For many years, I was an extremely negative person. I could walk into a room and pick out the one small detail that was wrong, like the wallpaper in the corner that was slightly peeling. I saw what was wrong with everything!
The reason for this attitude was that I had been abused for many years throughout my childhood, and I'd experienced a lot of disappointment. When Dave and I got married, I was 23 years old, and I couldn't remember a time I had ever been really happy.
People who have had a tough time in life are often afraid to expect anything good because they don't want to be disappointed and have to deal with the pain it brings. But I know from personal experience that if you've lived with this mindset, you can make a change—with God's help—and live with hope!
I know this is true because in John 10:10 (AMP), Jesus says, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]." If we will trust and believe in Him, we can have abundant life in Christ.
Believe It Before You See It
I sometimes say that we are the "show me" generation—we want to see it before we believe it. In fact, most of us have a hard time believing that God is working on our behalf until we see something happening with our natural eyes.
But that's not how God operates. He works behind the scenes. You may not see anything happening, but do you believe God is working on things in your life right now? Do you believe He's got a plan to help your children, your marriage, or those things you've been praying about for years?
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a good plan for your life "to give you a future and a hope." In other words, God is looking for an opportunity to be good to you!
Maybe it's hard to imagine yourself as a positive, faith-filled person, full of hope. If so, I know exactly how you feel! Some people are simply afraid to hope because they have experienced so much disappointment and don't think they can face any more pain.
But that's okay, because God is "the God of hope," and He wants to "fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises" (Rom. 15:13). With Him, it's never too late to start believing, anticipating, hoping and expecting.
The Truth About What Hope Really Is
One definition of "hope" is "a favorable and confident expectation."
I believe many times we take a passive attitude, deciding we'll just "wait and see" if something will change or "happen" to go well for us. But God wants us to expect on purpose. He desires for us to actively anticipate something good.
So...what are you expecting?
How do you talk about your future? What kind of attitude do you have about your everyday life? When you get up in the morning, do you think, Well, I guess I'll try to make it through another day. Or do you wake up with anticipation that today might be the day you receive your breakthrough?
It's interesting that when a woman's pregnant, we say that she's "expecting." And the further along she is, the more she anticipates what's coming.
My pregnancies were especially unique because I carried all four of my children approximately a month past their due date. My doctor told me I was the only woman he knew who stayed pregnant as long as an elephant.
Toward the end of each pregnancy, I woke up every day and said, "Today is going to be the day—it has to be the day!" I had my suitcase packed and ready. I was constantly double-checking everything and making sure things were in order, confident that my baby would come at any moment. Anytime I felt a twinge, I would think, There it is! It's coming!
This is exactly how God wants you to be with Him! He has an incredible plan for your life, and He wants you to anticipate that good things are right around the corner.
Hope says: "Things may have been this way for a long time, but God is the God of the impossible, and things can change."
Maybe you've endured a lot of pain and disappointment and can't imagine anything getting better. The enemy wants to convince you that things will never change. But God is a God of hope, new beginnings and second chances!
He wants you to know that He loves you.... and knowing that will fill you with overflowing hope!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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