Having a good understanding of who we are and why we do the things we do is so important for us to live a happy and fulfilling life. This may seem obvious to most of us, but I believe many of us are lacking in the area of self-awareness. There may be many reasons for this, however I believe in many cases it is because we do not recognize the importance of self-awareness, and we simply do not want to take the time to “get real” with ourselves.
Each of us have values that we live by whether we recognize it or not. Some of our values are superficial and are only pertinent for certain moments and situations that we find ourselves in. But those values that we truly live by and are more permanent are our core values. It is never more important to recognize and live by our core values than when we are going through challenging times in our life. In the storms of life, our core values act as our internal compass and point us in the right direction. Consequently, when we are living contrary to our core values we oftentimes find ourselves living in regret or self-hatred, rather than peace and joy.
If you believe you need to grow in the area of self-awareness and are not living the purposeful and joy filled life that you want, I have listed a few practical steps below that I hope will be helpful.
What is hope? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the simple definition of hope is “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.”
Most of us have many hopes and dreams. A student may hope to get an A on an upcoming test. An athlete may hope to win a race or competition. The single man next door may be hoping to find a proper mate to share his life with. Or an unhappy worker may hope for a new job or career change. The list can go on and on, but no matter the situation, it is hope that drives us forward into our future, and consequently it is when a person seemingly loses all hope that the individual is in the most danger of simply giving up on life.
I think it is fair to say that all of us hope for good things to happen in our lives. I mean really, who would ever say “I hope I get a $200 ticket on my way to work today, and when I get home I hope I find a note from my wife stating that she has left me.” Of course not, that is just simply insane. Unfortunately though, we do know that life has a very funny way giving us many adversities in our lives that can produce great amounts of stress and anxiety for us. We also know the harmful effects that stress and anxiety can have on both our minds and our bodies. Anyone who cares about their own well-being will try to limit the stress in their lives and cope as effectively as they know how. This is of course easier said than done oftentimes. This leads me back to the topic of hope.
From a Christian perspective, we know that our assurance in the hope of God and His Word produces faith, and it is exactly that kind of faith that pulls us through all kinds of difficulties. When we choose to put our hope in the goodness of God, and His plans and purposes for our lives, we suddenly find extra strength so we can go on. Not only that, but our hope can lead to greater health. In fact, through much research on the connection between faith and health, Dr. Jeff Levin states in his book entitled God, Faith, and Health, “… faith leads to hope, and hope has physiological consequences.”
I like to point out to people the importance of taking care of oneself. That includes your mind, body, and spirit. I would argue that hope is a major component for living a healthy lifestyle, and one that is honoring to God. Remember, our bodies our His temple, where the Holy Spirit resides. And the Bible tells us that through much perseverance, “hope does not disappoint” (Rom. 5:5). Also, remember the prayer that the Apostle Paul says for us: “may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
It is God’s will for you and I to abound in HOPE!!