Posted by B.L.O.G. Magazine
March 15, 2012
Growing up in our small hometown of Kinston, North Carolina, I was the kid of not one, but two spirit-filled preachers, so it was no random thing to see me walking through the house with hymnal in hand. I remember the times when I would go in the backyard and play church with my stuffed animals, preaching from the scriptures in Proverbs 13:12 that says, Hope deferred (put off or prolonged) is a weariness (a vexation to the mind, an affliction to the soul, a sickness of heart); but when what is desired (that which is prayed for) comes (the answer to prayer that comes – a longing fulfilled), it is a tree of life (a realized source of power, our Savior).
One of the songs that I used to sing was, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Thinking back to the days of singing these songs, I must admit that although I had seen the adults in my life endure many “issues of life,” I was sheltered and did not have the slightest clue at the time about what I was reading, but I knew that it was laced in a constant and consistent reminder that God loved me.
Every day there is a news station reporting that employment and housing rates are decreasing in droves. With every glimmer of hope for the job and housing market improving, there seems to be an equal hint of scarcity. In the mix of all these statistics are everyday people living through the impact of joblessness and pushing past an ever-winding sense of hopelessness. Maybe your issue is not a house or a job but maybe it is longing for a baby that has yet to be conceived or the adoption of a second child? I am sure that even as you are reading this article, your mind may wonder back to the experiences in your life where you had high hopes. But what do you do when you hopes are delayed, deferred, and just plain fizzled out?
How do you change the culture of bureaucratic thinking where people believe their best days are behind them? Hope gives us an enormous sense of energy and creativity to keep achieving purpose toward a goal, while deferred hope causes us to literally become weary because we are without peace, vision, and power. Life comes at you fast and it is essential that you are equipped with a response to combat those days when you are faced with roadblocks. There is something greater working in your favor and you are destined to succeed no matter what. When those days hit you hard, combat them with the constant belief that God loves you and will see you through to achieving victory in your life.
Here are ten practical steps you can take daily to build a sure foundation of hope to carry you through the storms you face in life:
- Express yourself through writing – Expression is a healer and a motivator to keep going in the toughest intersections of life. I utilize expressive therapy techniques with many clients as a method of releasing defenses and facing truth.
- Stay Thankful – Although you may think that this waiting period may not hold any reasons to rejoice, think of every accomplishment that you have achieved in life as a catalyst for greater things in life.
- Participate in something greater than yourself – Visions are defined through the process of serving someone else’s vision. It may seem that you may spend so much time volunteering for the local mission or your local church, but you are actually applying pressure on your faith to produce the impossible. Find someone who may be going through a difficult time and encourage them to not quit.
- Recite the words a friend has told you back to them – Powerful words should never fall to the ground. We should cherish and bank wisdom as a jewel.
- Think of two things you can control and focus your efforts on this – From experience, focusing on the things that we cannot control create deep feelings of disempowerment and chaos. Life is not static; it is instead a brisk walk with a lot of scenery, so release what you cannot control. Surrender it to God.
- Schedule time to work on your dream – Taking the time to invest in ourselves is a great motivator. Whether we download a book on how to be a better parent or buy a Julia Child’s cookbook, take the time to invest in your dream and make it a reality in time.
- Speak the end from the beginning – The power of confession permits us to fast-forward to the desired end we wish to see manifested in our lives. Sure, obstacles will come and roadblocks may delay our progress, but as we are diligent about the process of confession, we will see those things move like mountains.
- Create a dream board – This is a practice that I find myself going back to time and time again. The process of writing the vision and keeping it before you serves as an encouragement in the times when progress may seem slow. Take out a sheet of paper or invest in a piece of poster board and tear through magazines, looking for the items or words that express the goals that you’d like to bring into your life. So often life brings us to the consistent visual that we live in daily, but there is a spiritual world working overtime for us to bring us into our desired end. That is what faith is all about—believing what we cannot see. Lord, help us to believe what we cannot see! A dream does not have to remain a dream, it can be a reality.
- Dance! – David was a gentle soul in the Bible who went through a lot of turmoil. Yet he utilized the expression of dance and singing to sing praises to God for deliverance from situations in life. My favorite song is Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” She reminds us that “Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance—I hope you dance.” So I remind you too, my friend, to just dance!
- Surrender to God! – Hope comes from God. The act of surrender is the ultimate release of carrying tasks we were simply not designed to carry. Writing this article gave me the realization that, like myself at times, we may find ourselves attempting to be the glue that holds everything together, but even in that we must surrender all of the issues that life brings to the One who can hold it all—God can and he loves us enough to know that we must seek Him and come to Him when we know nothing else. Whether it is fasting, praying, communicating, or eliminating, find a way to surrender those toxic things or those things creating an imbalance in your life over to the One who can handle it….God can!
Danita is a social work professional and owner of Productive Public, a professional organizing firm assisting with small-mid level companies with public information management and grant writing. She is the producer of Orphan No More, an international podcast ministry teaching people how to break free from the Orphan Spirit and heal from the traumatic events in their lives utilizing narrative and expressive therapy. Her blog, $0.79 Therapy on danitaogandaga.com features her research and venue creation as a trauma/thanatology doctoral student. Connect with Danita on Facebook, Twitter and via http://www.danitaogandaga.com