On being an optimist. Is the glass half empty? Or half full?

by Ashley on May 8, 2014

Hi friends! Happy Thursday!

Thank you all so much for all of the birthday wishes over on IG and FB. I am beyond blessed! I spent the majority of the day at work but was able to slide out a little bit early and spent the rest of the afternoon with the husband and my family. I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon! The weather was beautiful, the conversation was good, the laughter poured over, the wine was refreshing, the food was delicious, the love was present and the company was the best!

And oh my goodness friends… my heart has been touched.

Birthdays always seem like a great time to reflect, and this birthday, gratitude has flooded my heart and mind. Another year older, I have so much to be grateful for.

A few days ago, my sister-in-law shared an article that I can’t help but reflect on and pass along to you. I had a summertime drink recipe planned (as mentioned a few days ago) and ready to share with you today, however, that can wait but this cannot.

optimist

Before we go any further, I beg that you read the article, How to Be an Optimist – Regardless of What You’re Facing published by Ann Voscamp on her site, A Holy Experience.

This article literally hits the nail on the head for me. As I was reading the article, there were several moments I felt as though the Ann Voscamp took the words directly from my mouth and heart. This is one of the very few pieces of writing that have ever given me chills nearly the entire time I was reading. 

I’ll do my best to summarize the article in my own words as well as share a few of my favorite quotes from Voscamp, however, there is no way my words will ever do this piece of work justice. Please, please take a few minutes and read it for yourself (either now or bookmark it for later; you won’t be sad you did).

Here we go…

Unlike my optimistic husband, many of us (myself included) have a natural tendency to look at the glass half empty rather than half full. Here are a few of my own examples (not necessarily personal to me):

  • “Of course I’m running late” versus “Maybe God is trying to slow me down for a reason”
  • “Of course my first career didn’t work out” versus “God has bigger and better plans for my life”
  • “Of course he broke up with me” versus “God has someone far more compatible for me to come” or even “I must learn to love myself before I can even attempt to love someone else”
  • “Of course I dropped my cell phone in a cup of water” versus “Now I will actually be able to give my full attention to my kids when they are begging me to read them a bed time story”
  • Of course I fractured my ankle one month before my half-marathon” versus “Sometimes rest is all we need”

I love this quote from the article…

“Years are ridiculously short and minutes can be relentlessly long and failures can seem eternal.”

How true is that?

Have you ever stopped in the midst of a stressful moment (like a Monday morning when you woke up 45 minutes late, knocked over and shattered a glass candle votive, walked into your office only to realize that you forgot to put your mascara on, not only that but you also forgot your coffee, which by the way, is exactly how my Monday morning went this past week) and asked yourself, “How could/would things be different if instead of looking at the glass half empty, I choose to accept that all of this is happening for a reason and smiled and actually laughed about it?” I bet my morning would have gone a little bit differently, don’t you?

In the article Voscamp says,

“When we fixate on the worst in something, we render ourselves incapable of fixing anything.

But attend to the good in something — and we act towards the best in everything.”

Being an optimist even amongst trying times is key in maintaining a happy life.

She says,

“The cynics donning armor because they’re the aching, the afraid not wanting to be disappointed. It’s the cynics who have a limited, bruised vocabulary of no. It can seem easier to reject the world before the world hurts you again.

It’s the brave who say a prayerful yes, the brave and wise who believe that the faith-filled yes is what heals things.

It’s the brave and free who are the optimists.”

And then Voscamp got even more real.  She explains that in situations like these, it’s actually possible to be both an optimist and a pessimist. In order to be a long term optimist, we can actually use a pessimistic question to change our thinking,

“What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?”

Really though? What is the worst thing that can happen?

“And there aren’t any wolves, trouble, kids, hatred, debts, messes, betrayal, teenagers, disease, lack, hard times, untruths, diagnoses, or disappointment that can possibly separate you from the love of God. Nothing can separate you from Him.”

So what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? As long as you want nothing more than Christ, the worst thing that could happen is that you, as Vancamp puts it best…

“Live — and He’s using everything to shape you more into Christ and abundant life in Him.

Die — and you have eternal life in Him.

Abundant life versus eternal life — it’s impossible to lose!”

Today and everyday, when things aren’t going your way, I challenge you to pause and ask yourself, “As long as I chose Christ, what’s the worst thing that can happen?”

(Not to be mortal but) I was actually just telling my sister the other day how comfortable I am with death because of this very concept; and although she didn’t like me talking about death (of which is something that I do not fear, nor do I want to happen anytime soon just for the record), it is exactly how I feel. I choose not to fear death because if the worst thing that happens to me is death, then eternal life with Jesus actually sounds pretty awesome.

Truth? Or truth?

How do you view the world? Is the glass always half empty? Or do you view it as half full? Either way, this article certainly makes us think!

Have an optimistic day!

Good health!

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