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Posted on Aug 15, 2016 in Blog, Culture, Deliberate Living, Encouragement, Featured

Recovering Pessimist

Recovering Pessimist

I don’t know if I’ve always been this way.

It’s hard to remember not being this way. I think some of us with certain personality types are a little more prone to it. However, I think a lot of my habitual pessimism came to me during my time in college.

There’s this way of thinking in college, and it’s in a lot of churches…well, it’s pretty much everywhere.

I’m afraid we’re becoming more and more pessimistic as time goes on.

It can feed your brain and ego to be negative and pessimistic. There are studies showing the way your brain rewards you for being negative and for other negative behaviors like gossiping.

I think that’s party of why we do it. I think we also do it because it makes us feel smart to be able to put something or someone else down. Being negative and pessimistic is a way of lifting ourselves up over whatever it is we’re putting down.

I’ve been trying to be a more positive and optimistic person for a while. But, I haven’t made it public yet. So, I wanted to do that today.

Hi, I’m David. And I’m a recovering pessimist.

I refuse to define myself as a pessimist. I’ve been and am being set free from it. That’s not who I am, that’s who I was. It is a journey. It’s a challenge. It can be tough to change ways of thinking and talking and interacting that have been pressed deeply into your psyche.

But, that’s not who I am, that’s who I was.

However, my confession is not merely a way of me going public with my journey.

It’s also a plea.

Will you join me? Will you go with me on this journey? Will you make a choice to abandon your negative, pessimistic ways of thinking, talking, interacting and seeing the world through that lens?

Especially for those of you who are Christians, we have so much to be thankful for, joyful over and to celebrate! We have been set free from the corruption and brokenness of the world. And while the world around us remains broken, we cannot be instruments of redemption with a mindset of corruption and pessimism.

I’m not saying we won’t have to endure hardships. I’m not saying we have to hide our pain and our struggles. Some of us have gone through unimaginable pain and sorrow. There will be seasons and times of our lives where we walk through the shadows.

But, they are merely that – shadows. They are passing. They are temporary. They exist because there is light. And, as dark as the shadow may be, as dense as the forest around us is – if we just keep walking, we will eventually find ourselves in the light again.

Will you join me in this pursuit? Will you help me in this pursuit? Because I don’t think we need anymore negativity in our world.

Instead, I think we need more hope in our world. We may be the only source of hope for this world. You may be the only source of hope for the people in your life. We cannot provide hope to the world through pessimism and negativity.

Should we be dishonest? Should we put on a front? No.

But, we should practice. It’s one thing to be fake. It’s another thing to practice being someone you’re trying to become. Athletes practice. Musicians practice. Artists practice. People learning to drive have to practice.

We need to practice our positivity, hope and optimism. And maybe if I, if we, practice it enough, it will become who we are.

And maybe someday, people will call you that optimistic person that they love being around.

  • pauldwilson

    Moses was pretty positive when he grew up in Pharaoh’s palace, but something deep within told him he didn’t belong there. It was the simple message, “You are the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. He got tired of that. He knew there was more than that to life. There had to be other people; there had to be the perspective of history; things simply didn’t make sense like they were!

    Therefore, a pessimist may not really a pessimist, but a budding optimist, given the right environment, right opportunities, and the right answers, and where to find them.

    Or conversely, an optimist may not really be an optimist if he or she is presented with an entirely different set of insights and arguments.

    Whatcha think?

    • David Lindner

      I could agree with that. I think the important thing is to be progressing toward optimism.

      • pauldwilson

        Yes, I agree, because Christ demonstrated the ultimate optimism on the cross available to the human race.

        However, there is a danger in our day, and that is having the hearing of the senses, and not the hearing of the Spirit of God.

        I have come to the conviction that the first sense a baby has is the sense of hearing. I think that can be demonstrated in life, and in the scriptures . . . most notable is John the Baptist hearing Christ’s voice in the meeting of the two mothers prior to their birth.

        What makes this difficult is that it takes the conviction of an obedient life to make sure that this happens. Hannah was a case in point. When she heard the cry of her spirit that she was to have a son, even her husband had an initial problem with that, and of course Eli thought the same for a while, until she expressed the true vision of her heart.

        When Eli was taken to the temple – this was already honed in his heart, and it wasn’t long until the child heard God’s voice, and thought it was Eli’s. But God had another idea.

        Is it any wonder that Samuel’s words “never fell to the ground”! Amazing!

        Having hidden God’s word in my heart from the earliest stages, (not just my memory, but my heart), I have the best hope there is in developing a positive outlook on life!

        Paul Wilson