Want to hear a secret? Just kidding—it's not really a secret.
I'm a smidge of a pessimist. Just kidding—it's more than a smidge.
I think it stems from my fear of being caught unprepared for an emotional blow; I hate having hopes dashed or high expectations crushed. I hate being let down, so my subconscious coping mechanism is to lower my expectations on all fronts so I can't be disappointed.
The problem? It also makes it much, much harder to get excited.
School starts tomorrow, and I can't deny that I am nervous. The workload is bigger, the evaluation expectations are higher, and the social aspect is all the more frightening for the year and a half I've spent safely in my hermitage at home. My very real apprehension toward the courses and school experience trigger my pessimist defense: all kinds of negativity now come bubbling up. Am I even supposed to be here? Will my major be worth anything? What if this is a complete waste of time? Ugh, I wish I didn't have to go!
See how helpful and constructive that line of thinking is?
Some people are naturally more glass-half-empty thinkers than others, myself included, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you naturally lean that way, it's acceptable. We humans naturally lean toward lots of things we shouldn't, and especially as Christians, we have more reason than anyone to be joyful regardless of our apprehensions or fears. Pessimism never draws anyone closer to God.
That is one of my goals for myself this fall. It's a lofty one, and one I likely won't come anywhere close to achieving (wow, I really am pessimistic—YEESH), but you know what? God is a big God. If I make a deliberate effort to focus on thankfulness, to see each day or challenge as an opportunity to shine for him instead of as an obstacle to clamber over, I have every confidence that He will bless that desire of my heart. God is working in us, and He promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (including a joyful, thankful outlook on life) will be FILLED (Matthew 5:6).
I don't know about you, but I want to be filled. A glass half-FILLED, as it were, with joy and gratitude instead of dread and anxiety and frustration. Because who needs all that junk? We have GOD. We have CHRIST. We have ETERNAL SECURITY.
The world will disappoint us, but that's no reason to make a habit of expecting the worst. The best is waiting for us just beyond the world's edge: let's keep our eyes on the prize and be glasses filled with Jesus-joy.
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