Don't defer Hope!
Spiritual warfare, (seemingly appropriate today, Memorial Day, huh?) is an area I've been spending more time in again and it is really quite amazing to me for a number of reasons. One is that I think we underestimate the "behind the scenes" battles. Since I've spent the time studying this out of the Bible, I am quicker to recognize when there is a conflict going on that is bigger than what first meets the eye.
I was just talking to a friend about this. My personality is that when there is a conflict between myself and Mark or anyone else, I will immediately get very down on myself to figure out what I'm doing wrong and, while that might not be wrong, it can pull me down into condemnation and I can feel so bad that the rest of the day it's hard to feel better or get past the conflict. I've begun to recognize it more now. Instead of immediately feeling terrible, I ask God to get in the middle of it right away. I try to see what I can do but stop trying to fix it (and usually I end up making it worse anyway!) Yesterday, I was recognizing a feeling of discouragement. I started to let me mind go down a road of negativity and out of nowhere came the verse: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 I hadn't thought of that verse in a long time. I realized that discouragement for me is giving up hope, which makes my heart sick. By the power of God, by the promises He has given us for so long, we can stand firm in hope, knowing that He cares for us and will never forsake us. All of this was going on in my mind.....spiritual warfare! Nothing in my life had changed, but my attitude through God's words, changed. For me, hope is putting one foot in front of the other according to what God's will is. It is not giving up when the going gets tough, but keeping my belt of truth in place to remember that He is the same yesterday, today and always! So, for me, for you, the things that we know in our hearts we need to do--whether it's getting healthier by eating right and exercising, whether it's learning how to deal differently with a relationship, whether it's your job or passion and purpose that you are trying to move forward with, or anything really, hope deferred will only make our hearts sick. It's time to take the small steps forward, asking God for guidance every step of the way, for this is a tree of life!