learning to soar. part two.
I have asked myself a lot of questions lately.
How do we remain optimistic in a world that is always trying to steal our joy?
How do we remain optimistic when the world has basically been put on pause?
I have asked how am I supposed to keep moving forward when I have no closure from the past?
I have asked how am I supposed to get out of bed in the morning when every ounce of my depression is saying not to?
Have you found yourself asking similar questions?
Well first, I want you to know that you are not alone. Not only am I struggling with these questions, but I can take an educated guess and say many others are too.
This blog is part two of my learning to soar series. And it is called optimism.
I cannot personally think of a better time to write about optimism than literally right now.
The world has been going through a pandemic.
Many of us have been quarantined to our homes.
Semesters have been cancelled.
High school proms and graduations postponed.
Our lives have basically been put on pause.
For me personally, I have been home for a month now, my semester has been cancelled, but my life kinda hit a fast-forward rather than a pause.
I had known I would be transferring for a while before spring break came around. I didn’t know, however, that I wouldn’t be going back to Ohio. I didn’t know that I was going to lose two months of my time left there. It was like I left for spring break and then boom, I was faced with a whole lot of unknown and some life changing decisions.
All honesty, losing my last two months at Ohio has hurt. There are people who I love more than I can express that I haven’t had the chance to say goodbye to. And leaving this abruptly wasn’t how I wanted it to end. I had plans on how I wanted to say goodbye to each person I had come into contact with. I had a bucket list with my best friend of things we were going to do before I left. I have had to really learn to show myself grace for being sad about this. I have really had to be patient with my healing, as I am still working to mend pieces of my heart that have overtime been broken.
And I have had to learn how to not lose my optimism, my joy, even through the pain and hardships.
The definition of Optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.”
I want to break this down with you. Because I think woven into these twelve words we will find truth. And what better to lean on during a time like this than solid truth. I feel like optimism is almost a puzzle. It isn’t a one step math problem. Or a multiple choice answer to a test. It’s more like a multi-step algebraic equation. And an open ended test answer. There are many pieces that we have to figure out. But in the grand scheme of things, it creates the most beautiful picture. And it is one I want us all to see. Now bear with me, we are going to look into definitions and parts of speech, as well as scripture, to really see how we can embody the word that is optimism.
I want to start with the first word in the definition of optimism which is “hopefulness.”
Hope can be defined by “to place trust; rely (usually followed by in).” And this specific definition is a verb. A verb is an action word. To have hope, to be hopeful, requires action. It isn’t passive. We can’t sit and magically hope we will be able to stand back up one day. Hope requires action. Hope is laying it all down at the feet of our Savior. Hope is continuing to trust and rely in the One who gave us life.
When we place our trust in Jesus, we don’t just get to walk away hoping we don’t face any storms. It is written that we WILL face storms. It’s not IF the storms come, it’s a matter of when. And the Lord promises that He will be WITH you when those storms hit, He says “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
He is a God in PURSUIT of our hearts. He isn’t idle, or passive. He doesn’t lack trust in the beauty of all His creation. He is Hope…
The next word I want to dive into is “confidence”
Confidence means “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”
So let’s think about this.
To be optimistic,
one must have hope,
one must place trust in someone bigger than themselves.
As Christians, we are to place our hope in the Lord. We are to rely on the Lord. The thing is we can’t do this without trust. We can’t fully hope in Jesus if we aren’t confident about who He says He is and who He says we are.
Truth says “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
Truth says that “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Confidence requires FIRM trust. Not half in half out trust. Not Sunday morning trust. But FIRM trust.
The rest of the definition is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.”
We can be hopeful because truth says “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
And we can be confident because we know this truth:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The outcome of our future, good or bad, is in God’s hands, and that is a place where we can confidently trust in.
All together, optimism is having active trust in who the Lord is, and who He says we are. It is having confidence in His promises. Optimism is hoping and trusting in the future, because we know that the future is in His hands. And we know that His ways are so much higher and better than ours.
It’s not an accident that Isaiah 40:31 is the verse behind this ministry. Isaiah 40:31 has many translations, it can be interpreted in many ways. I know this verse by heart. The first line actually says “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Other translations say “but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.”
But those who hope.
But those who trust.
To be optimistic one must have hope. To be optimistic one must also have confidence, which results in firm trust in who God is.
Optimism results in the three other words that align with the name of this blog soar.
Optimism breeds Strength.
Optimism designs Authenticity.
Optimism produces Radiance.
The action of optimism creates a strong, authentic, radiant heart for the Lord. And it truly is a beautiful thing.