Accepting Reality in our Optimism

Chaplain, Curtis Young

I’ve always been an optimist—you know, the glass is half full and all of that? But I’m discovering a need to temper my optimism in order to grow. I think that I have been, as my wife affectionately says, “stupidly optimistic” for too long and it has caused me problems. I tend to hang with people or ideas longer than I should because I’m positive that, if I just hang in there, good things are going to happen. But they rarely, if ever have happen.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be optimistic, but I’m learning that I have to accept reality as well. In truth, I don’t even know if I was being optimistic so much as I was being lazy, you know? Instead of trying to wrestle with a problem or situation I’d just clap my hands and say, “God will make it all okay” and go about my merry way—which made me a great guy to hang out with, but a horrible leader.

So I’m practicing being realistic, taking an honest assessment of what a situation is or isn’t, and making decisions based on that as opposed to just jumping in and hoping everything will turn out okay. And, it’s been a positive change for me. I’m not disappointed nearly as often, I think I’m better able to love people as I acknowledge who they really are, and I’m being more proactive about solving problems. I think I’ve grown quite a bit simply by acknowledging that I’ve had “lazy faith” and have tried to duck the hard parts of life.

It’s painful to realize that you’re not the person you think you are, but worth it. I’m sure this realization will take me to new heights in my walk with God.

And that’s real, not just optimism.