Jul 23

Top 10 Ways You Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace

This was the hardest “Top 10” list I’ve written yet.  I wanted to give practical ways to achieve peace, but that was a challenge.  A big part of achieving peace is based on what you’re putting into your mind.  What I’ve determined is that peace is a choice.  I don’t mean to trivialize it because I know how easily peace can be snatched.  Ultimately, when we put our hope in God, peace is achievable and will follow.

Top 10 Ways You Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace

By Melissa Taylor

10.   Begin by living in the light.  Of course the light of Christ, but also light up your world. Open the blinds. Take a walk in the sunshine.  Turn on some lights in your house.  Listen to music that brightens your mood, not dampens it. Get rid of the misery around you and let light surround you. Invite hope into your life.

9.  Spend time in God’s Word.  I know Christians tell you to do that all the time.  And you probably wish you had more time to do so don’t you?  I get that, I do.  But it’s true that God’s Word is a “lamp to your feet and a light to your path” (Psalm 119:105) And since #10 instructed you to get a little more light in your life, well then give it a try.  Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (NIV)  The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future. (Life Application Bible) Attitude is half the battle in gaining a hope perspective that leads to peace. God’s Word can help.

8.  Dismiss depressing thoughts quickly.  Be aware of what you are thinking. Do your thoughts tend to be negative, condemning, or gloomy?  Not much room for hope in the company of those characters. Next time you find yourself dwelling on something depressing, stop it!  You don’t want to do that. 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “…We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (CEV)  So, catch those thoughts, give them up, and listen to Jesus who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

7.  Here’s a practical one. List 5 things that bring you hope or 5 things you are hopeful for. Read them when you need to. Can’t think of 5?  Then make them up. You gotta start somewhere.

6.  Don’t give up. “You feel hopeless because you have been using your own power, not because there is no hope.  You feel hopeless because you have been headed in the wrong direction, not because there is not hope.  You feel hopeless because you have cut yourself off from others who could help you and guide you, not because there is not hope…You are not hopeless because there is not hope.  There is hope for you, if you will just persevere long enough to find it.” Stephen Arterburn (from Tammy Maltby’s book Confessions of a Good Christian Girl)   Choose to persevere long enough to find hope.

5.  Choose to be hopeful even when you don’t feel it.  I struggle with this so I remind myself to choose hope.  I wear a bracelet almost every day that says “HOPE” on it.  I have a Willow Tree Angel of Hope in my den. I have Scriptures of hope posted at my desk at work. I’m choosing hope and hope brings me peace. ****When I’m struggling greatly with this, I get help! I talk to a friend, ask my Bible study gals to pray for me, or when it’s been too overwhelming, I have sought professional help. Do whatever it takes, but don’t live life based on your feelings. They can be so fickle. Choose hope. Live in peace. Don’t settle for less.

4. Thank God for your trials and hardships.  Believe me, I know that sounds crazy. These next verses give big time purpose to our trials and suffering, therefore offering peace.  Romans 5:3b-5a, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us…” (NIV)  I’ve been through many trials where hope seemed lost and these verses have restored that.  And that brought me peace. Take it for your own.

3.  Take a time out for yourself.  Psalm 46:10 instructs us to do that so we will understand Who is in control.  Remember, when life is chaotic and peace seems far away, get quiet where you can hear God and God alone.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)

“Calm down and learn that I am God.” (CEV)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
(The Message)

2.  Pray hope and peace for yourself.  Like this:

“Lord, when my peace is broken by problems that come, remind me that You are always there caring about anything and everything that concerns me. I want to praise You through the painful places I walk through so I can rest in Your perfect peace.  Thank You for giving me hope and being my peace.  Please help me have hope and peace today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen    (portions of this prayer are from Prayers to My King by Sheri Rose Shepherd)

1.  Accept God’s plan for your life.  When you’ve lost hope, you have nothing.  Nothing to look forward to.  Nothing to believe in.  You begin to question if God exists for you or just other people.  This verse tells us very different.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God does exist for you.  He has plans for you.  He has a purpose for your life and it is good.  But you have to choose to trust Him.  Choose to accept the hope God offers.  Take it for your own. Look ahead with hope.  As you do, soak in the peace it gives you.

