A Bright Hope for The New Year
By Resna Marie Brunson, MSC 

What are you hoping for in the new year: new job, new home, new relationship, new addition to the family? In a  previous post I shared my favorite hymn is Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  One of the lines is strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  Many of us are anxious about our future.  We cannot experience strength for each day/moment  because of our concerns for tomorrow. Our uncertainty about the future cloud our thoughts and we no longer have confidence and we stop having desire with anticipation. What we often forget is we really only have this moment.  Another line in the hymn reads morning by morning new mercies I see.  I like to change the lyrics to “moment by moment.”  Let’s do an experiment.  Look at the time. Every sixty seconds the minute hand moves to the next minute.  The previous moment/minute is gone. We will never see that time again.  Time passes with each minute but our feelings/thoughts/emotions remain with us. Unlike time, feelings that are not addressed in the moment, sneak into the next minute/hours/days and can steal our “bright hopes.”  How can I be optimistic about tomorrow and practice contentment when I do not feel happy or see a light at the end of the tunnel, 

One way is to practice thinking with a sound mind.  The BIble says “God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind.”(1 Timothy 1:7)  Our feelings are important but sometimes they can be misleading when we allow them to control us instead of us managing them.  In the article, Changing Plans, I suggested we take time each day to process/address our thoughts/feelings/emotions. By doing this, we are able to sift through our thoughts and think more clearly.  This helps us to avoid suppressing or ignoring our feelings.  By no means am I suggesting this will be a vaccine for “bad” feelings/emotions but it may help us to see things from a more positive perspective. 

Broken relationships can dim our hope for tomorrow. Forgiveness and reconciliation seem impossible which leaves us feeling pessimistic about the days ahead.  Scripture tells us “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:8) There are circumstances that make reconciliation impossible however we may still be hopeful of days ahead when we are actively trying to rebuild our strained relationships.

In the 2000 movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks plays the character, Chuck, who is stranded on a deserted island for four years.  After being rescued, he was asked “what kept him going.”  He said, “I had to keep breathing.  I did not know what the tide would bring the next day.”  We do not know what is in store for us in our next moment/minute/days.   Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to keep breathing through the joys, sorrows, and pain our moments bring while also looking forward to new possibilities, new opportunities, new hopes, and new challenges in our future.

Looking ahead to the New Year may stir up many different feelings. Having someone to help guide us through these mixed emotions may be beneficial. Ready to take the next step?

Resna Marie Brunson, MSC

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