Pastor, therapist offer advice for those looking for hope in challenging times

As many people search for hope around the holidays, professions share tips that might help you find it.
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 4:47 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The past couple of years have been difficult, to say the least, for many people due to a myriad of factors including loss and isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of the holiday season, many who are struggling are looking for hope. Three days out from Christmas, Eyewitness News spoke with a couple of professionals, a pastor and a licensed therapist, to share some tips that can shine some light in dark moments.

COVID-19 has been prominent in our lives since March of 2020, approaching two full years. With the virus still limiting some gatherings and forcing some events to cancel, finding joy in the season may not be as simple as it was prior to the pandemic.

Life coach and therapist Emily Sevens says an immediate step that can help is to look at the positives.

“If it’s bad enough, seek professional help in one way or the other,” she said. “Whether it’s with a therapist, life coach, pastor, even talking with a friend, like, ‘here’s where I’m at with this, how do you feel about it?’ Finding connection is a really big thing.”

Even with a lightened perspective, challenges during the holidays season can come from those closest to you, as Stevens said, family members might discuss topics you want to break away from.

“One, you can just change the subject. Just keep changing the subject. If that doesn’t seem to work, you can pull that person aside and kindly say, ‘I know you want to talk about this, I know it’s topical, but it’s not helpful today. Today, we’re just trying to focus on joy and family and getting away from those topics.’”

Faith is one constant for many that’s credited for helping them to keep hope in turbulent times.

“Oftentimes, people are not only dealing with the fears culturally that we have with the pandemic and other things, but they’re also dealing with death and illness and trouble and losing jobs and all those kinds of things, but the good news is, there is hope in Jesus Christ,” said NewSpring Church Lead Pastor Mark Hoover.

Hoover indicated how impactful simple gestures can be with encouragement to be kind to others this holiday season.

“I would encourage everyone during this season to find in their hearts the ability to speak that word of encouragement. Go out of their way to express love and encouragement,” he said.

Pastor Hoover said if you’re needing a home, a place to feel that encouragement, NewSpring is having Christmas services all this week. You can find a list of dates and times for those services here: https://www.newspring.org/.

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