God loves you.  He created you and He had a good reason in doing so.  I pray that you will give Him a chance.  Never lose hope.

Once when my marriage was on the verge on ending, I asked my husband, “Is there any hope for us?”  He replied, “Just an ounce.”  I immediately took that “ounce of hope” to the Lord and asked Him to multiply it. That was my prayer for the months ahead where we fought for our marriage.  The restoration process wasn’t easy, but because I had hope, I was able to hang in there and claim peace.  Peace that didn’t come from my circumstances. Peace that wasn’t a part of my surroundings. It was inside of me.  It came from God.  I had to choose it and I’m so thankful I did.

I don’t pretend that life is easy.  It’s not.  Hope and peace are available to us at all times, but we have to take them. In the middle of our sometimes raging world I’m praying that you will claim them for your own and live life how God intended, with His peace in your heart.

Melissa

Comments

  1. I love the way you write, Melissa. Your messages, with simple words and examples backed up with Scripture, are so encouraging. Your unmistakable spirit of encouragement is precious! Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks! I needed to hear this! 😉

  3. Tammy Underwood says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. My mom is struggling with an illness and I am the oldest/only daughter. My dad passed away 7 yrs. ago. Mom is getting worse and I am sure she will have to move in with us. It has been an up and down journey. So emotional. After reading your post on Proverbs this morning I think I am grieving now. I am grieving the loss of who my mom was. The fact that she is not going to get better. As a Christian woman I have struggled with feeling guilty when my soul feels downcast and joyless but I am learning from the Psalms that it is okay as long as my hope is still in the Lord. Your top 10 list is great and I will use it and share it with others I know are struggling. I am choosing to believe God and his promises through all of this. He is such a good God and I know he has a purpose for everything he allows to happen.

  4. Dear Melissa,
    It is true how you don’t realize it unitl it’s already happened, that you are now in a special and mysterious “club”. No one talks about how painful it is to lose your mother with whom you were so close to. My mom was the one person in my life that I was absolutely confident would protect me with her own life from the day I was born until Jesus brought her home. I know my husband loves me more than anything except God, but I’ve only loved him for 21 years, not forty something! I think my period of true grief lasted about two years. I fluctuated from paralysis and feeling like I went missing when she left, to a boldend sense of urgency to face all of my fears myself . But the hardest part has been just understanding that this incredible woman that was bigger than life no longer was walking here in our world. It just didn’t make sense to me. My mom made this world a technicolor, vibrant experience, and when she left, the world felt washed over with gray. She was an artist, and painted with the boldest watercolor style, that’s why her paintings were so appreciated, very few could make water so shockingly vivid, but she could. She was a mighty warrior for God and life. She battled two types of cancer for thirty years! Doctor’s used her as a case study to learn the secrets to why she lived, she shouldn’t have. But God had plans for her that defeated physical death several times. She was a foreigner in America, with a thick Slavic accent, yet she made true lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Everyone that knew her, needed her in their lives. Everyone marvelled at her zeal for life, her determination, and her heated focus on just the most important things in life. She didn’t waste any time on the “stuff” that we allow to consume us. No, she had enough near death experiences to love life and to find joy even in her daily walks through nature, twirling a leaf between her fingers for a tactile connection to God’s beautiful creation she was part of. Losing her, for all of us, has been like losing a little bit of life, becuase she was SO full of life. We’ve all grieved. I can say now however, after three years, when I think about her, I remember more of the precious memories with her, with my girls, with all of us, and those memories now bring us to laughter, or joy, more than the sadness of losing her. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, the earth’s axis shifted, and my thoughts of her no longer caused me pain. I still miss her as much as ever, but now, missing her is bound with a grattitude that I had her for so long, that I learned so much from her, and I understand now that she is still with us becuase she’s in us, we have her DNA, and we have her lesson’s, and each of us has a part of her personality. We are so blessed, God gave us such an amazing, complex mother, Baka(grandmother), aunt, sister, mother-in-law, and life long friend. You will also one day just begin to feel a little differently when you think about your precious mom. The world’s axis will just shift without you knowing it, and you won’t feel as much pain and grief when you think of her. More and more, you will feel joy and grattitude instead, and one day, you will not grieve, but you will just feel love. God will replace grief with just love. But until then, the grief is important, it’s a necessary process that can’t be buried or avoided. It will help you bless others that are just beginning to walk down it’s shaded path, and you are helping those that only someone in this “club” can. I thank God that you have an opportuntiy to use your ministry to be a sister to sisters who have lost their moms, we all need our sisters when our moms leave us to be with Jesus. I pray that you are blessed with the assurance that in your grief, Jesus is right there too, he understands your grief becuase He is in this “club” with us. And He will lift the veil of grief from you when the time has passed, and then , when you think of your mom, you will think of your mom with beautiful memeories , joy and grattitude. God Bless You and your family.

