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Author Topic: Optimism  (Read 4396 times)

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Revtro

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Optimism
« on: April 01, 2008, 02:00:21 PM »

The more I go through life, the more obvious it is that what seems to be really lacking in our society is a sense of optimism.  I read recently that Detroit is #2 on the list of the most depressed cities in America according to a 2008 study.  That was a sad statistic to read, but I believe it. 

Lately, I've been studying those around me by asking questions like "how are you?"  Most answers I get aren't encouraging.  Then when you try to encourage people, they very often have objections about why they can't be encouraged.  Example:  Someone told me they lost their job.  So I said "Hey man, it'll be ok, there's something out there for you. Keep your chin up".  They're answer: "Not with this economy.  I'm never gonna find a *&@# job."
 :(

I've noticed also, that people seem eager to engage in arguments about just about anything.  This is especially true of online communities.  Bring up a conversation about gas prices, unions, the economy, global warming, politics, and even sports, and very often there is an overwhelming sense of pessimism and discouragement.  Forget what's positive... because it's obscured by what's wrong.  I notice it too, being an online moderator.  Don't get me started on that one!   ;D

Am I wrong or does the Word of God call itself "Good News"?  To me that means that not only do we have hope for eternity, but also hope for the here and now.  When Jesus said "In this life you will have trouble", He was stating a truism, but I can't believe that the undertone of His message was to be discouraged and afraid.  What I get from the Bible is that it's all "Good News".  ...That with God we can make it and even have an abundant and joy-filled life in spite of it's challenges. 

What are your thoughts about this?  How can we more embrace optimism as a way of life and be an encouragement in the 2nd most depressed area in America?  I for one am choosing a more positive way of life.  But it seems weird to me that when I try to encourage people to embrace a positive outlook, they sometimes get annoyed.  What the heck is that all about? 

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<<< >>>  = Good News, right?
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TCook

Re: Optimism
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2008, 03:10:23 PM »

I think its simple, in this area the economy is the second worse like you said in a country which is almost in a depression. Until this fact changes who you talk to will likley have a negative attitude. Relating christianity to the current situation will not change most peoples outlook on the future and there financial well being. Unless God can give me the next lotto numbers I dont think he can help me or someone else out there thats struggling. Maybe scriptures  from the bible can give hope to some, but I am not one of those people.
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joshimoto son

Re: Optimism
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 03:57:15 PM »

Tom,

I'm sure this is something that you have noticed, more than just recently... I think that it is just your proverbial straw.
I don't blame you... and I agree.

I have many theories about why... but that doesn't fix anything.

How do we fix "it", that is optimism and not the economy... lift our spirits and not employment.

True happiness comes from within, you must be happy with yourself. I strongly believe this is why there is such an emphasis on "being right" hence, the arguments and bickering. If your not happy with yourself, the short term fix is to make someone else look bad.

At times it feels like we've turned ourselves into a society of victims... We want to pursecute and point blame at people, jump on band wagons and soap boxes at the drop of a hat. WHY?
To make other people look bad, so that they can cover up the things in their life that tug at them. It's easier that way.

Here is my suggestions... I only have two.

This is not directed at any one individual, but mearly a suggestion to be thought of.

1) Take responsibility for yourself and your happiness, nothing else is going to make you happy, not a job, not a person, not a bunch of money. Your emotions are just that... YOUR emotions. If you are unhappy, it is because you have decided to be unhappy. (and if your next thought is "yeah but..." then you are still not taking responsibility for yourself.)

2) Take a small step in the right direction, do something nice for sombody without expecting anything back in return. It will make you feel better, and I promise you, it will come back to you ten fold.

Let me start...

Tcook,
PM me your address and I will send you a couple of hand poured swimbaits and a new Vibrashock and vibraspin. I want nothing in return, but you must give one of those items away to someone else.

This is a very simple concept, they made a movie about it.

