“No Christian can be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism.” -William Ralph Inge
The Scriptures are full of examples of this idea of OPTIMISM. They do not teach that life will be easy. In fact, they teach that it is a challenge, but that we overcome and grow through the challenge.
The way of the Christian is not blind wishes for something better. The way of the Christian is faith that sees and makes reality. The Scriptures Teach FAITH and faith is optimism in it’s highest and most powerful form!
Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that Everything Is Part Of The Plan And There Is A Purpose!
When it says: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
In John 14:27, Jesus Reminded Us That He/We Got This, when he said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Psalm 46:10 is that gentle reminder that helps us to answer: The “Do You Really Know God?” question, when our Creator reminds us to “Be still and know that I am God.”
And in Matthew 5:3-10, some wonder “Was Jesus Crazy?” And the answer is: “No He Was Full Of Faith And Optimism!”, when he taught: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning says that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
OPTIMISM then, is seeing the good, looking for the best, finding the blessing and trusting the outcome! To become optimistic, we have to learn to control our thinking! The opposite of optimism is not pessimism, it is helplessness!
The Truth is that we always have the ability to choose a more effective response to whatever challenge we are facing! And the fact that optimism is a learned behavior, means that there is hope for all of us!
Researchers say that we have some 60,000 thoughts a day and that around 95% are the same from day to day. Of that 95% that stays the same from day to day, they say that 80% of these are negative. The world we live in programs us into negativity with what we watch, listen to and read. We have to make a choice: Who or what is in control?
If optimism and faith go hand in hand, then we can best understand them as a muscle! Use it and it will grow and become more powerful. Fail to use it and it will atrophy and die. Real growth requires continuous TRAINING!
Optimism is about learning to discipline our mind to create and yield to more empowering explanations of what is really happening. We have good thinking explanations and bad thinking explanations!
The Bottom Line: You are a victim or a creator and you make the choice about which one you are! It is important here to remember that orientation matters! Victims complain, criticize, blame, gossip and compare! Get caught up in this orientation and it’s hard to get out!
The question: “WHAT DO I WANT?” helps you to break out of the wrong orientation and into the right way of living. The answer to this question is the work of a CREATOR! We were created in the image of our Creator, which means that we are creators ourselves. Creating is what we do and when we begin to live from this orientation, then we cannot help but to be optimistic.
You are “RESPONSIBLE – RESPONSE – ABLE TO CHOOSE! Viktor Frankl says ”Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The key to a blessed life is BALANCE and balance comes through optimistic faith that believes and trust that God has something better for us! WE NEED TO FIX OUR THINKING! This requires some thinking! (Which is what we are here doing right now!)
Remember: Our minds tend to generate around 45,000 negative thoughts a day! Start thinking “ON PURPOSE” “POSITIVE POWER” GOD THOUGHTS! Here are just a few to get you started: *I am God’s Creation! *I have amazing purpose! *I am blessed and highly favored! *I have meaningful and growing relationships! *I build up, encourage and always see the best! *I look for, see and accentuate the positive! *I choose to release anger, so that it can never enslave me! *I eat to live! *I enjoy my work – what God has given me to do! *I am encouraged and I encourage! *I am fulfilled and enjoy meeting the needs of others! *I start now!
If you have a stinking thinking, negative attitude that is sinking fast into pessimism, then it is time for a FAST FIX: And the Fast Fix is simply this: PRACTICE GRATITUDE! Start to think about and focus on all that you have to be thankful for over anything negative.
Your mind is a garden that has to be weeded and seeded! Here is a very important question: What are you planting? Galatians 6:7 says: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap.” Get rid of the bad – deal with what needs to be dealt with and start planting some good stuff!