Realistic Optimism…

We can be  optimistic  when God  is with us…. 

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of a person? Or to be more specific, are you mostly an optimist, a pessimist, a realist or perhaps something of a mixture?! I am probably sitting on the fence about myself, but I like to think of myself as something of a Realistic Optimist! I am realistic (with occasional pessimism) about the reality of life, but an optimist about how things don’t have to always stay the same and can be better. 

I like the quote that Sir Winston Churchills once gave, and year by year am learning how to be more of the latter: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  

In February, given the weather conditions (and given all that is going on in our country and world) we perhaps all have cause to feel a bit more pessimistic, but the question is, how can this be counteracted in ourselves? What can we hang onto that can stop us from being too pessimistic and instead have a right kind of optimism? To help, many people find it good to have a positive phrase for their life. I love these kind of ‘positive thinking/self-help’ phrases as they can give us a better perspective for a better direction.  Here are some examples I found: 

  1. Whatever you do give it 100% 
  1. Forgive and let go 
  1. Don’t ever stop learning and growing as a person 
  1. 4. Change your thinking, change your life.
  2. 5. Be kind to people and treat people as you would like to be treated.
  3. 6. Never give in!

In the bible there are of course many wonderful phrases (bible verses) that can help too. These are even better because they not only give us something optimistic to aim at, but also the power of God to change us and go in that positive direction: 

“We can love because God has first loved us.” 1 John 4v19 

“I have loved you, so you can love one another.” John 13v34 

“If you acknowledge God in all your ways; he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3v6 

“If God is for us who can be against us.” Romans 8v33 

“I can do everything through God who gives me strength.” Philippians 4v13 

With these kind of words from God in mind, not just positive/self-help phrases, we can know that better things are possible beyond ourselves….and so we can be ‘realistically optimistic’ about the future because God’s love, power and strength is with us. 

With my prayers for February  

Revd James – Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary Upham 

12th February 2022

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