Monday, March 31, 2014


The Comment:
Is there a point of being too optimistic?
I don't know.
I suppose it depends (isn't that how it is with most things?).

I'm never really "too" optimistic. In fact, I'm not really optimistic at all.  I'd like to think that's changing, though.

I guess I sometimes want to punch optimism in the face when it isn't real. I'm all for hoping and dreaming and longing for things to be better, but when people are rooting for the unrealistic and allowing the optimism to drive them to crazy extremes... those are the times I think we can be "too" optimistic.

Since I typically write on relationships, I'll use that as an example for what I'm talking about. When you like a guy and you're super interested in him and really optimistic that this time (finally) it's actually going to work out. He's actually going to like you back. You're sure of it. All the signs are there. He talks to you, smiles at you, sometimes he'll even initiate conversation with you. Sometimes he ignores you... but you're not choosing to think that means anything. He's probably just playing hard to get. Sometimes he says mean things....but he's usually being sarcastic (clearly...). This might be one of those times when I'd say: you're being too optimistic. Or, as the movie/book put it: he's just not that into you. Sometimes, when it comes to matters of the heart, we can definitely be "too" optimistic. And dumb.

I think the point of being "too" optimistic comes when we're changing our lives completely based on unrealistic hopes. Maybe you decide to move to New York to become an actor when you couldn't even get a part in the chorus in your high school musical when you tried over and over again and they were already short on guys. Maybe you spend all your free-time trying out for the football team constantly and get rejected time and time again (and, maybe, Rudy is your inspiration...).

With instances like these- when our talent doesn't match up with our passions...sometimes I think we can tend to be "too" optimistic. Because sometimes we love doing things that we just aren't that awesome at. And sometimes our passion drives us and we spend our lives trying to do something that we were never meant to do. And sometimes, I think, we need to halt and reevaluate.

We need to ask ourselves what we love doing, yes... but we also need to be willing to see if what we love doing is something that we're good at doing. And if it's not, is it something that we can get better at? Is it something worth spending all the time/money/effort on? Is it something that matters in the scope of eternity or is it just something that's completely self-fulfilling? Is it something we're doing just because we enjoy doing it, or are we trying to find purpose in it? There's a difference.

I tend to think that the Lord has gifted each of us with things that we are good at and when we start to truly tap into those things, we're going to figure out how much we love those things. It might not be something that we thought we'd like in the beginning, but as we excel, as we learn, as we grow... as we do things that matter outside of ourselves...they become things that we can't imagine living without. They're the things that make us think: I was made to do this. It's a great feeling. Because we're good at it and we love it.

I'm optimistic that everyone can have those things that are true for them. That they can be fully invested in things that they love and are good at...and that they will be things that matter in the scope of eternity. I think that's why the Lord gives us those gifts and those passions- so that He might be glorified. Not us.

And, I do think that everyone can be optimistic about matters of the heart. Maybe it doesn't have to be so specific (i.e. This guy is going to fall in love with me vs. I know someday that the Lord will fulfill this desire within me)....but, I think we can hope. That we can dream. That we can ask that the Lord would make us into more of His likeness and in the process we can trust that He's refining our hopes, dreams and desires. We might start to notice that the things we thought we couldn't live without (or even people) are now things that we barely think about.

Because we're growing.
We're changing.
And it's good.
And sometimes, our optimism works out-- things really do turn out the way we hoped they might. And sometimes we just cling to the hope we have in Jesus Christ when everything else seems to fall apart. And then we get to the point where we realize that He is enough.

And then our need for being optimistic shifts...
Because the Lord is faithful.
And instead of all the things that come and go that we find our identity and hope in.... we learn to place it in Him.

At that point, we can never be too optimistic.
Because He has come, He has conquered, and He will return.
We have much to hope in, much to hope for.
Only through Him.

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