Amid a worldwide pandemic, widespread unemployment, national civil unrest, and fear over sending children back to school… There’s a lot to be worried about. Despite all this, there are still ways to remain optimistic.
To say the world is going through trying times is a profound understatement. Yesterday, as of this writing, around the Globe, nearly 250,000 people were added to the list of those becoming sick with COVID-19, while 5,580 people died. This is only a single day.
The worldwide pandemic has left millions unemployed.
In the United States, divisions along political ideologies and a call for criminal justice reform amid allegations of systemic racism is causing nationwide protests, as well as acts of destruction and violence, fatal in some cases.
Next, there’s hurricane season which threatens to bring potential misery, destruction and even death to perhaps tens of thousands more. This is an unknown factor that remains to be seen, nonetheless, it adds one more helping of anxiety to an already overloaded plate of worry.
Step 1: One of the first ways to improve your optimistic outlook would be to make an attempt to shield yourself from an overabundance of bad news.
This advice is not pollyannaish nor does it mean that one should bury their head in the sand. It’s more like this: When one is getting sunburned, they should get out of the sun for a while.
When information overload is adding to your anxiety – quit taking in so much information for a while.
Step 2: The Bible is one of the best “self-help books” ever written. It is filled with an abundance of messages of hope, comfort, love and positive, practical and constructive advice for living a life of joy.
The Bible is filled with messages of hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
In the New Testament, while Jesus gives some pretty alarming prophecies of tumultuous times to come, especially in the end times. But Christ tempers anxiety by reminding us that God wants us to live the life free from worry, fear. To overcome this, Jesus also delivers messages full of hope.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”
When we try to look too far ahead and make predictions, that’s when worry can set in. There are too many factors, too many things beyond our control. We need to trust and put our hope in God. We live in a universe and on a planet that is amazingly ordered, therefore, we have every reason to believe that God is in control.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Prayer is powerful, especially when we pray for others. When we take the focus off of ourselves for a moment, and think about others and how they are suffering, praying for the needs and comfort of others can also have a strengthening and purpose-driven effect on our own spirit.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
One of the most hope-filled sections of the Bible is in the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter 5. It is where Jesus delivers his famous “sermon on the Mount” and delivers what has been called the “Beatitudes.” The Beatitudes are eight blessings delivered in a proverb-like proclamation.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
– Matthew 5:4-9
Despite the troubles in the world, we can protect the joy we hold in our heart. We don’t have to get caught up in the things of the world. We can keep our mind on loving and righteous behavior.
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Jesus came to give eternal life and promised eternal joy.
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Pray and ask that Jesus brings the gift of hopefulness, comfort and joy into your life and others.
“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.”