Just got this blog post from my friend. And I think it is really profound because I am myself amazed at the quitting, disbelief, and negativity all around. I am a Depression grandbaby. My grandmother and parents lived through the Great Depression and I have learned much from their stories. They believed in a something greater than the moment. They believed in the human spirit to overcome.
Now that I am a Christian, I see there is something in us, the Spirit of God that helps us overcome. Read this and see where you are in it. Then ask the Lord: Help my unbelief.
…Writer Paul Miller describes cynicism as “the spirit of our age” and sees it as a natural reaction to baseless and naïve American optimism’s failure to survive life’s difficulties. Dreams based on people, money, our health, our work, our church or government ultimately disappointment us because they are all transient, flawed foundations for hope. As Miller says, “Weariness and fear leave us feeling overwhelmed, unable to move. Cynicism leaves us doubting, unable to dream. The combination shuts down our hearts, and we just show up for life, going through the motions.”
What’s the basis for a realistic optimism?
So, what’s the basis for a realistic optimism that won’t be undone by life’s difficulties? Ironically, we may need to look back to the past and ask how our predecessors were able to withstand far more harsh life events than ours and still remain steadfastly, if grimly, optimistic? The answer is their faith in something that they understood to be benevolent, unchanging and ultimately trustworthy.
I can hear some of you saying, ” He’s talking about God”, but even many of my religious friends appear to be captives of a nagging cynicism. I see people of all stripes finding themselves bereft of real hope. My friends who view God as nonexistent, my friends who view God as indifferent and uninvolved, my friends who are religious but functionally atheistic (God exists and cares, but I am ultimately the master of my own fate), and even my friends who are devoutly religious – all struggle with questions of whether anything in their lives will ultimately prove to be worth their trust and hope.
So, how do I maintain my optimism for my clients?
In a pivotal moment of the film, The Polar Express, the main character is told that contrary to the adage (and cynic’s creed) “seeing is believing”, one must first believe and then the evidence to support belief becomes quite clear, “believing is seeing”. “Seeing is believing” requires evidence before trust – a typical cause and effect relationship, but “believing is seeing” says faith makes something non-linear happen because we place trust in something/someone not-of-this-world first.
Excerpts from Dr. Jim Bailey’s newsletter at Directions Consultation