Choosing to hope when life gets rough

Can I be honest, y’all? A few weeks ago, I had a really hard week.

My husband is frustrated with certain aspects of his job. And for one reason or another, his anxiety was running high, which means his OCD symptoms were especially bad.

I am teaching this semester, and some students were taking more energy out of me than I expected. That week I had little left for being patient with my poor husband.

We argued and bickered throughout the week about stupid and some not-so-stupid things.

On Wednesday night, I found myself angry-cleaning, as if I was going to prove something by washing the dishes. I put on some music and threw myself a nice little pity party, making a mental list of all the things my husband does wrong or doesn’t do right. I was feeling pretty self-righteous, because I’m obviously a perfect wife who never does anything wrong, right?

Fortunately for me, Matt hates when one of us is mad more than I do. His humble apologies eventually brought me down off my high horse. The end of the week went slightly more smoothly, but only just.

This is our habit, as humans. It’s easy to find something to be upset about when you’re looking for it. And lately, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve been looking for it.

I hate living in a spiral of negativity, and when I realized what a toll it was taking on me and on others, I decided something had to give.

Instead of looking for those bad things, I’m choosing to reflect on the good.

This isn’t about some vague idea that thinking positively will make your life better or easier. The truth is that life on earth is sometimes hard, and no number of positive quotes on your wall will change that. But God is the one consistent, unchanging good in the world, and so I choose to reflect on his goodness.

I’m choosing to remember how much goodness He showed us last year when my husband lost his job two weeks before Christmas. How He used that time to teach us about sacrifice and to bring us closer together. How the job that sometimes frustrates (as all jobs can) was a gift to us in a time of uncertainty. How God has given me opportunities to grow as a teacher, even before I know it was something I wanted to be good at. How I hoped and prayed for my future husband for years, and how obvious it became after I met Matt that God had the plan in motion all along.

Most importantly, that even when nothing in this world goes right, I have a hope for all eternity in Christ.

This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me and given me life.

Psalm 119:50 [AMP]

It’s not always easy. I’m still far too prone to get caught up in so-called #firstworldproblems, like not being able to find a parking spot in the morning. But my prayer for myself, especially in the coming season of reflection, is that I would be able to move past that temptation to focus on the negative of this minute’s situation, and instead reflect on the goodness of the One who never changes.

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