  5. Precious friend, God is pouring out His divine grace and wisdom through you. I know this is part of your healing. But because you choose to let us in, He’s bringing beauty from the ashes in your life and so many others. I love you! Praying for you today.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. I am struggling in many areas of my life right now and this was very encouraging. Blessings to you!

  7. Melissa, thank you for your wisdom and for allowing God to use you. Sharing your time and real victories in this world, through Christ, are such a great encouragement. What a blessing!

  8. Kim Brunson says:

    I so needed this today. Find hope and peace through knowing God is using you to help others. Thank you.

  9. Melissa, Thank you for this list. I really need this for myself and my son. They are really going through many trials right now and it is very hard on them physically, emotionally and spiritually. My son (30) has had 3 back surgeries and is no longer able to work, their daughter is 7 and has Spina Bifida and she has had 17 or 18 surgeries in her short little life, they have a son who is 10 and it is hard on him because his sister needs so much of their time. My son is her primary caretaker and it is very had on him. We all help out , but we can only do so much. It is really a heartwrenching story if you knew it all. I hope that this will help them to keep their faith and keep on going forward….God will provide what they need when they need it, but, In His time….and sometimes, that makes it very hard on them. Prayers are always welcomed here!! Thank you again, Blessings, deb

    Sasha,
    You have put in word just how I felt when my mom died. It was as though I was writing most of it myself!!! Mom, She was my best friend all my life and when she died, I lost part of me too. She was the heart/joy of our family !!! She was such an AWESOME lady!!! It will be 10 years this coming January and I miss her so much some days that I can’t help but cry….but most of the time, I think of her and all the fabulous things we did and all the fun we had!!! I hope that I can touch as many lives as mama did. She worked with the youth most of her life, an amazing woman of God. She taught us that Love is the most important thing in life, Love is the key to it all. I can only hope that my sons feel the same love for me that I felt for mama, what a wonderful, powerful legacy that would be. Thank you for writing this. I hope that other woman will be blessed by this as much as I was. God is so wonderful to have blessed me with my Beautiful mom, as beautful inside as she was on the outside. Thank you Lord!

  10. Blessings to you…i love your writings and they are just what i need when i feel so down…Thank you

  11. I’ve had a heavy spirit about me today, although I don’t know its source. I’ve wanted to cry all day. I don’t know why. I needed to read this today. God is so much larger than our feelings!

  12. Great list!! I battled anxiety durig my recent pregnancy and post-partum and learned much of what you listed here. It’s amazing, how our thinking influences our feelings…and how only by changing out THINKING, can we change how we feel! I still battle being UN-anxious every day–for now it’s my “thorn in the flesh” that reminds me that my hope is in God. I am grateful for the journey–God is so good and I am glad that now I have an anti-anxiety tool kit to use for the rest of my life!
    Thank you for this!!!!

