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I am an optimist. I tend to pretty easily see the good, or the potential good in nearly every situation and circumstance. I am generally also very trusting of others—their motives, agendas (or lack thereof), and actions—which seems to stem from my general outlook on life.
Was I born this way? I don’t know. Sometimes my wife thinks that I am.
Jen is the opposite. She is very critical, cautious, judicious, and very distrusting of most people; especially people she doesn’t know.
You might call us a good match: the Optimist and the Pessimist. She keeps us out of trouble and I help keep life more fun.
So if this is just a matter of our genetic code, what do we do with verses like this one?
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sounds pretty optimistic.
So is pessimism a “sin”? How about when I described it as I did above: critical, cautious, judicious? Those are not bad things; not sins.
When the younger people in our home start grumbling more than they are not grumbling, I can often trace it back to some ingratitude in their hearts. Somehow they are not able to see the potential in a situation, or be thankful for the good that is there—that is always there.
So I remind them of the truth of these verses. I don’t see them as commands coming down from an oppressive ruler. Rather, I think they are reminders that to live life fully—a desire Jesus expressly stated he has for us—we will do better to look for the good, to be joyful, be thankful.
A couple weeks ago I was saying these things to the kids again and I used the phrase “find the fun”. That seems appropriate. If you find yourself beginning to grumble or complain, then intentionally look for the fun.
You’re a smart person! You can do it! Take a breath, ignore anything that’s bad, and focus your mind and heart on something good. (Even if the “good” is that your current situation is only temporary!)
Find the fun.
Since it’s repeated in scripture multiple times, I’m guessing that practicing optimism is not only an innate personality found in a portion of the population. It would seem odd that if God made some of us to be pessimists—incapable of “finding the fun”—then he wouldn’t have admonished us to be joyful or thankful always.
There must be something there that makes all of our lives better.
So today I admonish you to find the fun. Go ahead, do it right now. There’s something today, something right now that is a knock-your-socks-off kinda good. You might be separated from it by geographic space or time (maybe it’s a person you love, or something you need to wait for right now) … but it’s still good. It’s still fun.
And your heart will be lighter. Your day will be brighter.
You found the fun.
May your day be full of fun. It’s out there, waiting to be found!