About today’s guest blogger Lori Schumaker…
As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, and writer, Lori believes her purpose is to encourage others to seek hope. Pointing others to Jesus brings her joy. Writing about the hope of Jesus is her focus. It’s because of this that she is excited to welcome you as a friend as you struggle through brokenness, celebrate life’s joys, and grow to know Jesus more and more. Lori calls the Ahwatukee Campus her home and serves there on the prayer team and as a member of the Campus Council. Find her blog, Searching for Moments, at www.lorischumaker.com.
Hope. What would you label it? An emotion? An attitude? A way of thinking?
Recently discouragement had found a comfortable place in my heart. Challenges I faced felt overwhelming and I found myself stuck where the light of hope and truth struggle to shine.
You see, I’m a follower of Jesus and I know the hope found in Him. I’ve lived it and I’ve experienced His redemption. But, still that doesn’t stop me from sliding into where the enemy loves to trap me – into hopelessness.
How about you? Have you been in that place before? Are you there now?
The interesting thing is I write a lot about hope. Because I write about it, I read a lot about it, too. A recent favorite of mine was the book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. In it she refers to hope in a way I hadn’t thought of before.
“Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.” – Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection
I’ll be honest. That statement didn’t sit well with me at first because, to me, hope is felt in the heart. In the soul. It is something given to me by Jesus.
But I couldn’t let that quote go. I wrestled with it. Eventually coming to the conclusion that it didn’t contradict my belief at all!
When we believe there is a God of the Universe who is in control and is faithful to His promises, we are able to set fear aside. By setting it aside, we give ourselves freedom to set goals, step toward them, and believe in our capability. That is a series of cognitive processes. A series that when put into action, ushers us right into where hope happens. Where conviction is felt and hope is firmly planted. It is then we know that with Christ, all things are possible. And we say,
“I can do this.”
“I can get to the other side of this trial because I know God is in this.”
“I can focus on the next right step because God gives me just enough light.”
“I can step fearlessly and with confidence through discouragement and onto my something better because God’s power is in and for me.”
But often when the discouragement sets in, weariness takes over and we stop putting those cognitive processes into action. We stop doing the next right thing. We rush and push on to the next challenge on our life list and forget what is most important. We forget that as followers of Jesus, our focus needs to be on Him and our next action step needs to be accessing the battle plan found in His Word.
The battle plan we can only find if we open our Bibles.
One morning in the midst of my discouragement, I was whining pouring out my heart to God. I realized I had once again, instead of focusing on Him and His word, slipped into focusing on my trials. As I humbly asked for His grace and mercy, it happened.
It was a scripture I have read a multitude of times. One I’d previously highlighted and to which I’d written the word “beautiful” in the margins.
In that moment, the “beautiful” washed over me as emotions of humility, awe, desire, and HOPE captured me.
Everything He is and everything I hope for was right there in those Words. They held my deepest desires for not only myself, but for all who are in my life. In that moment I set fear, discouragement, and weariness aside.
And I grabbed onto hope.
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. –Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT
Those Words were not simply ones to read as head knowledge, but ones to pray and claim as truths. Praying scripture is powerful. It changes circumstances. It grows an indescribable hope because it puts us in alignment with God’s Will and God’s promises.
So, will you join me in keeping our focus on God and His Word? Will you join me in praying scripture? Will you join me in stepping out of discouragement and grabbing onto hope?
Just in case praying scripture is new to you, I’ve provided a little example. Simply fill in the blanks with whomever you have on your heart. From here, you can open your Bible to the many promises of God written within the pages. Each can be prayed with confidence knowing they are in alignment with God’s will and desires for our lives.