This post is about using hope/optimism to get you out of the past and into the present, into the truth of what is around you.
It’s written in the first person (me!) and in realtime, as if it’s happening right now. If this story makes sense to you then please read to the bottom and read the next post which will come in 2 days. I hope these two will help you get into the present and see the good around you.
There are three parts to this post:
- Using the eyes of our past
- Using our real eyes to see the good around us
- Using eyes of faith to see the hope/optimism ahead
1. Using the eyes of our past
I want to get up, but I stay down. I can see it’s not a viable strategy for the long term, but I stay down anyway. I always enjoy the feeling of energy and enthusiasm that I usually have flowing through my veins. It’s exhillarating. But not today. It seems like I’m on a good wicket and then something happens and it looks bleak, like I will lose everything. I deflate and give up. “I knew it. It’s always like this” is my explanation style. I stay flat and defeated. No energy. Bored.
Capable of so much, but seemingly doomed to lose everything every time. Why gather the harvest if someone else will take it away? (But look what God has to say: Is 62:9 and Is 37:30). I feel like I’m halfway between the past and the present. It’s partly that I believe the lies that I can’t do what I aspire to, or that if I succeed then it will upset someone, or when I have succeeeded then someting will come and sabotage what I have achieved. I feel like I have no control. I may as well not even try.
But it is my explanation style which is actually keeping me trapped. Instead of seeing a challenge, I see certain defeat. Instead of seeing a hiccup or slight pause, I see a repeat of past failure. Fear immobilizes me. Yes it’s less than it used to be and I recover faster than ever before. The setbacks are measured in minutes rather than weeks or days.
All I see are the mountains ahead and I know I don’t have the energy in my body to go over them, no will, no desire to overcome. I know normally I could move over them with easy and sustained steps, because they aren’t actually mountains. But viewed from the bottom of the pit they look higher, steeper, more energy sapping than they really are. Slight inclines look like ravines sides from in the pit.
2. Using our real eyes to see the good around us
And suddenly the confrontation is over. I won. I see myself again, not my past, not my hidden traumas, not my sad stories. I am me again and I see my life as it is, spread out before me, a banquet of experiences and treats and relationships to be had.
To the naiive the experiences ahead contain light and dark, good and bad – they can hurt and reward. The future looks uncertain to them. From there. But to those with a good understanding of boundaries, they know they can avoid the bad well before it arrives. They also know that they can steer teir life toward the good experiences that are just over there.
The energy slowly seeps back into my body via my head, through my eyes. I’m seeing the world as it really is now, the tables, the kind people around me, the fun and laughter to be had, the colours. The eyes of my memory fade, the dangers of my past, the hidden traumas no longer look present with me, they no longer confront me, they no longer look dangerous.
As light floods my thoughts I am here, now. The darknes that had seemingly flooded the room has left. Shadows of my distant past are no longer here with me. They have gone back to the distant past. Here with me now is my life. Banished to the distant past are those thoughts and concerns. I say to myself, I felt that then, I don’t face that now.
I’m here, now. Before me are challenges abd tests which I am more than able to handle. I’m not who I was. I am who I am now. What’s done is done. I’m here now. My proven track record is a good one. I am safe. With the help of boundaries I will remain safe.
3. Using eyes of faith to see the hope/optimism ahead
But I hope for more than just to be safe. I will express myself. I will walk in the path that God has prepared for me (Eph 2:10). The dark shadows of memories that seemed to stand in front of me for a few moments, they seemed so real, so present, so now… they are banished, sent back to my distant past. That’s not me. I’m the one who balances my budget. I have gifts for people. People enjoy my company. I help people heal. I have a wonderful relationship with the God of Heaven. I have a destony and “you can’t stop prophecy”.
I look around me. Where is the pit that I thought was there? Where are the ghosts that clouded my reality for a short time? They tried to tell me that I am as I was. No. I repeat: NO. God tells me who I am and He tells me. And I choose to believe it.
My “eyes of faith” look even further into the future. My destiny is safely still there. Waiting. Over those slight inclines (not mountains after all!) Look, it is closer than it has ever been! It’s a great time to be me. I’m here. I’m going there. Here is good. There is better. I never need to look back.
Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more. – Isaiah 54:4
This is my real, learned experience. Hope and optimism is the anti-dote to depression. I guess thats why the bible says it’s one of the big three: faith, hope, love. May God bless you in your journey!