Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Keep Hope Alive (For the Men in Your Family)


Keep Hope Alive

From youth, most people have a hopeful attitude toward life, but as they age, sometimes they allow the feeling of hope to fade.  My belief is that, even if something seems hopeless, it is always better to maintain an optimistic view and keep hoping. "Hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast," the Bible says. (Hebrews 6:19)

Often there are goals that seem never to be reached, and sometimes people think the sameness of things (going to work, paying bills, repairing things) will not end. When hope enters your mind, things can change for the better, for while you are doing the necessary tasks, you may be hopeful of moving on to something a little different afterwards. Though these types of hopes are shortly in the future,( perhaps within a day), they are worth hoping for. Knowing there is something to do after a day of grinding or uninteresting labor can keep hope alive, but there are also other habits that will help keep the mind from falling into despair. One of the reason to keep from despair is the command of Christ: "Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

Daily goals to look forward to are reasons to keep hope alive, but there are long term goals we all want, which may not be immediately seen, but still we strive forward toward them.  Men hope to have success in their work and their constant strivings toward making a life for their families. the pressures are great, and the result of these goals may not be seen immediately. With persistent hope and effort,  the long-term efforts will come to fruition.  Hope is harnessed with faith, and "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."(Hebrews 11:1). You do not see the things you hope to achieve but you hope, and that hope is like having evidence in front of you; evidence that what you are doing is worthwhile.

 Here is an easy way to understand hope: Even though we do not always see the things we hope for, we keep hope alive by having faith that these things will one day happen, and even though there will be discouragements, at least, if we have hope, our hearts continue to beat in anticipation. So, in times of indecision, hope for something better, and that happy thought will be the best motivator for continuing to build your life on the values that you believe in.

Some short term goals you might hope for are:
1. Preparing yourself for the day. Think about what kind of responsibility is ahead and determine to go beyond it.  A man who determines to welcome each day and each job, knowing he is doing it for the love of his family and for the glory of his Maker, will be a man who never has a bad day and never does a job he does not like, for he will go into it prepared to endure it.

2. Planning an hour  each day to think about the things you love best and are the most productive to you. This provides rest for the mind and rebuilds it. The rested mind is also an inventive, resourceful, innovative one.

3. Setting aside time to do something re-creative that improves your own life and that of your loved ones. Landscaping, updating things on the house, repairing, replacing, painting, papering, and all those things that seem to wait til they are totally broken down before someone  does anything. I know a handicapped man whose leg was permanently injured in a motorcycle wreck when he was younger, who is always busy at home. He cannot stand to sit for too long so he is always doing something to his property to improve it. He  paints, replaces window screens and air filters, tears out old carpet and puts in flooring, adds porches and railings, and creates interesting landscaping. Though he walks with a limp, his hope is not handicapped, for each day he rises early eager to do something new. It is anticipation and hope that keeps him from falling into despair. Notice I wrote "re-creation" not "wreck-reation." Your leisure time has to build up your soul and rest your body. You should come away from it with renewed hope, not more despair.

4.Read the Bible and Some Other Good Book  each day, because without feeding the soul and the mind regularly, you can lose hope.  Other books might include things of interest and themes that are absorbing enough to engross your mind for hours. Consider learning something new every day that might also be useful in your life, from building to growing things to helping your family in their special interests.

These are just short term goals that are not always achieved, but if you keep hope alive, you'll add a happy outlook to your live and develop a good-naturedness that will give you more hope. Without practicing hope, all work and all events of life can deaden.

Doing your duty as a man  is more than just a materialistic, mechanical thing. It is a spiritual thing, for while you are caring for your loved ones, you are also giving them a hopeful life and building yourself up spiritually. If you have children you are handing down attitudes to them that will serve them a lifetime, clear into their old age, and that is one good reason not to handicap them with hopelessness.

Keep hope alive and you will build yourself up. Show that hope is alive in you by preparing for each day as if it were the most important event in your life, and maintaining a cheerful, optimistic ambition for the job ahead. Whether the thing you hope for is realized, or not, keeping hope alive is essential in keeping your sanity and keeping your mind and body functioning at its very best.

For the ladies version of this post go here.

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