Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Surprised by Optimism

Because of Jesus, we can have joy in this dark world

Thank you for looking at my blog! In today’s busy world, I appreciate you taking a few minutes from your schedule to hear what I have to say. In this first post, I’d like to give my reason for starting this blog, but first, let me tell you a little about myself.
My name is John. I’m twenty years old, and I’m finishing my last year of my BSBA in entrepreneurship. I’m also interning with a local company in its marketing department. My family is a wonderful mix of two loving parents, one biologically related twin sister, one older sister adopted domestically, nine younger siblings adopted from Russia, and two dogs! (As you can tell, a family like this makes for a lot of adventures! You’ll get to see some examples on my blog of what life in a family that crazy and fun is like.)
My reason for starting this blog is that I know the crippling power of cynicism, and I want to help others avoid it. Now, it’s not that I always walk around with a scowl on my face, as the song “He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” plays ominously in the background. Instead, as Paul Miller explains in his book A Praying Life, my cynicism begins with my false assurance that “anything is possible”. However, optimism rooted in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the darker side of life, such as disappointed expectations or downright evil in people (including myself). From the signs I see in our culture, I think that this type of cynicism is becoming a widespread problem.
However, there is a way out of this quiet cynicism. Rather than withdrawing into this negative spirit, we need an optimism that is founded on something more dependable than the goodness of people. We all know deep down that people, including ourselves, aren’t good. Nevertheless, the famous words of Psalm 23 hold the key: God is willing to be our Good Shepherd who won’t disappoint. Jesus proved this willingness when he came to earth to pay the penalty of our corrupted goodness by dying on the cross. Now we have the opportunity to have hope, and even the kind of fun that lasts! There is so much hope and joy to be found in God, and I’d love if you would join me in this journey of learning to be optimistic through Him!
(A final note about my blog title: One of my heroes, C.S. Lewis, titled his autobiography Surprised by Joy. I’m just beginning to learn to put my hope in God instead of myself and the goodness of people. So I’m realizing that even when I can’t feel joyful I can choose an optimistic mindset based on God’s goodness and promises. Thus the name of my blog, “Surprised by Optimism”.)

- John