The news can bring us down. There is so much wickedness, we struggle to find things that are uplifting. As Christians, we know God created the world to be good, yet we sometimes struggle to find the positive.
In times like these we need to remind one another of the hope we know in Jesus Christ. If you find yourself caught in a swirl of negativity, here are several suggestions of ways to keep it from becoming all consuming.
- Find some good news. While it may seem that there is nothing but bad news, that is rarely the case. Look for positive stories to lift your spirits. For example, take a look at some of these:
- Church Youth Orchestra Shapes Teens tells how the leaders of the A-Flat Orchestra are not just teaching kids to read music. "We have kids to reach, souls to save, and this program is all about that."
- Read about an awesome Car Care ministry that helps people get their cars fixed so they can get to work, doctors appointments, and more. Or watch the video about them.
- Or learn about some of the Amazing Kids of The United Methodist Church and the ways they are serving God and others.
- Read the Good News. Our faith is a story of hope even in the midst of dark times. Spend some time reading Bible passages about hope and resurrection such as 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Peter 1:3-9, and Jeremiah 29:10-14. Or read through one of the gospels to be reminded of how Jesus brings hope in our struggles.
- Give thanks for what you have. In the midst of difficult times, there are still things for which we can be thankful. Take a few minutes to consider all the wonderful ways God has blessed you.
- Serve someone. While we may not be able to do much about world issues like disease or terrorism, there are problems in your community where you can be part of a solution. One church, for example, is working hard to create a hunger free ZIP code. Find places in your community to serve people in need.
- Get more deeply connected with your United Methodist Church. One of the best ways to combat negativity is to surround yourself with positive people. Finding a group within your church will help keep you grounded in the hope we know in Christ. If you are not connected to a church, use Find-A-Church to learn more about United Methodist churches near you.
- Pray. Not only will conversations with other people help elevate our mood, so will a conversation with God. You may struggle to find things for which to pray. That is OK. Today may be a time to sit in God's presence and listen. If you are looking for someone to pray with or for you, be sure to check out The Upper Room Living Prayer Center.
- Get some exercise. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Get on your treadmill. Take a class at your local YMCA. Moving your muscles releases endorphins that help you feel good.
- Indulge beauty around you. We need beauty and goodness in our lives each day. Recently, there was a trend on Facebook where people shared pictures of flowers to add beauty to what they felt was a barrage of negativity. Find your beauty – flowers, art, music, etc. – and insert it into your day.
- Take a break. We live in an age where we can stay connected to the news constantly. Be sure to get away from it for a period of time. Turn off the alerts on your computer or smartphone, and do something else. There will be plenty of news when you return.
As John Wesley preached, "Against hope, believe in hope! It is your Father's good pleasure yet to renew the face of the earth. Surely all these things shall come to an end, and the inhabitants of the earth shall learn righteousness" (Wesley, John. "Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, 2." III.18). In the midst of all we are hearing, we believe in hope.
*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. He may be reached at [email protected] or 615.312.3733.
This story was first published in November 2014.