You know it’s going to be a bad day when:
- You see a “60 Minutes” news team in your office.
- You turn on the news, and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
- Your twin sister forgets your birthday.
- Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
- Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
- Your income-tax check bounces.
- You put both contact lenses in the same eye. *
On the other hand, attitude is everything. Some people are born optimists, like Zig Ziglar who said, “I’m such an optimist I’d go after Moby Dick in a rowboat and take the tartar sauce with me!” **
I (Dawn) think even the most negative person can LEARN to be an optimist. I’m not talking about optimism for optimism’s sake, but Christian optimism, based on the sure hope we have in God.
In my early 20s, a counselor called me “a case study for melancholies.” I was moody, negative, self-condemning … basically a miserable person to be around. God changed 90 percent of those attitudes in me as I began to do three things: I dealt with sin issues in my life, I focused on who I am in Christ, and I embraced the truth of God’s Word for everyday living. Though I occasionally slip up, most of the time these days, I’m an optimist!
I’ve discovered that:
- We can be optimists because God loves us and cares about us (1 John 4:19; 1 Peter 5:7). He loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us so we can be reconciled and reconnect with God (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) ~ because our sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2). In the midst of such love, how can we not know that God is for us?
- We can be optimists based on the character of the God we serve. He is trustworthy, all-wise, all-powerful, etc.
- We can be optimists because our God is full of mercy, even when we really mess things up (Lamentations 3:22-23).
- We can be optimists because we live in resurrection power (Romans 6:1-18) ~ we have the potential for great things in Christ.
- We can be optimists because we are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Romans 8:29), partaking of God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
- We can be optimists because the One who indwells us is greater than anything we will ever face (1 John 4:4).
- We can be optimists because God causes all things to work together for good for His children (Romans 8:28).
- We can be optimists because, even in our struggles, we know the One we have trusted is faithful to supply our needs for today (Philippians 4:19).
- We can be optimists because we know there is more than what we see now. We have an eternal home and we are eternally safe with the Lord (John 14:2-3).
Yes, I know that there are many strong, hard sayings in the Bible. God doesn’t sugar-coat life. There are consequences for sin and foolishness. And we live in a crazy, sinful world.
But for the one who chooses to place his or her trust in the Lord and to honor His Word, there are many precious promises that bring hope. And with hope, there is always optimism.
* 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking by Michael Hodgin, #943, p. 353
** Ibid, #650, p. 248