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Find Joy in the Present to Have Hope in the Future

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 significant portion, which means that if you are not concerned 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.

Why Some People Lose Hope

First, let’s look at why some people might lose hope. The reason could be that they have too much faith. That’s right, people lose hope because they have too much faith; however, 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 that 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 and the dreams we want for our future, don’t take the chances offered, or do other things that are not good for us because we fear that we will miss out.

What is more, 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 weaken. 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 some cases, this makes a lot of sense, but we can forget that God is far greater and more secure for us than money.

So, if we focus on people’s biggest fear 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 joy.

A Joy that Never Goes Away

Joy is a more profound 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 ensure we have this joy in the future, we must secure it now. We must find joy in the present to stop worrying about the future. 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. 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:

  1. Look at your trajectory, not your failures. The best way to explain this is to think you’re working toward a goal. If you miss a deadline or backslide, 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 your goal. 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 before. Seeing your life with this view can help you attain joy because you can be less sad about your shortcomings.
  1. Fight Off Bitterness. Often, when you encounter difficulty, suffering, or even the erroneous viewpoint that you are without hope, you find yourself feeling bitter. This bitterness can actually make it more difficult to have the joy needed to help you maintain your hope. Therefore, it is important to fight off bitterness to ensure that your path to joy is always open to you.

    We should work to overcome this, and patience and gratitude are the tools we need. 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 provide us with more good things. Let’s fight against bitterness and choose patience and gratitude so that nothing disturbs our joy.

  1. Love others even when it’s uncomfortable. In my whole life, nothing has produced more joy than loving others. Especially when it is painful, choosing to love others is life-giving. This doesn’t always mean 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 many people who can help. Ask God to make it clear to you whom and when to help.
  1. 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. It is just as amazing that Earth exists as it floats in space around a burning star. Why can’t a place beyond it, where we have joy forever without disturbance, also be just as real and even more amazing? If you struggle 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.
  1. 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.

There are plenty more steps we could mention. However, I would love to hear from you about examples of how you or someone you know are discovering joy in life. Please email us at info@zenithministries.com.

If you are looking for extra help finding joy, we have a successful one-on-one mentoring service assisting people with these issues. For more information, text/call us at 404-333-8978. Or you can visit here for more info.

 

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