bible where people were in literal pits? Think about it. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers and then eventually sold into slavery. Not the Plan A Joseph had for his life. And then there’s a little known story about Benaiah who ended up in a pit with a lion. Seriously! The Bible tells us that Benaiah was a valiant warrior and performed many great exploits. The prophet Samuel recorded, “Benaiah struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion (2 Samuel 23:20).” Now that probably wasn’t on his schedule of things to do that day either.

David described God as the one who “redeems our life from the pit. Now perhaps you have felt as though your life or your day was in the pits and you could see no hope, no redemption and no way out.  I suppose that’s how pit-dweller Jeremiah felt. Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets who was thrown in a pit as a result of simply proclaiming what God told him to say. That doesn’t seem right! There he was obeying God, and he was thrown in the pit. Take a look at how low this Old Testament prophet must have felt as he wrote, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.”

But Jeremiah didn’t call it quits. He was able to keep his eyes on the Lord despite his circumstances. Here’s what he said after describing his situation, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:  The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him (Lamentations 3:19-25).”

Now there’s a person who has their eyes in a positive direction!  He’s not dwelling on his dismal circumstances in the pit, instead He is dwelling on the Lords faithfulness. His sight is going beyond what he can see, and looking to the hope of what a faithful God can do.  How’s your eyesight? In one of his most fearful moments David declared, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5).” Oh for the faith to look past the dark clouds of despair and see the sunlight of God’s faithfulness peeking through to bring us comfort and hope! May He be your strength today.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women on sale this month for $5. Click here for more info.