17 years ago, I was lying in bed overwhelmed with emotion from a complete lack of promise in my life. I was a college dropout in rehab with a dependency on drugs and alcohol. From my viewpoint, I did not have a single thing going for me. I thought I was, and would, always be a loser. I could not see the hope that lay hidden in my life.
I did not know Jesus at this time and could not grasp that He could do the miraculous through me. All I could understand was the intense weight of pressure on my chest from the thought of my life not working out.
Never mind my misunderstanding of success at the time. I could not see the next five, 10, 15, or more years of my life going well. I was hurting bad. I would not be freed of my bondage. I would remain a slave to my habits for a couple more years and I could not see how great my future would be.
If in that moment I had seen the next 17 years of my life, the years that I have lived since then, I would not have felt any pressure. I might have still been unable to sleep from excitement, but not from stress and anxiety. I would be able to see the freedom from my heavy burdens God would bring me, and the amazing relationships He would restore for me. I would see my wife and family, my career path, and the beautiful experiences that God would bring.
I must share life is not perfect. Difficult situations still occur. We have been through many peaks and valleys along the way. However, God was with me through them all.
We can believe with certainty that our future is full of peace, joy, and goodness if we entrust it to God. It might not always be easy, but it will still be sweet with Jesus. This comes from a deep friendship with God that consoles us in the moment and transforms our understanding of reality to help us see through our burdens to the glory of God and the tremendous peace that He brings.
This is all nice to say and grasp intellectually, but it can be hard when rough moments come upon us. What do you do when you feel like there is no hope for your life? How do you move forward when you feel like you have no future?
To be honest, I did not take the right steps when I was in rehab, but I did learn from my mistakes. I now see there is tremendous hope for anyone on this Earth. I am not special whatsoever. I was not chosen among many because I am more loved by God. What I have received, God wants to give everyone. Therefore, I will share what He taught me so others may also receive it.
If you feel like you are currently living through a dark time in your life and cannot see the light, the hope of the good things God wants for you, here are a few steps you can take to get you through the darkness.
1. If you can’t trust all of your thoughts, talk to someone you do trust. It can be easy to give in to negative thinking during dark moments. In fact, due to your circumstances you will more likely have negative thoughts and expectations. Talk to someone you trust to help you navigate through this difficult time. It will help you keep the untrue, negative thoughts away and believe things will get better.
2. Come up with something you can look forward to everyday. Help yourself cope with the stress of the moment by finding something you enjoy and look forward to. I remember during a particularly tough time in my life I would still get excited for my morning cup of coffee. It helped to look forward to a morning treat during my struggle.
3. Make sure you pray. Obvious, but still, make sure you are going to the Lord in your heart. Carve out time to pray every day. You might not be able to see the good through your struggle, but God can. He will help lead you to know the good and help you reach it more. Prayer gives God permission to work in our lives.
4. Read Luke 18:1-8 often to reinforce your hope in prayer. This simple passage is a masterclass on how to pray with perseverance. Reading it often will help reshape our minds to remember to not give up in prayer.
5. Watch a movie or read a book about someone persevering in hope. My recommendation is the movie and book, Unbroken, about a man lost at sea and eventually captured and placed in a Japanese POW camp during WWI. He personified hope and perseverance and will inspire you to do the same.
We want to hear about stories of those who have been successful in hoping for a better life when they are down because it helps us remember people can get through tough times. This will strengthen our own hope, so it’s best to learn about the stories based on real people. Also, a good book or movie can be a nice relief from stressing about the darkness.
Other movies I would suggest are:
Braveheart*, about William Wallace
42*, about Jackie Robinson
Ray, about Ray Charles,
Soul Surfer*, about Bethany Hamilton
Apollo 13, about a difficult space mission to the moon
The Pursuit of Happyness*, about Chris Gardner’s difficult rise to success
King Richard, about Serena and Venus Williams
127 Hours*, about Aaron Ralson
The Pianist* about Władysław Szpilman
To save time, I put an asterisk next to the movies that are also books. Other good stories with this theme to read are: The Book of Exodus, the Book of Judith, and all of the Gospels’ depictions of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, 1776 about the American Revolution, A Pope and A President about Ronald Reagan and John Paul II’s lives, friendship, and handling of various difficulties, The Cross and the Switchblade about David Wilkerson’s life and ministry, and Break Every Chain, about Jonathan Hickory’s rise from addiction, depression, and loss.
Obviously, I have missed a lot of movies and books. Please send us any more suggestions as we would love to discover more to add to these lists!
If you are still struggling with getting through your difficult season, and you think you need assistance, we can help! At Zenith Ministries, we have been running a successful one-on-one mentorship program offering insight, real life solutions, inner healing, and spiritual guidance. Reach out today to receive a free consultation to see how we can help you overcome your struggles and enter the beautiful life you were meant for.
Email us at email@example.com or call/text at 404-333-8978. Find more info at www.zenithministries.com/mentorship.