Last week was a well-timed kickoff of my online virtual Zoom study for Discovering Jesus…
I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. (Acts 26:2 MSG)
This is my “Verse of the Year” for 2021 and my “Word of the Year” is HOPE! As we all deal with this worldwide pandemic, and for years to come, we will ALL need some HOPE! So how does a person go about “pitching our tent in the land of hope”?
Since God is the Creator of EVERYTHING, God can create a way forward on the path of hope for you! I recently released my Renewing Hope Journal. This little journal is your “tent of hope”, the place for you to gather verses that give you hope, quotes about hope, and create drawings and doodles to help you capture the hope building in your heart and mind.
My working definition of hope, based on studying verses about hope, is: “Waiting expectantly for God to show UP and show OFF for YOUR GOOD and GOD’S GLORY.”
Here are several activities that help me cultivate hope:
(1) Spend Time in the Promises of the Word of God: Max Lucado, author of Unshakable Hope says, “God’s promises are pine trees in the rocky Mountains of Scripture: abundant, unbending and perennial.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
First and foremost, to gain more hope, we need to get our hearts in the Bible, a book full of precious promises from the Creator.
(2) Spend Time with Jesus: The good news is Jesus came out of love for you, for me. He lived sinless then GAVE His life in our place. “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Max Lucado shares, “When Jesus died on the cross, so did your sin; when He rose from the dead, so did your hope.”
Our deep, abiding, faithful hope comes from what, or rather WHO, we are placing our hope. God has the surety to cover all His promises of hope.
Your friendship with your Creator is the rock solid, gold and diamond, bedrock wealth of eternal hope. Turn on some praise music and worship your way to hope!
(3) Send Time Creating: Paint, sew, build, draw, doodle, mold, whittle, carve, string together your hope! While writing Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, we (me and my co-authors, Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher, as well as Harvest House Publishers) decided to include creative expressions and scripture coloring pages, in part because the science behind creativity is powerful. In addition to writing the bible study book, I did more research and wrote a blog on the many benefits of creativity. [i] :
Dr Bea adds, that coloring “relaxes the brain. When thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax…we are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals. The difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness….”[ii] Additionally, Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist adds “concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.” [iii]
In short, being creative distracts us from our cares, stressors, and troubles!
(4) Spend Time in Nature: I live on a boat, and I concur with the studies that show people who live near water are jovial! “Water makes you happier, healthier, more connected to other people, and better at what you do,” says Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., the author of Blue Mind.[ii]
Think about how you feel when you look at a beautiful sunset, stand in awe at the sight of a majestic mountain, sense the calm of wading in a cool babbling brook, rest under the stars, or the feel the refreshment of breathing in fresh country air.
We, the created ,connect to the Creator when in creation.
Princeton researchers found that even “gardening at home had a similar effect on people’s emotional well-being (or happiness) as biking, walking, or dining out.”[iii]
(5) Spend Time with Life-Giving People: We are made for relationships. In my book, 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I encourage people to create a successnet for their lives by inviting positive, proactive, productive, and philanthropic people into their world. “According to Psychology Today, face-to-face contact can reduce the risk of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.”[iv]
I repeat: We were made for relationship!
In Genesis 2:18, we are reminded that “it is not good for man to dwell alone.” The word “alone” means isolated, curtained off, secluded. Get some face to face, live and in person time with lifegiving people. In addition, use technology when in person meeting are not possible. Stay connected!
(6) Spend Time Moving: Exercise boosts your happy hormones! So, after you spend time with God, in prayer, in the Word, and creating, then walk, run, bike, dance, hike, kayak, paddleboard, stretch, or take a class and learn new ways to move. In studies reviewed in the journal Brain Plasticity, Movement “boosts mood, lowers stress levels and even improves cognitive functions like attention, memory and problem solving. These benefits may be rooted, in part, in exercise’s ability to increase our brains’ production of the chemicals dopamine and serotonin…” [v]
Exercise helps you feel happier, healthier and more hope-filled.
Please check out the hope- filled resources below and invest in your own journey to “the land of hope.”
HOPE journal for your daily devotions or a gift perfect for your friend who needs help and hope.
Hope Duo: Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience and the new Hope Journal.
Hope and Joy Combo: Hope Journal and Joy Journal together!
Hope, Hope and More Hope: Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study, She Writes for Him: Stories of Living Hope (an award-winning compilation that includes Pam’s life story), and Hope journal.
Praying Hope for You!
Pam Farrel is the author of 55 books, including several bestsellers, like Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti as well as her newest, The Marriage Meet Ups: A 52 week His and Hers devotional planner set for couples that want more passion, purpose and productivity (both co-authored with her husband, Bill Farrel, who has breathed hope into Pam’s heart daily for more than 42 years!) The Farrels encourage you to join the Living Love-Wise Community for more hope-giving opportunities and options.
[i] https://ichoosemybestlife.com/coloring-youve-convinced-me/ [ii] https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-use-water-reduce-stress-and-soothe-your-mind [iii] https://environment.princeton.edu/news/emotional-well-being-while-home-gardening-similar-to-other-popular-activities-study-finds/ [iv] https://roadtoheavengame.com/health-benefits-spending-time-friends-and-family/