My fellow Worship Exposers,
If you’re reading this post then that means you’ve successfully made it to February 2016. Your 2016 is finally starting to sink in now. The newness of January and all of the New Year’s Resolutions you made have drastically worn off by now. That hyper-charged version of you that was so eager to lose 25lbs or to pick up your Bible and study every day has now settled back down into the version of you that got left behind around… mid November 2015 (just before the holidays). Now, there are those of you who are still sticking to your resolutions, and to that I salute you. You’ve pretty much beaten the odds. So whether you’ve just chugged your last protein shake of the year, or you’re the determined, goal-oriented, well-disciplined person who is most definitely going to make it till at least the end of Valentines Day, you’re in luck. You’re in luck because what I’m about to share with you is an opportunity to break the traditional resolution cycle and open up a door of opportunity to make your year and your life an amazing experience.
This month’s series is called, “ONE WORD.” If you have no clue what I’m talking about, please visit our series introduction and get more info on the one word challenge before reading any further. For my "One Word" of 2016, I wanted to choose something that I couldn’t just generalize to fit into any category. I needed to choose a word that would progress in me as the year went on. I knew right when I was approached about this topic which word I wanted to use. In fact, I wear this word around my neck every day. It’s inscribed on a Giving Key. If you’ve never heard of those, I encourage you to check them out! The word I want to make my 2016 is…
To me, there is no better way to live my life than with hope. Without it we live in a lost state of hopelessness. Perhaps even, without hope we aren’t living at all. There’s a mystery to hope that makes me want to push myself further to find it, to hold onto it, to live hopefully. You see, that’s the thing about hope - it’s not something you can just sit around and watch it fall into your lap. Finding hope is a journey; it’s an adventure.
I know what it feels like to feel endlessly hopeless. In the spirit of transparency between you and me, for a period of my life I embraced hopelessness. I woke up every day literally not even caring about whether I got out of bed that day or not. I went to bed every night not caring if I woke up the next day. I would just lie there staring at the ceiling, feeling absolutely nothing. I was clinically depressed. I felt trapped inside my own mind, and I felt like there was no one on Earth who understood me or these feelings that I was/wasn’t feeling. My life was a continuous cycle of depression and anxiety, and I would completely shut everything out to avoid my fears.
Being at the place in life that I am now, I look back on that time (not so far away from right now) and can honestly say that I am thankful for the experience. If you hear nothing else I have to say then hear this. If you’ve ever felt this way, or if you do right now, you’ve got to know that there is a way out. You aren’t trapped eternally in your depression. It’s not a life sentence, and it is most definitely not a death sentence either. If this is you, know that you are not alone at all. I beg you to get help for yourself. Talk to a counselor and a pastor you trust. Get the help you deserve because that version of you cannot last. This is why I wear the word hope around my neck. I’m holding onto it, and I’m never letting it go.
Hope is a key ingredient of faith.
Scripture tells us in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Much like faith, hope is unseen, but crucial in the act of loving God that we call worship. Real hope is the realization and embracement of the sacrifice God made by sending His only Son Jesus on a search and rescue mission for our very souls. Jesus came to Earth as a man who was both fully man and fully God. A man who felt human pain - physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. A man who was beaten and murdered brutally in front of a huge audience for sins He did not commit. Jesus bore death for us on a cross, died, and rose again three days later to rejoin His Father in Heaven to reign over all. He has given an endless amount of grace, love, and HOPE to those who believe that He was who He said He was and have made Him Lord of their lives.
Please don’t take this message lightly. This is the Gospel, the truth. I, for one, am thankful that I can live every day of my life without fear of feeling hopeless or lost. I know that because of the message of Jesus Christ, I can have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Because of Jesus, mankind found the hope that was once lost in darkness. The most amazing part is that if you haven't had the life-changing experience it is to become a child of God, there is no better opportunity than right now. God wants you to come home, friend.
This week I challenge you to pray and seek God about what your "One Word" should be. Take extra time that you wouldn’t normally to talk to God. When you figure out what you’re word should be, don’t just tuck it in the back corner of your mind somewhere… Embrace it! Then look into The Giving Keys. These necklaces are a great way to be reminded of your ONE WORD daily. I look forward to a beautiful and hope-filled 2016!
Exposing Worship in Spirit and Truth,
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