I could delve deeper into detail in terms of what I believe to be true in the midst of this - the research, the numbers, the facts - but I will leave that to another day. My point in this post is different than the usual content of this blog because it is not a referenced article. However, I believe it is of key importance in the midst of this unprecedented circumstance. This idea was prompted following a conversation with my sister earlier this week. As we were discussing all that is unfolding, my sister said "I am hopeful that something good is going to come out of this...something surprisingly good". That struck me and I began to craft what that belief might look like in practical terms.
The approach I have determined to take is one that bucks the current paradigm. "I choose hope" has become my mantra in these trying days. It is a complete shift in mindset when compared to the overwhelming message of despair that is covering our world and I believe it is essential. How easy it is to get wrapped up in all that is wrong right now and if we are not intentionally focused on something else, we too will fall prey to the spreading of despair. I don't want to simply roll my eyes and say "this is crazy" (which I have been guilty of doing) but rather I want to combat this fearful mentality with actionable hope. So what does that look like in practical terms? I'd like to use this post to point out a few ways that we can all engage in, not only with a hopeful outlook but also practical ways to implement hopeful actions.
Actionable Step #1 - Fill your mind with goodness. It likely comes as no surprise that when we fill our minds with negativity, we begin to act in a like manner. So in other words, negative input produces negative output. Intentionally seek to fill the atmosphere of your mind with uplifting content. For me, that looks like reading my Bible daily, reading articles that reflect hope, listening to news that does not solely focus on despair and negativity but rather hope in the midst of chaos, listening to uplifting music.
Actionable Step #2 - Creating a "hope list". This is a list of intentionality - choosing to be hopeful in the midst of chaos and negativity. The content focuses on ways to be intentional about embracing these days and weeks and months and making them joyful, deliberately fulfilling, productive and memorable.
Actionable Step #3 - Looking for every opportunity to combat the spirit of fear. I won't sit in my house, secluded from society, fearful of being in someone else's presence. I will be respectful of the views of others and will not attempt to force my beliefs on anyone but I will not isolate myself. I will go to the grocery store, I will take walks in my neighborhood, I will welcome clients into my office, I will even shake someone's hand if they extend theirs to mine.
Actionable Step #4 - Being wise in everyday practices. Be mindful of those who are at great risk and steer clear (nursing home residents, frail or sickly individuals, tiny babies). Don't plan a giant party. I will not be foolhardy but I will be mindful of health-related practices. I will be a bad host for illness by washing my hands after being in public, eating food that follows a pattern of dietary excellence, drinking plenty of water and exercising daily. In short, I will continue caring for my body the way I always do.
Actionable Step #5 - Willingly accepting that I am not in control of these circumstances. I do not have the ability to change any of this. Therefore, I choose to leave the outcome up to God, thankful I have not been tasked with being in control!
Not so difficult really. You might notice a theme interlaced throughout each actionable step - intentionality. These things may not come naturally to you...which is actually the point. These items are not complicated and yet they will remain undone if we do not deliberately embrace them. What impact would be made if more people followed these steps as opposed to actions that perpetuate fear and anxiety?
I would encourage you to set this as your purpose in this season:
Intentionally embrace hope by filling your mind with goodness and deliberately focus on actionable steps which reflect that mindset.