How to Choose Hope When You Feel Despair

Sometimes we  girls just feel spent, right? And, when we are flat out overwhelmed and running on empty, I don’t know about you, but that is when my feelings start to get really wobbly! We may be physically spent, emotionally raw, mentally zapped or spiritually dry. Can I get a witness?!

Am I sharing your testimony?


Sometimes we just need to deal with those issues — you know, get some rest, amp up our healthy food choices, take a mental break or just spend some time with the Lord. Sometimes that is what it takes to feel more stable and capable of dealing with the demands of our lives. But sometimes, no matter what we try to do, we can just feel down. In despair. Hopeless.

Why are you in despair, my soul? Hope in God. Psalm 42:5 [Click to Tweet]
That’s my testimony anyway! I went through a rough patch  last year where I just could not seem to get my feelings to agree with Truth. I tried to get more rest, eat better, give my brain a little more breathing room and of course, spend more time with the Lord. But there I was, feeling downright hopeless. When I felt hopeless, like nothing I could do would help me get out of my funk, I just felt even more despair.

That’s when God gave me a simple verse with a powerful truth.

Why are you in despair my soul? Hope in God. (Psalm 42:05)

Girl, I began to speak hope to my soul. I asked my soul why I was in despair and when I really thought about it, my reasons for hopelessness were not nearly as strong as my reason to have hope.

Maybe you need to speak hope to your soul too? Hope is a choice. It might have feelings that accompany it, but hope is not a feeling. It’s a decision that allows us to be steady and sure. It anchors us to something greater than ourselves — and  all our changing situations and emotions.

Hope anchors us to something greater than ourselves. [Click to Tweet]
Despair influences us, but hope has greater influence over how we feel when things get difficult.

When we are confronted with a circumstance that challenges us, we have two choices. We can say to our souls, “Soul, you might as well get depressed, fall into despair, and give in to your worst impulse.” Or we can say to our souls, “Soul, you might as well have hope, believe in something good happening, and place your expectation in the goodness of God.”

That’s what the psalmist did. He attached his hope in God to a promise from God. He asked, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?” Then he told his soul, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Psalm 42:5 NASB).

He reminded his soul that the help of God’s presence was a guarantee. And that left him with no reason to lose hope. The promise  of God’s help and presence is for you too, my friend.

The help of God’s presence is a guarantee. [Click to Tweet]
A second time, The psalmist told his soul to hope in God because there was another guarantee. “I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (verse 11).

God will be your help, no matter what you are going through and no matter how you feel right now. You, too, will bust out in praise to your God because He will bring you through this. He will be the “help of your countenance.”

In other words, He will put a smile back on your pretty face and remind you of His goodness.

What have you said to your soul lately? When you feel downright worn out and run down or when disappointment happens, avoid the self-sabotage of telling yourself it will never change and you will always feel this way.

Oh girl, do not speak despair to your soul!

Do something different. Ask your soul why you are in this state. Then change what you can but most of all, tell your soul to choose hope.

God will put a smile back on your face and remind you of His goodness. [Click to Tweet]
Is it really as simple as a choice? Oh, my friend, it’s as difficult as a choice. But why choose despair when you can choose hope? Even if telling yourself to hope doesn’t immediately result in a swell of optimism that lifts your spirit, it will serve to shift your focus to the God who promises His goodness and presence in every situation you face.