During an impromptu open forum style meeting at work, my manager declared a phrase that stuck with me for the rest of that day: “Thanksgiving Lunch will be from 12 to 12:45.” He also said: “Always assume positive intent.” In context, he was talking about whenever approached by managers, or even our fellow co-workers, when given criticism or advice about our work, not to automatically assume it’s something bad or someone looking to make us fail. What followed was a discussion about tone of said advice and it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Respect!
Anyway, assuming and thinking positively isn’t always easy, even for an optimistic like myself. However, I tend to be somewhat of a conflicted, contradicting oxymoron by calling myself an optimistic, cynical Christian. I hope for the best outcome yet still think the worst about some people that I’m supposed to love like my neighbor. Like I said, a contradiction. But even in the bleakest of times, I still look for the brightest of moments. And I always remember, this situation is temporary.
I’ve always been a glass half-full thinker, yet I’ve also been that kid that wondered who filled the glass halfway. Or did someone just not finish their drink? Is it water? I always assumed it was water. Maybe it’s vodka. Or gasoline. Anyway, even with looking for the brighter better result, I’m still a realist. I’m still allowed to dream big, we all should. My only advice is not to let your head get too high in the sky with pie that you confuse realists that support you with doubting naysayers that don’t believe in you. We all encounter both but we need the realists to help guide us and reel us in if we float too far off course chasing our dreams.
But how did I get this way? I can’t be too sure, but I know that my faith in God bolsters it. People that observe my life from the outside could chalk my past accomplishments, achievements and experiences to coincidence, happenstance or luck. I give the credit to God looking out for me because I trust Him with my life and ask for His guidance in the choices I make. Something all Christians should be doing on a daily basis, but I’ll be the first to confess I fail regularly. Perhaps I should have prayed first before financing that yacht.
I’m fully aware that I give off the persona of a passive, carefree, easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl, and the majority of the time (modeling contracts aside) that is true. I rarely let anything phase me, at least on the outside. Internally, I might be a nervous wreck, full of panic, worry and confusion, but that’s when I have to come to terms yet again with what I believe and how strong my faith is. If it’s something that’s in my power to control or do, I must set aside anxiety and take action. Sometimes I need to feel that anxiety first, and give it a deadline. But if the situation is something I can change, then I can’t sit around too long and wait. If it’s beyond me, then I make a quick call to Someone bigger than the problem–and not worry. In fact, Christians are told countless times in the Bible to be still and often to wait on God. Easier said than done. But it works. (And the link is great resource for a lot of what I’m writing here.)
For a few months this year I was unemployed. It was the first time in a very long time I ever left a job without having another one lined up, an important rule of life my father taught me. Another rule is never pass up a free plate. I left with complete faith and confidence that God would provide for my needs and the next job. Now don’t get me wrong, I was job hunting every other day and made some extreme cutbacks in my lifestyle (except giving up Netflix, because Netflix). But I managed to do some odd jobs here and there, temp work, with loads of support from my family and friends, before landing at the job I’m still figuring out now. I’m still getting back on my feet, but I was never really down. I struggled, but I wasn’t without a home, food, transportation. And I’m grateful for that. You can attribute my survival to whatever you’d like, but I know it’s more than just coincidence. I had no idea where I would end up or how I would get there, but I decided to trust God to get me there.
No, it wasn’t an easy few months. I mean I was terrified of telling my former boss I was quitting. But we’re still on cool terms and on my last day he gave me a bottle of his finest homemade syrup and the guarantee if I ever needed anything, he’s got my back. Good Guy Emil.
Let me make it clear, by no means is this a declaration of lazy prayers and wishes, my personal spin on The Secret, or putting positive thoughts out there while I sit around binge watching The Blacklist. You still have to put in work and do your part. Let up a little on the “what if I don’t?” and give a little more “what if I do?” and see how that works out for you. And if you do give prayer a try, pray with expectation.
God wants us to live life here on Earth to the fullest. There are some rotten miscreants we have to deal with that make living that life difficult, but these are the pros and cons of having free will. (Did you see that? I may have justified my cynicism.) In any event, I still go about my day thinking positively and expecting the best God may have to offer. I still occasionally get the short end of the stick, or left out in the cold, or caught holding the bag, or stuck in the tree of feral cats (that’s not a saying, is it?), but I know those situations are temporary. Even the Bible says that it rains on the just and unjust alike. Bad things will happen to everyone as it’s the cost of being alive.
So why worry about the things you can’t change? I certainly don’t. Okay, I lied. I do. I just don’t admit that I do. I can’t control the weather, so if it rains on my picnic, I just pull out an umbrella to keep the food dry. Not my best analogy, but silver linings are what I’m going for. Life will only get you down if you let it. I’m writing this to tell you aren’t alone and to pass along some hope. And if you’re a Christian like me, you should be reminded that all things work for your good. You may not see that goodness or understand why today, tomorrow, or ever, but everything happens for a reason. And no matter what may happen to me today, it’s only to make me better tomorrow.