Sometimes life can be difficult, and every day is not going to be filled with good news or things we like to do. But the truth is, God never intends for us to be miserable or have a “horrible day,” even when things aren’t going our way.
He wants us to expect good things and stay full of hope, regardless of our circumstances. And here are two words that will help you to do it:
When you dread something, it simply means you’re expecting to have an unpleasant experience, which is the exact opposite of hope.
Without even realizing it, I think a lot of people dread their way through the day. We dread going to work, rush-hour traffic, doing the dishes, doing laundry, cutting the grass, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and on and on. When we live this way, dread steals our joy and ruins our day.
We also experience dread when we worry about things that might happen, especially when it comes to things we can’t control or do anything about anyway. Instead, we can choose to stay happy and trust God to take care of them.
In every situation, we need to have an attitude that says, “I can do whatever I need to do through Christ, and I’m not going to stop enjoying my life, regardless of what is happening. I may not have planned for this to happen, but I know God can work everything out for my good.”
For example, my husband, Dave, used to get debilitating migraine headaches. If you’ve ever had one, you know how it goes: the headache comes on little by little, and when it first begins, you naturally begin to dread it and think, Here it comes again!
One day, the Lord spoke to Dave’s heart and said, “When you feel those headaches coming on, don’t dread them. You can enjoy your life anyway.”
Romans 8:37 (ESV) says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” To be more than a conqueror means that before you ever get a problem, you already know that whatever comes your way, you can overcome it through Christ. You live with confidence that God loves you no matter what and He will never leave you nor forsake you.
When you have this kind of relationship with Christ, you aren’t constantly afraid of bad news or dreading things that may happen. When the unexpected happens or you’re disappointed, you aren’t devastated by it because “in all these things,” you have peace and joy—you don’t have to wait until they are over to enjoy your life!
So Dave started practicing what the Lord showed him. When a migraine would begin, he’d say, “Nope, I’m not going to dread it—I’m going to enjoy my life.” Not long after, he stopped getting the headaches altogether.
Start With the Small Stuff
Overcoming dread often begins with the little things in life. I remember years ago when I was quite good at playing the martyr when it came to doing housework.
I would often walk around the house in a huff, mumbling things like, “Well, everyone around here expects me to do everything. Dave goes out and plays golf and the kids make messes. I just cook their meals and clean their dishes and do their laundry. I want to know who cares about me!”
The truth was no one was forcing me to do those things. I chose to do them because I love my family. However, I rarely enjoyed myself because I was so determined to have a negative attitude.
Sound familiar? Your situation may not be about housework, but we’re all tempted to feel sorry for ourselves and dread something at one time or another.
I encourage you to play “The Glad Game.” It works like this: When you’re faced with a negative situation, choose on purpose to look at the potential good.
For instance, if you get stuck in traffic, say, “I’m running behind, but maybe God is protecting me from an accident that would have occurred if I were going faster.”
This works for any situation, big or small. Even if it’s something as important as losing a job, you can choose to shift your focus to the positive and say, “I may be out of work, but now I have an opportunity for God to provide me with a better job than I had before!”
The Bible says, “The Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you … to have compassion on you” (Isa. 30:18a, AMP).
No matter what life brings your way, God has a plan to make it better—a plan filled with hope and good things. I encourage you to approach each day with a positive attitude and choose to not dread. As you do, I believe you will begin to find joy in every single part of your life.