45 – Hopelessness – snares in the deep, part 2
There are dangers in the deep, snares planted by the enemy of our souls to entangle us and keep us trapped in darkness and doubt. Today we’re exploring the most dangerous snare of all: hopelessness. But here’s the good news: There is ALWAYS hope when God is on our side. So come join the discussion on how to avoid—or escape—the snare of hopelessness.
In part one of our series on snares in the deep (episode 44, and I encourage you to go back and listen to that if you haven’t) we talked about the snare of resentment. While resentment can build feelings of anger and frustration, this week’s snare can suck all your feelings away and leave you in a wasteland. Empty. Starving. Hopeless.
And that, my friends, is the snare we’re focusing on today. Hopelessness.
Hopelessness can lead to:
- Giving up
- Being isolated
- Being more vulnerable to attacks from the enemy of our soul
How to avoid the snare of hopelessness:
Keep your hope centered in the right place—on God
- Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” We’re not to hope in things or people or circumstances.
- Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.” We can hope in Him because He loves us.
Ground yourself in the reality of God’s goodness
- Psalm 145:5-10 says, “I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim Your greatness. Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about Your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation. All of Your works will thank You, Lord, and Your faithful followers will praise You.”
Understand that the deep is just life
- It’s not necessarily a punishment. Jesus experienced the deep to the point of sweating blood. It’s not a declaration of your value, or lack thereof. It just is. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
- You’re not alone. We all go through challenges and slide toward hopelessness.
Focus on things that you have, rather than what you’ve lost
- Be looking for things that give you hope. Purpose to spend time every day doing this, even if only for a moment. Of course, look in Scripture, but look for hope in the immediate, too. In the physical world around you. In things like a child’s joy in the moment, or music, or nature.
Live with your focus on the possibility of the unseen too
- One of my personal definitions of hope is unswerving belief in future possibilities. God is an infinite, boundless God. Infinite hope, infinite possibility. He can do things we can’t see coming. Yes, we should focus on the good things we see, but we should also be asking God daily to help us focus on the things unseen, the eternal things He has for us.
Use Scripture with a truth phrase to create “Affirmations of Hope”
- With God, all things are possible. My feelings don’t change that truth.
- The enemy is a roaring lion, seeking those he may devour. I will NOT be devoured.
- God cares. He loves me for me!
- Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” I’m not alone!
- Psalms 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” God has promised to save me!
How to escape the snare of hopelessness when you’ve been caught in it
- Acknowledge it. As with other snares, it’s a feeling, nothing more. The enemy is doing everything He can to convince you it’s reality. But it’s NOT.
- Reprogram your self-talk. Every time you start to say how nothing will change, how you’re cursed, or whatever the lie is, combat that with truth. Use your Affirmations. Repeat them, even if you don’t feel them. Speak truth until you DO feel it.
- Realize that it’s God who will make you able to do that. Psalm 119:147 says, “I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help. I hope in Your word.” Cry out to Him and put your hope in His truth.
- Quit. A few weeks ago we had a guest, Alton Gansky, who said it’s okay to quit, just don’t quit for good. Maybe you need to walk away from whatever is feeling hopeless. Even if only for a day. Take a break. Remove yourself. Give yourself permission to quit. But don’t stay there. Remember, you need to travel. To move forward. So after you quit, ask God to show you when to start again. Or ask how He wants to redirect you.
God’s purpose for us in the deep is that we learn about ourselves and Him, that we go deeper INTO Him. But there are times when it just feels like it’s too much. Like we’ll never escape. Like life will always be in this deep, difficult place. Remember, those feelings are just that, feelings. Don’t make the mistake of letting those feelings wrap themselves around your heart and spirit until you feel there is no hope. Prepare yourself for the day you’ll encounter the snare of hopelessness. And, if you end up caught by it, remember: there is always hope with God. There is no place too deep, too dark, for Him to take hold of us and lift us. Rest in Him and His promises and truth. And let those things free you from the devastation of giving in to the lie of hopelessness.
We want to hear from you!
What helps you avoid the snare of hopelessness?
What helps you escape when you’re caught in the snare?