You in Tom?

joshimoto son ;D
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Re: Optimism
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2008, 04:12:49 PM »

I guess that's where the meaning of true christian faith comes in to play. While I will never claim to be a saint - I make mistakes everyday like everyone else -  I believe I am genuine in my faith in God. Meaning, I don't do/say/act one way on Sunday and differently the rest of the week. To truly know the love of the Father is to know a peace that extends way beyond current circumstances. That is a lot easier to say than it is to feel during hard times but I think Rev will agree that is biblically accurate. We had a recent series about "agape" love - something far deeper and unconditional than the word love we all use (I love pizza, I love to bass fish, etc). Until we understand the depth of God's agape love for us and the promise of life in heaven (when recessions and housing market bubbles won't mean a hill of beans) then we will never be moved by other biblical truths. Tough times are a part of everyday life - its all in the perspective in which you deal with it. Not sure if that helps, TCook, but hopefully it does. I find myself caught up in looking at the doom and gloom since I work in the real estate/finance field but I try my best to stay positive because I know its all a temporary cycle - kinda like life for that matter!

Best Fishes,
Marc
P.S. Joshomoto - how do I get in on your 'share the bait' plan?!?!
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Revtro

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 04:34:13 PM »

I couldn't agree more Josh.  I'm "in" all the time.   ;D  Last year I read a book by Steve Sjogren that changed my outlook about this.  His premise is something called "Servant Evangelism".  In a nutshell, he teaches that you can increase people's sense of well-being by doing genuinely caring things for them and showing them genuine Christian love.  And it works.  They don't always decide to become Christians, but that's not the only point.  It's about loving people genuinely with no expectations, because that's how God loves us.

Our whole church has gotten on board with this concept this past year and many people have responded positively.  The general sense of personal well-being has greatly increased in our church as a result of realizing that while the earth has problems, God's creation is essentially good (like He said a half dozen times while He was creating it - Gen.1).  All this is occurring regardless of the economy and job situation. (And that isn't meant to speak down on anyone, truly.)  I'm saddened when people think money is the answer.  True inner peace and a sense of life-purpose fills a person in ways money can't. 

All of our efforts to love and serve people are a result of doing what the Bible says.  So while a particular passage may not "help someone", our response to the Bible is helping people whether they realize it or not.

Look, I'm not rich and every day is a struggle, especially lately.  So I hope no one reading this thinks I can't relate because I have it easy.  I've been near-homeless prior to having to stay with my mom-in-law for a short time during a difficult transition in my life.  Yet I was still happy because I've never been alone and I've always had a sense of purpose in my life.  Even now, I'm going through some of the toughest times I've experienced in a while (nothing to do with money), yet I feel happy every new day because I know each day is a chance to start over with a clean slate.  I know that no matter what happens, I'm not alone, so I'll be ok. 

Harry Connick Jr. has a great lyric that is pretty on point.  "It's better to be married in a cardboard shack than to be alone in a castle."  The song is about marriage, but it's a similar idea.  Life is better with a sense of purpose and the knowledge that God is with us.  I'll take that over being wealthy any day.  In fact, if wealth will be a hindrance to knowing and relying on God, I don't want it.  I mean that truly from the bottom of my heart.  It's not just rhetoric for me anymore. 

I don't have any groovy swimbaits to give away, but I will make an attempt to do something nice by simply asking the participants in this section not to unload on TCook.  Thankfully no one has so far.  ;D  He is entitled to share his opinions honestly and openly without being judged.  TCook, if for any reason you would be interested a free lunch, it's on me.  And I won't try to convert you...I promise.  Just lunch.  I don't have any swimbaits, but I'm all about a good meal, so that's all I got.   ;D

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 04:57:42 PM »

Well said, as usual!

And I certainly hope my last post is taken totally positively as it was meant to be, and in no way as an 'unload' on anyone. You're exactly right - we're all here to be supportive and not critical. I appreciate his openess and honesty in expressing his view. And I REALLY appreciate the tip he gave me last year about Muskegon - it helped us wint the tournament! You're the man TCook!
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dashaver63

Re: Optimism
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2008, 05:57:32 PM »

