Optimism and Hope

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Helen Keller

Many people believe that optimism is just an expression of false hope. They would say that to be optimistic all of the time is to be unrealistic. In reality, optimism is a real expression that we can have all of the time and that we should have all of the time. The reason why it is so important is that optimism is the key to hope, and hope gives us purpose. And essentially, the purpose is the key to optimism. It all comes full circle and it all rests on hope. Think about this blog: its purpose is to encourage us to LIVE INTENTLY FOR ETERNITY. That statement rests on the hope that Eternity is real. Without that hope, this blog loses all purpose; and without that purpose, this blog has no optimism. Now let’s look at it on a bigger perspective: life. If you’re like me, you have envisioned the purpose for your life. Maybe the purpose your aiming for is to be a manager in your company, to be an A student, to find your soulmate, to discover new things, to travel the world, to raise a healthy family, to get a job, to discover happiness, to be a professional athlete, to make a lot of money, or to live till you’re 100. The list goes on, but each one of those purposes rests on a hope that the position or achievement exists, is possible to achieve, and will give you a sense of fulfillment. When your hopes are high, you’re optimistic, right? But when things just do not seem possible or achieving that hope did not fulfill you, a spirit of pessimism wins over.

I think we can all agree that there have been times in our lives where we have chased after something and have failed in achieving it. At that moment, we lose all hope in achieving that prize. Now, we can certainly get back up and choose a new prize to chase after, but it comes to a point where we need to determine if what we’re chasing is something that fulfills. I’m sure you can relate: there have been times in my life when I have chased after something and have finally achieved it, but the pleasure only quenched my thirst for a little while, and ultimately it let my hopes up. To avoid this false hope, we need to evaluate the prize we are chasing after- the purpose we created for ourselves. If we’re being honest, the list of purposes above, though some good, do not lead to a genuine hope that fulfills. There is only one purpose that contains that: a life in pursuit of glorifying God and finding pleasure in Him. 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:14, NIV

Optimism certainly is an expression we can and should have all of the time. It can be an expression we have if our hope is on an eternity with Christ; it should be our day to day attitude because God is constant, and He does not change. Many people struggle with this idea because they do not fully understand optimism. We’ve all had (or will have) trials in our life. Many people do not think it possible to have optimism through trials. But we can, because optimism does not mean you do not shed a tear-  it means that you do not let go of the hope you have in Christ (to read more on what that hope in Christ is, click here to read my most recent post). Many bad things have happened in history, and, for some of you, many trials have occurred in your life. But through it all, God has not changed. In history, people have found the hope God gives and He still holds that same hope for us. He still outstretches His hand to us, and we just need to hold on. In the words of Dory, from Finding Nemo, we need to “just keep swimming.” The directors of Finding Nemo must have understood this idea to the “T”. If you ever watched the movie, you remember the scene when the founder, along with Dory, gets caught in the fishermen’s net. At this point, they are all panicked and believe they have lost hope. But Nemo, Marlin, and Dory showed them the hope they still had: if they would just keep swimming down together they could be saved. When I watch this scene, I think about the fish who are on top of the net: there is nothing that they can do at this point but rely on the other fish. Sometimes that is the case for us. We find ourselves trapped and helpless when the only thing we can do is call on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is all-powerful, and when we are unfaithful to Him, He is still faithful to us. Other times, we are not the ones helpless, but we are at the bottom of the net. We may not realize the urgency of the situation, but there are ones above us who are helpless. This is our moment to swim. We may not be swimming for ourselves, but we have to swim for others. That is what life is all about: not living for our own personal gain, but living for others, in light of what Christ did for us. In trials, we can still be optimistic, because we know the hope that God has for us.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5, NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Our hope in Christ never fails. Why? Because Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13), and God is love. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (John 4:8). My friend Miriam is doing an amazing series on the love of God this month and I would strongly encourage you to check it out! To read more on God’s unfailing, hope-filled love click here!

A spirit of optimism gives us a fresh perspective on the hope we have in Christ. When we keep our eyes on Christ, optimism becomes our default attitude, and optimism is the mindset in which we can accomplish our purpose of making eternal impacts for Christ and seeing lives changed for the glory of God. What is your hope in? Is it fulfilling you? Does it drive you to the purpose of serving others?

L.I.F.E. – – – Live Intently For Eternity

Life is not about living for ourselves, it is about living, earnestly, in light of what He did for us.

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