  13. As I read this I thought to myself how easy this should be to do considering where I came from! I mean I KNOW that God loves me and I know that he died to save me BUT we always think it’s easier “our” way! I grew up going to church every Sunday with my Grandma! Never missed a Sunday unless I was sick, she was sick or the snow was too deep to get there! I LOVED my Sunday School teachers and the lessons that I was taught but 45 years ago I guess it was difficult at times to understand exactly what God was saying to me! I knew right from wrong and I knew God’s commandments but NOT being raised in a so-called Christian household and having a pretty much absent father most of the time, things just never seemed right! Even up until my adult life I KNEW right from wrong but yet I just could never quite realize that God’s HOPE was what I needed in my life. I was divorced after 10 years of marriage, had a five year old son and I moved to Texas, without my son I might add! Not that I didn’t want him I did more than anything in my life but his father would not allow him to come with me……..thus I guess you could say the search for “LOVE”! In my 21 years of being divorced (never re-marrying) I have had many relationships AND at this point in my life I could say that NONE of them were of God’s Blessings! For the most part all of them were relationships of sexaul nature and living together without the blessings of the Lord. I always just knew that I could make it right….up until my last relationship which lasted 4 1/2 years, not long at all compared to some BUT long enough for me to fall head over heels in love with a man that had promised his undying love to me! Promises of a forever love, marriage, everything that I had been searching for all my life! I gave my all to this man and to this day I still love him with all my heart but………I soon found out that he had a drinking problem which would lead to his outbursts of anger and ugliness! I can remember asking God WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING!!!! Then I started to see signs of something other than just alchohol abuse………..DRUGS!!!!! I was totally and completely devastated!!!!!!! this man who I trusted with my life, who I believed in, who said he would take care of me, love me forever, marry me…….was talking to his female drug dealer more than he conversed with me!!! How could that be? What did I do wrong???? Yep you got it I took all of the blame and then some! You see I was so accustomed to the mental, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse that it became my norm and I accepted any attention or “love” that he offered to me! I thought I was praying, I begged for God to show me what to do, I asked WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?????? What did I do wrong? I truly thought that God had put me in this place of such torment that I was supposed to save this man! It was MY job to love more, give more, work harder around the house and in the yard and to show this man that I loved him no matter what!!!!!!! AND I did all of that and more……I begged his family for help to which they said they didn’t want to make him mad, so I was on my own!! I moved out twice because I couldn’t compete with the female drug dealer and the abuse BUT he knew all the right buttons to push, all the right things to say to get me to come back and so I would go back! AND guess what……..it got worse each time I went back and I KNEW it was Satan that I was dealing with BUT I thought because I was a GOOD person that was where I needed to be. I moved out one last time BUT I kept going back to visist him! He kept giving me glimmers of HOPE that everything was going to change and get better! I continued to want to believe him because I love him! I fell for it everytime and everytime I would go to visit I would find that a woman had been there! Which would crush my heart but he always told me that it was all in my head! Obviously the amount of stress was incredible for these 4 1/2 years BUT it was the only kind of love that I knew! Sound sick…yes it was! He kept pressuring me to MOVE BACK HOME and I had begun considering that possibility because I just knew that after all this time he must have changed! On April 29th at the age of 52, I was sitting here at my desk and I had a heart attack! As heart attacks go, the doctor said it was mild but all in the same was still a heart attack! There had been many signs but I never put the pieces altogether until after that little stay in the hospital! Now mind you, he came to the hospital and told me how things were going to change from that day forward! I just KNEW that God had finally gotten his attention, I knew he got mine!!! Two weeks after I got out of the hospital, his sister was getting married and he asked me to go! I was excited about going because he ACTUALLY asked me to go, he didn’t tell me as he usually did! I was talking to him on the phone a few days before the wedding and he said something to me that triggered a very bad memory and I could hear whom I realize at this time was God saying Jerri something is not right you better figure it out!!!!! So the investigator that I am, I figured it out and low and behold I found out that he was still very involved with his female drug dealer. In fact so much so that he called her the day OF my heart attack and every single day since that day that he made his last unkept promise to me! It has been one month since I have had NO contact with him! I still love him BUT I know that is NOT what God wants for me! I risked my health and my sanity for this man and in return all that I ever received were broken promises and endless lies! I felt led to write this because there were those days that I had NO HOPE or at least I thought I had no hope and what hope I did have wasn’t from God at all! It was always based on what I THOUGHT was right or what I WANTED. In this past month, I have to say that NO it has not been easy BUT God has shown me so much! He has allowed me to meet so many people on Face Book that are Christians and have filled my heart with words that God has given them to speak. Postings that have touched my heart in ways that I never dreamed possible. Has it been an easy walk..NO… because Satan is pretty darn certain that he can get me to come back BUT I am here to tell you that won’t happen! I have had some bad days where I lost my hope of recovering from this painful even in my life and cried tears that I thought had long ago dried up BUT a specail friend told me that it is okay to cry because it is God’s way of cleansing us! I am so very thankful for this very special friend because if it had not been for her testimony and postings on Face Book I might have gone back to that dark place. I pray for this man on a daily basis and God GIVES me the HOPE that one day he will turn to Jesus for his salvation! That is the HOPE that I stand on! I so appreciate being able to see the messages from you Melissa and others that speak so loudly to my heart. I know that the words come directly from God and they come at just the right time…….when I don’t feel like having hope or having peace and wanting to have a pity party! I have learned that I WANT God to shine thru me as he does for you and others that have this ministry! I long to be a BRIGHT light for him! Thank you so much for allowing me to share a small part of my story! Thank you for reminding me to CHOOSE HOPE AND CLAIM PEACH FOR MY LIFE! God Bless You!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful devotional and wonderful list for gaining hope and peace! These will bring help to many women. My sympathy to you on the loss of your mom! May God bless you with a flood of his loving presence.

