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Spiritual Growth

15 Helpful Tips: How to Stay Positive During Difficult Times

Living as a chronic illness warrior, I have often heard the advice to just think more positively. Which is a lot easier said than done.  

While facing health issues, it feels much easier to fall into despair over the life we lost. Depression over the things we are unable to do.

And frustration while trying to adjust to a new way of living.  

The problem lies in the fact that we often view positive thinking as simply looking for the silver lining. Or wishful thinking. Or just trying really hard to smile through our tears.  

But learning how to stay positive during difficult times, as Christians, means we have to keep going back to God and the Bible.

And as we study God’s Word, we find that God does want us to think positively.

Just not in the way our culture perpetuates it.  

There is a much deeper reason for being positive found within the pages of Scripture. Because biblical positive thinking has much less to do with our confidence in ourselves and our abilities. 

And everything to do with our confidence in God.  

Why is it important to stay positive during difficult situations as a Christian?

The definition of being positive is having hope and confidence to handle the hard things in life while keeping in mind that this too shall pass. 

While positive thinking cannot change the outcome of our circumstances. It can change our perspective which makes it easier to handle whatever we are facing.

This shows the importance of staying positive in tough times.    

Positive thinking has many amazing benefits such as lowering stress and improving your overall well-being. People who think positively have also been shown to enjoy: 

  • Faster recuperation from illness or injury. 
  • Enhanced health and longevity. 
  • Higher self-esteem, more happiness, and better life experiences. 
  • And even improved athletic performance, career advancement, and financial success.  

As Christians, we can learn to stay positive when we remember who God is and take the time to reflect on His many promises to us.  

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

-Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Sunset over a lake with forests in the background.

How do I become more positive and motivated as a believer?

As believers, we don’t have to go through hard times alone.  

We have Jesus.  

He understands what we are going through and He wants to help us. He may not calm the storm. But He can calm our hearts and carry us through it.  

We can learn to think more positively biblically when we remember that while Jesus said we would face trouble in this life, He also reminded us that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) 

This means life won’t always be this way.  

The storm will pass. We will see the sun again. And someday all our tears will be wiped away when we enter Heaven and fall into the arms of Christ. (Rev. 21:4) 

Having this confidence in the future God has promised us motivates us to keep going. Even when life is hard.  

Because we know this life is not all there is.  

There are better days ahead.  

How do you keep a positive attitude at difficult times as a Christian?

We can learn how to stay hopeful in difficult times and have a biblical positive attitude when we remember that life’s hard moments often have hidden benefits.  

Such as: 

  • Helping us gain new perspectives.  
  • Remembering what’s really important. 
  • And learning to lean on Christ as we navigate this life.  

Difficult times can also help us grow. Just as trees learn to grow deeper roots when facing droughts or harsh winds, we grow more during the hard times of life than the easy times. 

Thinking about the view from the mountaintop gives us hope.  

But it is in the valley and the painful climb to the top that we truly grow. 

A mountain range.

How do I stay positive every day as a follower of Jesus?

We can learn how to stay positive every day when we ask Jesus to help us.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to gain a better perspective on the difficult things we are going through.  

How to stay positive during stressful times.

When life is stressful, we can stay positive when we cling to Jesus as the source of our strength. (Phil. 4:13)  

We will find rest from the stress when we learn to rest in Him.  

We can also try the following 5 things: 

1) Live in the moment.

The devil loves to either keep us shackled by our past or frozen in fear of the future. But Jesus said:  

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

-Matthew 6:34 ESV

Give your worries to God and trust that He will give you the grace you need for today.   

2) Pay attention to your thoughts.

Let the Holy Spirit renew your mind. Our thoughts lead to feelings. Which lead to actions. Which lead to habits. This is why our thought life is so important.  

Let the Holy Spirit show you the lies you have been believing. And then focus instead on God’s truths.  

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

-2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

-Philippians 4:8 ESV

3) Focus on just the next step.

A mountain is climbed one step at a time. If you are facing something overwhelming don’t worry about everything all at once.  

Just focus on the very next thing you need to do.  

4) Let God change your perspective.

There is more going on than just what you are going through. You have no idea the impact you are having on those around you. The people you are influencing. The lives you are touching.  

Remembering there is a greater purpose in all of this makes it easier to get through it.  

