The biggest change in my seventh decade of life is that I am becoming an optimist. An optimist is a person with confidence and hope in the success or outcome of something. That’s me nowadays. I daresay it is not a passing phase but a waxing trend.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of crazy hard stuff going on in my life right now, and the dilemma of writing for public consumption is always that the potentially most helpful insights I can write about are things I cannot share without betraying confidences. Nevertheless, let me say that in spite of the devil’s level best to take me down, I am feeling optimistic.
The devil will talk your ear off telling you that you always have been and always will be a pessimist. He will tell you that’s OK, because that’s how you were born and God loves you anyway, etc. But the Word of God says different:
“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy …” (2 Corinthians 1:24, ESV).
That means the apostle Paul expects every Christian to come into joy, as the normal part of being a Christian.
Jesus is in agreement with Paul that the normal Christian state of being is supposed to be joy:
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11, ESV).
And where does that joy spring from? According to the Word, it springs from hope in the future outcome of things:
“… we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Colossians 1:4–5, ESV).
The hope laid up for us in heaven is meant to make us all optimists. But the thing is that you have to let it! You have to see to it. That’s where talking to yourself comes into play. Are you ill, or is your husband ill? Say, “Lord, I believe you when you say that all things work for the good of those who love you—even this.” Are your children far from God? Say, “Lord, I will obey you when you command me to be anxious for nothing, and instead to pray with thanksgiving, and I will commence doing that right now.”
For as Scripture earnestly exhorts us:
“… we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14, ESV).
Be an optimist. You can do it! Start in your 60s if you’re 60. Don’t let the devil say you can’t ’cause it’s too late.