  15. Suzanne Stock says:

    Thanks for this. One of my goals for this year is to allow hope to be restored in my life. While I try to look at circumstances from God’s perspective and keep a sense of humor in the midst, sometimes things are just overwhelming. I appreciate your insights.

  16. I read this at a time when I really needed it. Thank you and thank God for the work He’s doing. I’m always trying to tell me kids life is all about choices, we just have to seek God’s wisdom when we are making them and he will lead us in the right path.

  17. To all the women who have responded with wonderful tributes to your moms…They raised amazing women of faith! To others, so much pain, but God has triumph over all the pain and led to you to this wonderful place of inspiration, love, acceptence and HOPE! Amen

  18. Thank you melissa…beautifully written…encouraging and inspiring…may God bless you.

  19. Melissa

    I’ve been on the most rotten journey of hopelessness for the last few years. My family has weathered some crazy storms as we stepped out of ministry life.
    We still live in the same town where my husband pastored (it’s not OUR town…we’re from another state) and have to face people who were very instrumental in destroying us.
    We didn’t leave due to sin on our part….but have felt very attacked anyway.

    Life has been so complicated and stressful.
    I really needed to read your list! Thank you!

    I’m trying to have a righteous perspective on what God is doing in my life.

  20. Olayinka Okunola says:

    Things to do:
    1. Print out
    2. Read every morning
    3. Action
    4. Results – STRONGER HOPE- UNSHAKEABLE!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] little hope infusion thanks to a sweet Proverbs 31 blogger Melissa Taylor. God led me right to her Top 10 Ways You Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace post! Wow, what an inspiring boost for my spirit! It was as if she wrote it just for me. Thanks […]