5) Pray more.

The more time we spend with God in prayer, the more we will grow closer to Him.

And the more the Holy Spirit will transform us from the inside out . . .  which in turn means we can learn to declare like Paul did . . . that we can be content in every circumstance.  

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

-Philippians 4:11-13 ESV
Woman with hands behind her head while sitting in a kayak on the water looking at the mountians.

How to stay positive when feeling down.

When we are feeling down, we can stay positive when we remember that God is right by our side and we can lay every heavy burden at His feet.  

And then try these 5 steps to boost your mood. 

1) Exercise.

Get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins which helps to lift your mood while also helping you grow stronger and more flexible.

It’s a win-win. 

2) Get Outside.

Spend time in God’s Creation. There is just something about being in nature that lifts our mood and helps us feel more at peace.  

3) Eat and sleep.

Don’t ever underestimate the spiritual benefits of a nap and a snack. (1 Kings 19:5-9) God created us with physical bodies that have physical needs.  

If you are feeling down you may just need to take a day to rest and eat some good food.

4) Practice Gratitude.

Keep a gratitude journal and list out 5-10 things you are thankful for every day.

Count your blessings one by one and you will be smiling by the time you are done. 

5) Serve others.

Simply giving to others is a great way to keep us more positive. It reminds us we are not alone.  

Everyone has problems. Everyone has issues. And everyone has hard things going on in their lives.  

By serving others and putting a smile on their face, we often find a smile developing on our own. 

Woman smiling while placing one hand on the other arm.

How to stay positive during a health crisis.

When facing a health crisis, we can stay positive when we remember our hope is in Jesus.

He has made a way for it all to be made right someday. And He has promised it will all be worth it in the end when we enter Heaven and see Him.      

Keep this in mind as you also try the following 5 ways to stay positive while facing a health crisis. These steps will help you learn to thrive not just survive.

1) Meditate on Scripture.

God’s Word does wonders to help us gain a better perspective on life and the things we are going through.  

Spending time in God’s Word encourages us, comforts us, and reminds us of how much He loves us. 

2) Look at your environment.

Who are you hanging around? What music are you listening to? What books are you reading? What TV shows are you watching?  

Our environment affects us. So, if you are feeling negative maybe you just need to make a change in your environment.  

Turn on some praise music.

Choose to listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days. Read books by Christian authors. Or turn off the TV and go for a prayer walk around your neighborhood.  

“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”   

-Psalm 71:14 ESV

3) Stay connected.

We need each other. Find ways to stay connected with loved ones and keep going to church.  

The Bible talks about the devil being a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) And what does a lion look for? The prey that is weak and all alone.  

This is why surrounding ourselves with good, Christian friends is so important, especially when facing difficult times like a devastating health diagnosis.  

Woman in pool looking at sunset over the mountains.

4) Look for the good.

In Romans 8:28 we find one of the greatest promises to cling to when we are going through difficult times. This verse is a reminder that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.  

This verse doesn’t say all things are good. But that God will work all things FOR good. 

We may now know how He is going to do it. We may not understand what He is doing. But He has promised that He will redeem everything we go through eventually for our ultimate good.  

5) Look forward with hope.

Eternal hope, that is. As Christians, we know this life is not all there is.  

We have a glorious future awaiting us. And it makes it easier to face the hard things we are going through when we think about what we have to look forward to.  

Woman laying back on a couch with her hands supporting her head. How to stay positive during difficult times. 15 helpful tips!
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What is Biblical Positive Thinking?

Thinking positively by itself cannot help us. We need God.  

He is the only One who can redeem the effects of yesterday. He is the only One who can truly give us the grace to handle whatever comes our way today. And He is the only One who can give us the hope and courage to face whatever tomorrow brings.  

Biblical positive thinking stems from our confidence in God.  

When you know without a doubt that: 

  • God loves you. (1 John 4:10) 
  • God is with you. (Deut. 31:8) 
  • And God is for you. (Romans 8:31) 

It is easier to trust that no matter what happens to you, God is going to use it for good.  

That there is a reason for the rain. A purpose for the pain.  

And while we may not understand, we can have faith that God is working all things out according to His perfect plan. 

That, my friends, is BIBLICAL positive thinking.  

If you found this encouraging, then please share!  

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