“Optimist or Pessimist? You decide!”
By Taralisha M. Sanders
Special to the Outlook
Never stopping to realize the blessing that has already taken place, we oftentimes wake up worrying about what the day will bring. We think about things that are beyond our control and suddenly find ourselves in a state of deep despair. Sad thing, the day has just begun. So, what do you do?
By nature, most people lean toward optimism or pessimism, no matter what their relationship with God is. Everyone’s glass is either “half full” or “half empty.”
The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus, to “make the very most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16), but be careful and wise and “leave no room for the devil” (Eph. 4:27). In doing so, he gave instructions as to how they, as Christians, should live: 1) watch where you go, 2) redeem the time, and 3) learn God’s will.
David writes, “many are the afflictions of the righteous,” but he quickly informs us that “the Lord delivers us out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Trials are a necessary aspect of being a Christian, for without them there would be no testimonies. Instead of focusing on the impossibilities of man, we need to realize we serve a God of all possibilities. We must learn to trust in God. As long as there is breath in our bodies, we can rest assure that God will sustain us. The key is in remembering, “the darker the night, the brighter the LIGHT shall shine.”
So no matter what may occur in this life, we as Christians know that God sees, cares, and will “wipe every tear from our eyes” when we are forever with Him (Rev. 21:4). It is this type of assurance that can and will give us an optimistic outlook, biblical speaking, even in trying times.
Why: Because biblical optimism is nothing more than the result of faith in God. Paul calls this type of optimism hope in the book of Romans. He writes in Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through power of the Holy Ghost.” When we place our hope in God, we put our trust in His sovereign plan above what our circumstances are telling us. Paul further explains this hope in Romans 8:23-25 by saying, “For we are saved: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” He diligently speaks of our future reward and the things that “God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor. 2:9).
Optimism from a biblical standpoint does not place emphasis on earthly events because it can accept difficulty knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This Godly hope/optimism looks beyond what we perceive to see from God’s perspective.
Optimism is a choice. When we place our trust in God for everything, we can rest in His promises to take care of us the way only He can. We can truly “cast all our cares upon him” (1 Peter 5:7), while we “let our requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6), and accept His “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). Realizing that we have a loving and compassionate Father whose desire is to care and provide for us should give every born again believer a reason for true optimism.
Dr. Gregory Jantz penned the Prayer for the Power of Optimism, Hope and Joy in his book “EveryWoman’s Guide to Managing Your Anger.”
Prayer for the Power of Optimism, Hope and Joy
Dear Father, help me to choose to live a life devoted to you, trusting you to protect me and alert to the blessings you bring each day into my life. I want to be able to get you each morning, to say and really believe “this is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Just as I need your help, your strength, wisdom, and direction to get rid of my anger, to get rid of the bad things in my life, I need your help to fill up my life with good things. I confess I can be suspicious of good things. I confess sometimes I don’t want to accept good things because I don’t want to feel obligated to change and give up something else. Help me to unclench my hands of the things I think I need in order to be able to grasp hold of what you provide.
Father, you are a God of hope. I claim Romans 15:13 for myself: fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in you, so that I may overflow with hope and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, have you decided? Will you be a pessimist, or will you be an Optimist and live for God? As for me, “although life seems to get harder everyday, I shall be an OPTIMIST!”