Last week I extolled habits of faith. But faith can be really hard if you’re in a deep hole. How exactly do you have faith when everything around you seems to confirm there’s no hope?
Think hope has left you? Think again. There is always hope because there is always Christ.
You can go through the motions of active LDS life without the restored gospel ever penetrating your heart. That’s because God respects agency. He won’t enter your heart until you first open it. You must first believe before you receive.
But how is that done? How do you believe so much in hope and possibility you feel it deep inside you?
Your focus matters
I’ve posted before on how your focus becomes your reality. It’s one of the natural laws that determines whether your life will be miserable or joyful.
Life dissatisfies everyone who focus on the negative — what they don’t have, what they aren’t, what they can’t do (or at least what they believe they can’t do). Focus on that long enough, and what do you expect will result?
So if you can’t see the light of hope, you’ve simply focused too long on hopelessness.
Jesus Christ enables us to cling to hope even when it seems none exists. His light has shone since the beginning. Considering the price He paid for all of us, that light will continue to shine far into the future.
You may be thinking, OK, great, but how does that help me to get married? Well, being single is not your real problem. Your real problem is your approach to life, an approach that you have encoded in habit. When your habitual approach has you focusing on the negative, you will feel negative habitually. It’s natural law.
To turn that around, follow the advice of Alma to his son Helaman: “Look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). When you focus on the Source of all faith and hope, He will fill you with faith and hope. And when that becomes habit, you’ll feel that faith and hope habitually. You will come to feel optimistic about your life and your future despite the disappointments of the past or the difficulties of the present.
Please understand that focusing on the Savior means more than simply following through the motions of the typical Sunday School answers. It’s not about outward action but inward alteration.
Happiness comes not from merely doing the right things but from bringing your all to the right things. When you bring your all to the right things, you direct your focus towards what’s right. That path always leads to Christ, because He is the Author of everything right in the universe. And when you allow Him to enter your heart, He transforms you into everything that is right for you in your life.
Step out of your way
One of the largest hinges on the door to our heart is self-talk — the messages that we give to ourselves out of habit. Many singles who feel constantly depressed have habits of negative self-talk. They provide themselves discouraging messages that fix their focus on hopelessness and fear. Do any of these sentiments sound familiar to you?
• I can't.
• I'll never have the life I want.
• Nobody wants me.
• I'm so imperfect.
• I'm too weak to go on.
• Nobody cares about me.
Many singles give themselves these messages out of habit. They do it automatically without ever thinking about it. We are truly our own worst obstacle!
None of these depressing messages comes from Christ, so when we focus on Him, we can break free of the habit of fear. Focusing on Him means giving ourselves messages of hope and faith — in other words, embracing habits of positive self-talk. How often do you give yourself these messages?
• I can.
• I will achieve the life I want.
• I am wonderful.
• I am worth something.
• I am so strong I'm unstoppable.
• God cares about me.
Happiness comes from bringing your all to the right things. Self-talk is a powerful tool to bring your all to those right things.
If you feel dissatisfied with your life or bereft of any hope for the future, examine your habits of self-talk. The messages you feed yourself can hold you back from experiencing the joy God wants you to have right here and now. Reformat yourself with habits of positive self-talk and then reboot yourself.
Jesus Christ makes it possible to find joy regardless of our circumstances. When you open your heart to him with habits like positive self-talk, His light will help you to see the possibilities that really do surround you. And you can’t help but feel hope and optimism when you see as He sees.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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