I love the promise of a new year. It's as if I'm being handed a clean slate from God asking, "What would you like your life to look like?" I begin filled with boundless hope with great intentions of new projects I want to tackle or new relationships to pursue. But to be honest, as the days peel off the calendar, it gets more and more tempting to settle into the comfort of the familiar, rather than focus on these adventurous, courage-requiring goals. It's like hope just slips away, no matter my plans. It's during these times I find it helpful to identify what are the false beliefs that I let creep in and what is the truth I can use as a weapon to disintegrate them.
1<sup>st False Belief: There shouldn't be so much pain or struggle!
Truth: Life is always going to be filled with pain and struggle. Other people may appear to have more or less than me, but everyone has their mountains to climb. The beauty is that I grow and mature the most as I walk through my pain. I need to learn not to fight against it and remember that struggles usually come and go in seasons.
2<sup>nd False Belief: Circumstances don't ever appear to change.
Truth: Some circumstances may never change, but some may! There's no way of knowing which will or won't. I can't predict the future. Remember that hope chooses not to imagine a bad future, but rather, a good one.
3<sup>rd False Belief: I get overwhelmed by (what feels like) rejection.
Truth: Of course, life would be easier if I didn't ever get involved with other people, much less need anything from anyone. But I don't want to live in isolation. Their reasons for rejection are less about me than I could ever imagine.
4<sup>th False Belief: I keep looking for external things to fix internal things.
Truth: External things will never fix internal things, except for in brief moments—but I'll never be able to string enough of them together.
5<sup>th False Belief: I doubt the working of God in my details.
Truth: God works in the details of my life in varying degrees. Sometimes it seems big, sometimes super small. I also can't predict how God will show up in my details, but I choose to trust God is with me and working all things for my ultimate good.
Do you want to be a person who continually chooses hope over fear or cynicism? When I start to feel that hope slipping away, it's vital to remind myself of the powerful, Gospel-based truths I am constructing my life upon.
Mark Smeby is a Nashville-based recording artist and author quickly becoming considered "The Voice of Hope" through his work creating projects, resources, and live events focused on the concept of hope. His "Live Hope Minute" nationally-syndicated radio feature is heard daily on 250 radio outlets around the U.S. and Canada, and is now available as a hardcover one year devotional. More info is at: www.livehopenow.com