Someone on facebook linked to an article in Reader's Digest: Cheer Up! 17 Reasons It's A Great Time To Be Alive by Matt Ridley. It's a fun read and has it's merits. But for some reason it brought to mind an old Hee Haw classic:
I used to be a pretty optimistic person; all Miss Sunshine and glass-is-half-full kinda gal. But over the past dozen years I've turned into Debby Downer. I'm working to change that, but have you noticed how hard it is to break old habits? And being a Debby Downer has become a habit with me.
My first reaction is usually a negative one, no matter the topic of discussion. I've just come to expect the worst. Of people, places and situations.
There's a word for that. It's called cynical.
On an intellectual level I know that the only "person" I can trust is the Lord. Others will inevitably fail us. But when they do, when expectations are not met, how do you deal with that? In my case I think I kept lowering my expectations... and lowering them... and lowering them some more... until I had no expectations at all. I began expecting failure, and learned to live with it.
How sad is that?
Was everything a failure? No. But I disregarded anything else as an aberration and went right on expecting failure.
It's a slippery slope into a deep pit and, I'm finding, not an easy one to climb out of. What encourages me is the Word. God gave us so many examples of people whose expectations were not met, whose friends and family failed them, but when they kept their focus on God (like David) they did a whole lot better than when they didn't (like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel). I'd rather be like David, wouldn't you? For all his faults -- and they were legion -- David loved God with all his heart, mind and strength and he came through situation after situation victorious.
So I am doing my best, and asking God to help me, banish the Debby Downer attitude once and for all. And, like Matt Ridley exhorts, "Dare to be an optimist!"