Imagine the proverbial clear glass set in front of you….50% full of water.

How does an optimist see this glass?              (Half-full.)

How does a pessimist see this glass?              (Half-empty.)

How does an engineer see this glass?             (50% over-produced.)

My husband hates that joke.

He’s an engineer.

I love the joke

because…I’m an optimist.

Quite possibly, I also like it because it references the line of work I’m in. I’m in the business of hope and optimism. I help people take action to change the things they can and to deal with the things they can’t change.  I help them regain a sense of control over their moods and perspective when things aren’t going “as planned.”

Optimism is a choice to be hopeful that there will be a positive outcome.
Anyone can be optimistic if they choose to be.

Sometimes I help client’s do this by helping them change their perspective.  I often hold hope for them until they’re able and ready to hold it on their own. This often includes helping them see their circumstances by better understanding God and who He is, so they can feel His love through the worst of times.

When we started this year, there were many references to having 20/20 vision.  This is humorous now, since none of us had a clear vision of what this year was going to be!  Perhaps you’ve heard the adage, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”  It refers to an old prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac that says if March begins with a blustery dose of winter, it will end in the calm renewal of spring. However, if it begins with a warm calmness, we say, “In like a lamb and out like a lion” and expect for worse weather ahead!

Hope: trusting despite our circumstances

My ability to hold hope and to see the silver lining (or at least the “light at the end of the tunnel”) is not because I have never experienced hard times.  I’m human.  And as I say, no one escapes this life unwounded. In fact, I would argue that a person’s ability to have an optimistic perspective is not despite hard times, but because of hard times.  And one positive thing 2020 has offered us is an opportunity to stretch our resiliency.

I’m guessing you can look back over this year and see losses you’ve suffered. Pain you’ve endured.  Disappointments and loss.  And yet…if you look hard enough, you will also find blessings.  Perhaps you’ve learned to work through disagreements as a family after spending so much time “trapped” together indoors.  Or perhaps you’ve become more appreciative of the people in your life and the time you spend with them.  You may have had to solve problems that you thought had no solutions.

Better days ahead

My hope is that after the rough start of 2020, we’ll finally see the sun on the horizon, so to speak.  But before I say goodbye, I’m taking in the lessons of this year before the lion leaves:

We never really know what the day or year ahead of us will bring…we just think we know.

When we start to loosen our grip on how things “have to be” or are “supposed to be”, we feel less disappointment when things don’t go as “planned.”

  • We can live with less than we think we need.
  • We really don’t appreciate what we have until it’s taken from us.

And most importantly…

  • All I really need for Christmas is the gift Jesus already gave me.

I received a Christmas card this week from a special aunt of mine.  In it, she had included a poem that I thought encapsuled the spirit of “optimism.”

“Worst Day Ever?” By Chanie Gorkin

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good.
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a very good day.

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,

And see what I really feel about my day.

Hope is trusting and believing with confidence that
God is working all things together for good.

To me, optimism and hope are closely connected, but not the same.  While optimism is looking for the “up-side” of a situation, “hope” is a more spiritual word. I see hope as something that only Christ can bring in the truest and purest sense of the word.  It’s believing that God is working all things together for good.  That things happen for me; not to me.  Biblically, it’s my understanding that the Lion represents Christ resurrected, and the lamb represents His sacrifice for us.  It’s what this season is all about.  Hope is the peace that comes from knowing that no matter what comes, it will be okay. This eternal hope is available to all. It’s your free Christmas gift..with no strings attached.

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