Dear Pastor Lily,
This year, my New Year’s resolution is to be more optimistic. I’m not a negative person, but over the last few months, I’ve felt like I’m getting into a bit of a funk. Overworked, debt, and just having a hard time enjoying the blessings that God has given me. I know I am blessed. But I feel like the little troubles of daily life are getting in the way. I have a lot of reasons that I could list, but at the end of the day, I know that 99 % of the time, I’m just giving into different excuses.
How do I turn my attitude and behaviours around so that I can enjoy the life God gave me? What suggestions can you share to help me be more optimistic?
Nikki, from Brazil
Dear Optimistic Nikki
I feel your pain, and I think we all go through phases like the one you’re currently in.
The Song of Solomon 2:15 says:
“Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.”
I love this verse because it reminds me that I might be experiencing a season of bounty and beauty, but there are a few pesky little foxes that are ardent about destroying it.
Having lived in Northern Canada for the past several years, I have had an opportunity to observe the behaviour of such foxes from the comfort of my window.
They are brazen little creatures who go about their business with attitude. When left to their own devices they will help themselves to any leftovers or garbage they can find. If you go outside and shout at them, they will run off. But as soon as you turn around, they’re back.
The problems in our lives are just like those foxes. Sometimes they are entertaining to watch, but at the end of the day, they can destroy your blessings.
So the question becomes, what do you do about the foxes?
How do you keep them from destroying your beautiful vineyard and all that you’ve worked hard to cultivate? How do you maintain your optimism?
Keep an Eye Out
You’ve got to know your enemy. Take note of the patterns and behaviours that cause you to lose optimistic outlook on life. For me, a major culprit can be too much coffee. Sometimes I just have to check myself and ask, Is this something I really need to be worrying about -OR- did I drink too many cups of coffee and I’m feeling anxious and jittery as a result.
As a mom of two little girls, a pastors wife, a blogger and an external pancreas (my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just after her first birthday, read more about that here), there are days when I consume a lot of lukewarm/ cold coffee.
Other times, I’ve just got to take a break and get a good night sleep. There’s often a simple solution that we can’t see because we’re just too tired.
Focus on Gratitude
While you have to keep an eye on the little rascals, they should not be your focus. I personally work really hard on cultivating gratitude. I do this in a few different ways, my favourite being a family gratitude journal. As often as possible (in a perfect world we would do it daily) we sit down as a family and write down a few things that we are grateful for. We really try to encourage each other to think of new things so that we’re not just falling back to the familiar answers of family, food and God. When we’ve got a good stride going, it becomes far easier to see the blessings occurring all around us every day. By doing this we are all more optimistic about our lives and the future.
Say No to Distractions
One of the fastest ways to get run down is by saying yes to too many things. I’ve recently started applying a tip I learned from Tim Ferriss in one of his podcasts, is; when you have to decide if you want to do something, rate it on a scale of 1-10 BUT Don’t you can’t choose 7. This really forces you to out of the ambiguous zone. If it’s 8 or above, go for it. If it’s 6 or below, just say no, because it’s going to drain your energy and resources.
This is a really important tip for people who are natural givers and just run themselves into the ground. It’s great to be able to help out where you can, but if your prayer life is suffering, if you’re not getting to your personal priorities because you’re always worrying about someone else’s, you’re going to run into problems. So choose wisely.
Establish Your Cornerstones
This one is probably the most important. And I will be talking about it throughout the month. I believe that there are 4 essential cornerstones that when firmly established in our lives we help protect us from many of the storms that come our way. They include tithing, attending a weekly service, daily Bible reading and daily prayer. Developing these habits will allow you to have an exponentially greater ability to achieve other goals because they are first principals that spill over into the other areas of your life.
One of the fastest and most effective ways to combat the negative is to speak life. The Bible tells us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Proverbs 18:21
If You would like my quick printable reminder for speaking life over the 5 key areas of your life, you can enter your name and email in the form below and I will send it straight to your inbox. Print it off and post it somewhere highly visible and give yourself a quick reminder to speak life and you will certainly remain more optimistic.
If you have a question, I’d love to answer it. Please submit it HERE>>>
God Bless You!
Speak life over 5 Key areas
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