Many years ago, when I was first trying to change my life, I read many self-help books, and they sounded good, but I was unable to put them into action. I couldn’t seem to make them work for me. I started thinking about Hope. I always saw Hope as no more than a wish. For years I didn’t have much hope that anything in my life would change. I wished it would but didn’t have any confidence it would happen. I certainly didn’t know how to do it.
I looked up the word Hope and discovered it was more than just a wish. When I found God, my hope changed from a wish to Expectation. I was learning that my creator would support me in all my efforts to change my life and would not let me down. With that understanding, I expected my future to change, and it did. “To understand God strengthens hope, enthrones faith in Truth, and verifies Jesus’ word: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Science and Health)And fromRomans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” I began to see that understanding and patience was important.
Hope encompasses three things:
- Goals – I had to approach life in a goal-oriented way.
- Pathways – I had to find ways to achieve my goals.
- Action – I had to believe I could and do something about it, and take action.
I did not consciously know this when I was in crisis and desperately wanted my life to change, but it did. God gave me hope and direction, and the strength to make my life different. Remember the story of The Little Engine that could, that is Hope. “I think I can, I think I can.” Positive thinking and realistic goals are not naïve. “Positive and imperative thoughts should be dropped into the balances of God and weighed by spiritual Love, and not be found wanting, before being put into action.” Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy. Motivated by Hope and Expectation, I realized that those past conflicts and traumas could be dealt with and forgotten.
So, what was my goal? I was beginning to see that the best path in life was the one that Jesus was teaching us. A life of love. I had no barometer to tell me what love was. All I knew about love was what I was reading. I experienced little love in my childhood, so it was hard for me to recognize it. So, my goal was, to learn how to recognize, give and receive love.
The pathway to achieving my goal was to learn as much as I could about God and His son Jesus. And the action was applying what I was learning to my life. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
With Hope, I gained determination. I decided to change and worked to make it happen. I am not saying it is easy; it’s not. I had to unlearn about 45 years of wrong thinking patterns that were drilled into me as a child, and that didn’t happen overnight; it took years. I didn’t just suddenly become the person I am today; I had to work at it. Baby steps at first, but the more I learned about God and my relation to him, the bigger the steps became. 😊 So gratefully, it didn’t take another 45 years to turn it around. 😊
Part of my goal was to stop making bad choices. Changing my thinking was helping me do that. Before I make a decision now, I listen for the ‘still small voice’ for guidance. I weighed the pros and cons, and with reason and logic, I picked the best way to go. Before I never thought about the consequences of my choices, I just made them and dealt with whatever happened, and most of the time, it wasn’t good.
Once I started trying to make better choices, I became fearful of making a wrong decision. Then, I learned something significant. Here is a quote from an article written by Adam H. Dickey titled, God’s Law of Adjustment.
“There are times when human wisdom is inadequate to tell us just what is the right thing to be done. Under such circumstances, we should pray humbly for divine guidance, and then choose that which seems to be in accord with our highest sense of right, knowing that God’s law of adjustment regulates and governs all things; and even if we choose the wrong way, we…have a right to know that God will not allow us to continue in a mistake, but will show us the right way and compel us to walk therein.”
WOW that is remarkable! This quote made such an impact on my life. There is nothing wrong with changing my mind when it is based on new information. I lost my fear of making bad decisions.
I am finally going to fully retire in about three months. I’ll be 80 next year, so I think it’s about time. 😊 Of course, this will affect my income, but that’s not a problem. I have known this was coming and have tried to set my work income outside my budget. But, at present, I am also trying to make a decision that will affect my life. To move or not to move that is the question. 😊 As any of you know, owning your own home requires a lot of attention. I’m tired of taking care of this place. I’m thinking of selling my villa and renting an apartment, but I’m not sure that is a wise move to make.
I’m listening for the ‘still small vice,’ and all these other alternatives keep popping into my head. I need to sit quietly and pray to know that God will place me where I belong, and if that is right here, then so be it.
Well, it’s been a week since I wrote the above about the villa, and I made a decision. My villa has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It is quite spacious, and I don’t need all this room. I only need two bedrooms and one bathroom, but I’ll take two, one for my cats. 😊 After all, I’m only one person. The second bedroom is for my office, and I have a twin bed I can put in there to use when I have guests, and they can use my bedroom. 😊 Downsizing will require me to get rid of a lot of things, but they’re only things.
So, my plan now is to find a condominium that will reduce my expenses, taxes, etc., you know how that goes, and sell the villa. Forget about renting, which will cost me more in the long run. My villa is paid for. Only time will tell if I actually move. I need to love the new place as much as I love this one, and I love this place. But whatever I am led to do, I expect I will be in my right place.
Changing my life was a learning experience. I learned that Expectation and Trust, other aspects of Hope, are powerful. When we expect something to happen and trust that it will, it gives us the power to move mountains. Well, maybe not physical mountains, but those mountainous problems that we are confronted with from time to time, and the big one, changing your entire life as I did. That is what Hope is all about, Change. Hope is something we look forward to, something that happens in the future. The only way we can achieve what we hope for is to hold to the truth and Live in the eternal NOW. That is the only moment we have. The past is gone, the future is yet to come, NOW is the moment of choice.
I didn’t forget my past, but I now see it through different eyes. When I look back on my past now, it feels like I am looking at someone else’s life. I don’t feel like it happened to me. It can’t hurt me anymore or affect my life decisions. My past has been expunged. My blogs are about the individual lessons I learned along the way.
If you have realistic Hope, it helps you establish clear goals, find pathways to those goals, and have the strength to keep going even when things get tough. Come on now, get out there and mow down those mountains. You can do it; I did.
“When the destination is desirable, expectation speeds our progress.” From Science and Health.
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalms 31:24)
Have a hopeful day! Michele