4 and a half years ago, my wife was diganosed with M.S. and I've been supporting a family of 6 since. Then about a year later, my mother in law suffered a heart attack and several strokes so we all moved in to her house to take care of her. Then last fall she suffered more strokes and is now totally bedridden with the feeding tube. We have a hospital bed in our living room for her so she would not have to go to a nursing home. Home Health comes to help give baths and change bedding, an RN comes to draw blood once a month. And then there is the ever worsening economy and out of control gas prices. Every day is an adventure here. When all this started happening, I absolutely felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I really had no idea what I was going to do, so I asked God for help. He has since given my wife and I a peace that things are going to all work out in His timing. If I had done nothing and just dwelled on this, it would have torn me up. Having faith in God has me looking forward to a brighter tommorrow. The only real diversion we ever get is my fishing those BFL events. He sent a friend that has paid my entries and my wife and kids loves to hear all about my "adventures" when I get home. I was able to fish the Fall Open last year and hopefully should be able to attend the Spring Open still. I told you all this because I wanted to show what a wanderful God we serve! My faith in Him and His promises are what gives me hope and keeps me going every day.
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TCook

Re: Optimism
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 07:59:41 PM »

I knew I should have kept away from the christian board, it always opens a can of worms like this. Although I did not notice Revtro's post was in that section until now, I should have paid closer attention. I was posting more about why the majority of people effected by the slow economy might not find help through religion. I just beleive it is not a situation in which people should hope for things to get better but instead get out there and make things better for themselves.
   Personally I have not been effected by the slow economy, I just have a crappy job. Money is not what makes me happy it just allows me to do the things I love like bass fishing. I was just speaking about friends and relatives who are having problems in this area, I hear about it all the time.  Josh I like the idea about Pay it Forward but I do not need the baits because I cannot afford to buy my own. I would be all about giving and expecting nothing in return. Revtro I am open to have lunch with you any time, I will be at all the BFL's. I wouldnt worry about converting me because I grew up as a catholic went to a catholic highschool and decided it was not for me, I have heard it all. I apologize for the intrusion on the christian board and will stear clear from here on out.

Fasttrack It made my day when you guys won that on Muskegon.

T
   
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 11:21:00 PM by TCook »
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WayneC

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 09:49:26 PM »

Hey 'T...no intrusion at all.  Believe it or not, as believer's, it can be refreshing to engage someone with a frank point of view.  Most folks seem happy enough to sail through life without plotting an actual course.  The Bible is clear on this point that God would rather we be hot or cold, not luke warm.

I too grew up Catholic and did it all by being an altar boy, going through K-12 education and playing and singing in the church folk group.  This wasn't enough for me either but the experience did engrave on my heart that there was a God, 4 sure.  Now the question I needed answered was: since all these religions were reading from the same Bible, who was actually living the life?  As it turns out, Christians are everywhere and found in all Bible based churches.  It really comes down to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Knowing Christ is a lot like hitting the lottery, just better.  Instead of only your financials being cared for, God is most interested in making us a whole person.  I think the evidence is out there about lottery winners and how many of them end up bankrupt in the end.  The "in the end" part about being a Christian is very cool but along the way, each day is better than the last as we grow to know Him and the purpose for our lives.

I would encourage you to intrude all you like.  You'll always be welcome here.

motocross269

Re: Optimism
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 11:49:01 PM »

Puting your faith in Jesus goes a long way towards building optimism..
I have always traveled on the Fringe of being a good christian..I don't think I am anywhere near where I need to be, but I am working on it..Over the last couple of years God has shown me that he is in control..I can only follow his lead...
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Revtro

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2008, 09:52:47 AM »

Tcook, you're never an intrusion.  Feel free to share your views as often as you wish.  We're a pretty open hearted bunch of guys and as Wayne mentioned, you're always welcome here. 

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2008, 02:38:35 PM »

Yeah Moto...I think anyone who aspires to serving God and leading a Christian life probably feels like a "fringe" Christian.  I think the one thing that gave me confidence was this scripture (Eph 1:13 & 14):

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of His glory."  NIV

That was pretty much the turning point because I realized it really wasn't about how I felt, but about the fruits of the Spirit being evident in my life.  I can always be better and do more but in my heart I know that the times when I am obedient and it does bear spiritual fruit, are the times that confirm to me that my faith is active and real.

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Re: Optimism
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2008, 08:31:33 PM »

I see no can of worms. I see discussion about the condition of being human. And I see varying reactions as you can expect when you are involved with various people.

As far as the actual topic of this thread, I am guilty as charged at times and regret it enough I should remember more often enough to do it much less. Maybe not at all, but that is the raving of a recovering perfectionist (slowly) probably.

I think this board is definitely on the positive side of the 'leave the world in better shape than we found it' meter. Thanks for the great topic Rev.
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