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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Hardships are part of the human experience. No one goes through life without facing some difficulties.  For instance, we all at one time or another will be lonely.  Sometimes loneliness comes from not having enough social connections.  At other times loneliness may come from having to face a tough problem on our own.  We also will all experience loss.  It may be the loss of a loved one.  Or it may be a job or financial loss.  And we all will experience hurt.  We may get hurt because people are careless with our feelings.  Or we might feel hurt due to a disappointment.  The bottom line is that if you are a human being, hardships are inevitable.

Recently, I’ve given some thought as to how I’ve gotten through the hardships in my own life. Whether I’ve done it consciously or unconsciously, in times of difficulty, I’ve always used the following formula: Hope → Faith → Action.  I’ve been using this approach since I was a teenager.  And it works.

Let’s start with hope. The solution to every problem begins with hope.  Hope isn’t just a noun; it’s a verb.  To hope is to envision a good outcome.  It is looking 5 years down the road and having a clear idea of where you want to be.  It is to dream, but in a very concrete way.  The point isn’t to be generally hopeful.  That is lovely, but actively hoping means to hope for something specific.

For example, when I was seventeen, I wanted to go to college when I graduated from high school. I had good grades, lots of extra-curricular activities, and a part-time job.  However, I didn’t have enough money to go to an expensive U.S. school.  Yet I was hopeful.  Then through a series of very fortunate circumstances, I was able to go to college in Canada.  It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  I had amazing professors, and I made kindhearted friends.  My path to getting a college degree started with hope.  Even when my circumstances said, “College isn’t in the cards for you,” I had a hope that a college education was in my future.

Once hope gives you a vision for your future, faith is your next step. Faith is the belief that what you hope for will come to pass, even when all evidence points to the contrary.  Faith isn’t rational.  It isn’t logical, and it isn’t scientific.  And it isn’t about wishing.  It is knowing that God will direct our steps and help us move toward a good outcome, if only we seek His guidance.

Having faith isn’t easy when what you hope for seems impossible. However, when we have faith, we can say with confidence, “I know that by my own efforts I can’t achieve my goal.  But I also know that with God, all things are possible.”  When we are faithful, we can tell the world, “Keep your cynicism, naysaying and negativity.  I know that God has a purpose for my life, and with His help, I will fulfill that purpose.”

Hope and faith are our springboard to action. Action is the final step in successfully overcoming our challenges.  We can’t simply sit in misery or fear, and wish that things would get better.  In times of hardship, we have to take meaningful steps to change our lives.  Faith and hope allow us to take those steps, even when logic says that what we want to accomplish is too hard.

Action allows us to get unstuck from our bad situation. I hate to think of those people who are in tough situations and don’t see any way out.  I promise you, there is always a way out.  But if you don’t act, you will get mired in your troubles.  Positive actions propel us toward a good outcome.

Your first positive action simply can be a prayer to God for help. From there, keep moving.  If you need help staying inspired, read books or articles every day that have a positive message.  Listen to uplifting music.  Memorize a quote that exemplifies what you are trying to accomplish, and recite it whenever you feel like giving up.  Then keep pressing forward by working hard and doing what is right.  If you stay with it, the momentum of your actions will snowball into positive results.  And you likely will get some wonderful surprises that you didn’t even anticipate.

Hardships are a natural part of life. Learning how to face hardships head-on and successfully overcoming them is one of the most important skills that we can develop.  If you have challenges in your life, consider approaching them with the “hope → faith → action” formula.  It is a wonderful way to work with God when your challenges are too hard to face alone.

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