01 Jul 2020

Staying Optimistic

I was speaking with someone I reached out to today just to check on him, (if they read this blog they will recognize their words), and at the conclusion of the text he said, “I’m staying optimistic”. I was all set with another topic all together for this blog, but God evidently intercepted my thought pattern. I never have an objection to God’s interception because I have found it is always for a reason.

The world is in an upheaval. We were just a few weeks into a global pandemic when civil unrest erupted across the nation and abroad over the inhumane treatment, and unjustified murder of a black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unbelievably since then other horrific occurrences have taken place, too numerous to mention, and the devastation just continues. So, how in the world can we be expected to have positive thoughts, let alone STAY OPTIMISTIC? Optimistic about what? Honestly, before I could come up with an answer to give you, I had to do some work to convince myself. You see we can have fleeting thoughts that more or less pass through our minds, but they don’t take up residency. In other words, we can have some good thoughts and some bad thoughts – some good days and some bad days. But how do we successfully ensure that the good outweighs the bad? Well, I first wanted to consult Dictionary.com. I knew what the word optimistic meant from my personal understanding and recollection, but I wanted to take a look at the official definition. The word was summed up in two clear definitions.

• disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
• reflecting a favorable view of events and conditions and the expectation of a positive outcome; demonstrating optimism

Although the definitions are similar, I was particularly drawn to the second one. The word reflectinggrabbed my attention instantly. Okay last definition, I promise! Dictionary.com says that reflect means to give back or show an image of, mirror. That produced an AHA moment right then and there. The Word of God in Genesis clearly tells us that He made man in His image, after His likeness. According to the infallible Word of God the purpose of our very existence is to REFLECT the image of our Creator. Our reflection of Him should be a most favorable view. How do we accomplish that? It can only be accomplished by living an expressly distinguishable life even with all of its/our imperfections and mitigating circumstances that befall us. It is how we reflect the favorable image of God in every aspect of our lives in spite of prevailing conditions that will demonstrate to others our positive expectations which are equivalent to optimism.

I want to share some steps that help me in my constant quest for staying optimistic.

• Think back (reflect) on the good things that have not only happened in your life but that you were the conduit to make them happen.

• Celebrate your accomplishments and let them be the catalyst for your NEXT! Build upon what you’ve already done.

• When you turn down “negative alley”, make a u turn as fast as you can! Don’t just assume you can speed up and get out quickly. Chances are you just might stall there! I think you get the analogy!

• When things around you look dark and gloomy, look at the wonder of God’s creation. Even the things man has created, could not have been done without the brilliant mind that God created in him.

• Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to get a fresh outlook. Sitting in the house all day, going through the same mundane routine, talking to the same people, or closing yourself off from people, is a recipe for the opposite of optimism — pessimism.

• Talk to God and meditate. We sometimes make things entirely too complicated. And when life isn’t particularly good it is natural to avoid anything that represents complication. Talking to God and opening up to Him about how you REALLY feel is prayer — plain and simple! Meditation is simply being quiet and thinking on good things.

• Last . . . WALK IT OUT! Figuratively and literally! Fix your mind and your heart on positive things, goals, dreams, and then put some action behind them. Stop looking for someone to make changes for you and for those around you to change. Institute change for yourself – you deserve it!!

As with anything, the hardest part may just be getting started. Once you do, you’re well on your way to STAYING OPTIMISTIC!