Social distancing log, day 417 er, uh, 12. How are you doing Friend? Have you burned through your Netflix watchlist and decided to pull out old home movies in order to avoid cleaning out the fridge? More importantly, are you joyful with hope and keeping a positive outlook? I know it’s hard, but while it’s smart to have a plan for the worst-case scenario I think it’s more important to have a plan for hope. THAT’s planning for the BEST! Sound good? Then let’s be positive together!
An overload of negative thoughts can create a general sense of impending doom. Right now, worry, stress, and uncertainty are definitely on overload and it’s easy to get into a hopeless attitude.
Let’s Not Plan for Bleak
I recently read this caption on Instagram that made me see that some might be struggling to stay hopeful in the midst of our world medical crisis: “It’s hard to know what to post or how much to talk about clothes, beauty, etc. These things make me happy, but I don’t want to be insensitive as the Coronavirus situation gets more bleak.”
I immediately wanted to fire off a response that I fully intended to be uplifting and hopeful but would have started out, “Now, let’s not plan for bleak…” followed by a scripture. But I saw how that could have come off as nasty and as much as I try to stay positive, I realize there are those of us who are downright, “skeert”.
While I’m not usually one to freak about this stuff, I do believe we have to take this seriously and take the necessary precautions for our safety and the safety of our families. But if you’re one of the peeps heading toward “bleak” here are a few tidbits of encouragement to help you plan for hope in all circumstances.
How to Have a Plan for Hope
Acknowledge Where True Hope is Found
Acknowledge that God IS hope. Apart from Him, we’re pretty puny on our own but with His strength, we can face all things.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Psalm 71:5
The Foundation IS Hope
Build your days on a foundation of hope. That’s God. He is our hope and strength.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Don’t Run Ahead of Hope
Remember that God is already there on the other side of this. But, He’s also right beside us every single second. Allowing our mind to move ahead into the “worse case scenarios”, we’re getting ahead God. That’s never been His plan.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Extinguish Fear with Living Water
Third, surrender that fear and negativity to God. God gave us 365 scriptures telling us to not be afraid; one for every single day. It’s like He knows we’re scaredy-cats or something.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT
Panic is human nature. “A person is smart; people are dumb, panicky animals…” K, Men in Black.
When we allow ourselves to be drawn into the fearful thinking of “ the crowd” we easily slip into the “throng” mentality and start to hoard food and toilet paper. But Scripture says to take our thoughts “captive” and make them obedient to God, not let them run wild and join a rebellious gang.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Make Hope Your Stronghold
Continually thinking and stressing about the COVID-19 give too much power to fear. We make fear the stronghold (or defense) instead of God and the hope He provides. I love that this next verse says, “casting down imaginations”. Isn’t that the thing we fight more than anything, the things our mind conjures?
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God… 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Think Only the Good Words
It’s okay to think and talk (and post if you’re a blogger) about normal things. Yes, we know this is serious, but dwelling on it doesn’t change anything except how quickly we’ll end up in the pit of despair.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Get Out Of Your Head and House.
Keep hoping and praying and get out of your own head and out of your house. We’re not on house arrest. If you live in an area with space or have a yard, get outside and breathe.
Turn the News Off
Be informed but no more! Staying positive can be hard when everything we hear and see revolves around the source of our panic. You might even have to get off of social media. Gasp! (Of course, subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss anything here.) But seriously, it’s hard to be hopeful when that’s all we think about.
Have a Plan for Hope and Add a Song
Fill the day and your mind with normal things and worship. For me that means music. Did I ever tell you that I wish life was a musical? Wouldn’t it be great to burst into song whenever?!?!
I enter into worship the best when I have a playlist. Here are a few of my favorites to add to your playlist so you can create a soundtrack for HOPE! So hang in there and be FULL OF HOPE.
- You Are Good, Israel Houghton
- When I Think About the Lord, (James Huey) Shane & Shane
- Because of Who You Are, Martha Munizzi
- Every Praise, Travis Cotrell
- In Christ Alone, Natalie Grant
- Hold on to Me, Elevation Worship (below)
Reach Out but Don’t Touch Someone
But if you’re struggling, reach out to someone. We live in one of the best times to be going through this. With FaceTime, Skype, Marco Polo, What’s App, and Zoom, we can be face to face and never even touch!
I would be happy to pray for you. Just drop me an email, or if you’d like even more prayer partners, drop a comment below. And if you’re a prayer warrior, look through the comments and pick someone to pray for.
There’s no need to go it alone and no shame in reaching out. We’re all in this together.