A while back, I talked about despair as absence. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week–mostly because I’ve been having some mattress issues. It’s amazing how hard it is to stay present and upbeat in my day when I’m seriously lacking in sleep. Yes, I know that sleep is a huge factor in emotional health. Lord willing, the latest mattress fix will work!
Anyway, one of the things I have written in my journal about hope is Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, NIV). It’s a well-known verse, but in the Psalms of Ascent study, Beth Moore talks about flipping the verse. We know God’s plans for us: to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future. But we can also look at this verse and get a pretty good glimpse into what Satan’s plans for us are–the exact opposite: for us to fail, to harm us, for us to be hopeless and without a future.
Even if depression isn’t something you struggle with, we all struggle with sometimes feeling hopeless or like we’re failing. We can entertain those thoughts–in other words, we can let them hang out in our brains all comfy-like, rather than kicking them out when they show up (or working to make sure our brains are hostile environments for them in the first place). But after looking at the flip side of Jer. 29:11, those thoughts have actually become a sort of cue for me–a reminder that when I entertain hopelessness or feelings of failure or fear of the future, I’m falling in line with Satan’s plans for me. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather position myself to follow God’s plans for my life.
Note: I am one hundred percent a fan of re-examining one’s life to determine where you can do things better–that’s not what I’m talking about here when I say we shouldn’t entertain thoughts of failure. I firmly believe in figuring out how to do things smarter rather than working harder at the impossible.