With 2020 behind us, is it possible to have hope for 2021? As we face more uncertainty, how can we choose joy?
Below are 3 ways you can live with expectant hope and choose joy for the new year ahead.
1. Pay attention to pain
When faced with pain, injustice or disappointment, we have a choice: to feel it and face it, or to bury it.
And burying it doesn’t solve it.
Jesus said, “in your life you will have troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). He makes it clear. We aren’t meant to have a life that’s plain sailing. The rubbish that happened this year isn’t a shock to Jesus and although we had no idea of the specifics, we were warned there would be trouble.
We need to learn how to pay attention to the pain. Pain indicates something is wrong. Without pain, how will we know when something is broken? We don’t need to be afraid of the pain. We don’t have just get through it. We don’t need to numb it, distract it or cover it. We need to feel it and pay attention to the pain.
Start by gather 1 or 2 close friends who you can share your pain with. These should be people who won’t judge you, but will listen your story.
2. Holding disappointment and joy simultaneously
We often want pain to be healed before we choose to have hope in the unfinished. We look for the light at the end of the tunnel. but what’s stopping us from having light when we’re still in the tunnel? Before we’re reaching the end? Positive thinking and good vibes won’t light up the tunnels we find ourselves in. When you’re stood in a pitch-black room, it’s hard to find the light switch. We often need someone else to switch it on for us. That’s where Jesus comes in.
Jesus promised us that even in the trouble, He has overcome the world. This means that we can hold pain and joy simultaneously. Disappointment and hope can co-exist and we can expect the best of Jesus even when we’re staring the enemy right in the face.
3. We can begin to look for purpose in pain
John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but that Jesus comes so we can have life in full. I believe that God can bring purpose to any pain, disappointment or unmet expectations we may have.
It is in our pain that God draws purpose and reminds us of our calling. By taking the time to face our pain and hold joy simultaneously, we can allow God to heal us, refresh us, and give us renewed hope.
Why not consider these 2 questions as we head into a new year?
1. What do you expect of God?
2. In 2021, what is going to give you hope?