It’s almost 2022. Let’s make it a year of hope! I just read a study that said nearly half of our population, including 40% of our generation, is worried about the future.
This is a large portion, which means that if you are not worried about the future, odds are you know someone who is. Read on to discover how you can help yourself or someone else to stop worrying about the future and make 2022 a year of hope.
Why Some People Lose Hope
First let’s look at the reason why some people might lose hope. The reason is basically that they have too much faith. That’s right, people lose hope because they have too much faith, but the issue is that their faith is misplaced. They have too much faith in their fear, too much faith that God will not help them through whatever comes their way, and too much faith that they cannot find peace and joy in all circumstances.
This misplaced faith becomes a false idol people “worship” in their minds as their thoughts continually circle around, causing great distress. We begin to offer sacrifices to this idol instead of the One True God and lose so much because of it. What do we sacrifice? We sacrifice a good night’s sleep, dreams we want for our future, we don’t take the chances offered to us, or we do other things that are not good for us because we fear that we will miss out.
What is more is that all of this actively diminishes our hope. We shrink it down by not choosing it. If we don’t exercise our hope “muscle” it will get weaker. This makes it harder for us to hope when more difficulties come our way or when we look to the future with wonder about what is to come.
The Biggest Fear
The biggest fear people have for the future is whether they will be happy. If they knew they would be joy-filled and excited about life in the future, even if the government fell apart, there was another pandemic, or jobs were scarce, they would not worry as much.
This is probably why people make money their focus. They see money as a way to find security for whatever may come in the future. In some cases, this makes a lot of sense, but what we can forget is that God is far greater, and more secure for us, than money.
So, if we focus on this biggest fear that people have about the future, “what if I am not happy”, we can start to unravel the worry that this fear causes. People worry about whether they will be happy in the future because they believe something will or will not happen to impact their happiness. So, we must make sure nothing can take away our happiness.
A Joy that Never Goes Away
Joy is a deeper and fulfilling version of happiness that stays with us in all circumstances. In the early church we have many examples of early Christians going to their deaths with tremendous joy. Even in the moment of their death, they had joy. This is the secret to hope: finding joy that never goes away so you know you will have it in every circumstance in the future.
To be sure that we have this joy in the future, we must secure it now. If we want to stop worrying about the future, we must find joy in the present. If we have this joy now, we can continue to depend upon it and watch it grow. Joy won’t let you know what is coming, but it will ensure that you can handle whatever does. Personally, having this joy has assisted me in getting through a lot of difficult moments in life. It has been a faithful friend for sure.
Steps to Having Joy to Give Us Hope
How then can we have this joy to help ourselves to quit worrying about the future? Obviously, prayer, scripture, and the sacraments are a big part of this plan, but we can also do the following:
- Look at your trajectory, not your failures. The best way to explain this is to think like you’re working toward a goal. If you miss a deadline or you backslide a little, you should look at your overall progress to discover how well you are doing. Even if you make many mistakes in life, look at your overall progress towards what you are trying to achieve. Even if you mess up, you are more knowledgeable than you were before. This is a small victory, which means you are doing better than you were before. Seeing your life with this view can better help you attain joy because you are able to be less sad about your shortcomings.
- Don’t be spoiled. I know, who am I to say this? Admittedly, I can fall into being spoiled by modern culture and the easiness of modern life. So, when something is not fast and easy it can be frustrating. The point here is that we should work to overcome this, and patience and gratitude are the tools we need for it. We must be thankful for the good things that God has given us and patiently bear through the discomforts of life while we wait for Him to give us more good things. Let’s fight against being spoiled and choose patience and gratitude so that nothing disturbs our joy.
- Love others even when it’s uncomfortable. In my whole life, nothing has produced more joy than loving others. Especially when it is uncomfortable, choosing to love others is life-giving. This doesn’t always mean that you need to give away every penny you have, or all your time to charity, but you can help those in need. There are a lot of people who need help and there are a lot of people who can help. Ask God to make it clear to you both who and when to help.
- Believe in heaven. This could be a whole other blog post, but heaven is real. We don’t need scientific evidence of something to prove its existence. We have the promise of a God who is honest and good. Honestly, I think it is just as amazing that Earth exists as it floats in midair around a burning star. Why can’t there be a place beyond it where we have joy forever without disturbance. If you are struggling to believe in heaven, ask God to help you believe in it more. You can also ask God to help you see the miraculous in your life. This will help you believe in heaven and have more joy too.
- Look for the good in every circumstance. This is not being overly optimistic, but simply appreciating that you have good things happening in your life. Even during difficult moments, when you can find the good things you will more easily have joy. Focusing on the good can also help carry you through those difficult moments as well.
Honestly, there are plenty more steps we could mention. However, I would love to hear from you about examples on how you or someone you know are discovering joy in life. Send us a response below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you are looking for extra help finding joy, we have a successful one-on-one mentoring service where we assist people with these and other issues. For more information, text/call us at 404-333-8978. Or you can visit here for more info