When Half Empty is a Better Definition of Optimism

Posted by on May 13, 2009 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us.”
– Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

Optimism is often defined as a glass half full as opposed to half empty. Regarding yesterday’s post and my full wagon I have to say that in this case the half empty wagon is more optimistic.

As the day proceeded, I began emptying things out of that wagon and felt a bit of a relief. I found that it began changing my outlook from “woe is me” to “whoopee”! It reminded me of the Hebrews study toward the end where we looked at the first few verses in Hebrews 12. I began laying aside the encumbrances that were slowing me down. I not only got to cleaning the bathrooms (sing “Victory in Jesus” here) but I progressed to dusting and vacuuming half the house. I ran a couple of errands that I had buried in the wagon under other things, too.

It was a red letter day; or should I say a “red wagon” day?

There is some basic Christian walk information in this whole picture of the red wagon being loaded with encumbrances that weigh us down in our Christian life. At some point we have to deal with the junk, or else. What are some “or else’s”?

  • Hopelessness sets in and that leaves our mind wide open for the prowling enemy to invade it with lies.
  • Simply said, we get grumpy. That can lead to mean attitudes that can spill over and into the words that come out of our mouths or the tone in which the words proceed gets a bit nasty.
  • Laziness sets in with its companion, procrastination.
  • Avoidance and justification tag along with those other two. We may avoid those people or situations that make us face up to or remind us of the item(s) in the red wagon.

Can anybody relate?

At this point in posting, I have begun to wonder how to keep the wagon from getting so full in the first place. Maybe these are some suggestions for myself. See if they make sense to you and apply to you as well.

  • Spend quality time alone with God.
  • Prayerfully commit to things so your wagon doesn’t get so overloaded that your priorities get out of whack and your schedule reflects your wagon’s appearance.
  • Deal with things in a more timely fashion.
  • Don’t let the things in the wagon consume your thoughts to the point of suffering overwhelmation (that’s a Beth Moore word and it’s a good one). Somehow, figure out a way to move through the pile and clean it out. If it’s easier to start with the less burdensome encumbrances to whittle away, then start there. For me personally, I chose the least favorite thing to do first (cleaning the baths) and found a burst of energy to move on to a couple of other things.
  • Space out the time spent on the things in your wagon. I know that when I try to get it all done in one day it just does not seem to happen.

Sometimes the things in our wagons are not tangible things that can be done in a day or even things that can be done or ticked off a to-do list. They can be wrong attitudes, past hurts, past memories of our old selves, and/or specific sins that we are toting around. In some cases, we just can’t maneuver them out of the wagon alone. In those cases, enlist the help of a wise and godly counselor, pastor, spouse, mentor, a parent, or friend.

I doubt our times of the wagons being empty will outnumber the times they are filled. As soon as I finish this post, I will be emptying out more in my own so I can have a little breathing room. Something else is sure to come along that could take up some of that space in mine.

One final word on dealing with the junk in the wagon. Don’t get yourself another wagon and just move the junk back and forth between the two. Before you know it, you’ll have both filled up to the brim.

Here is a true text message story between Rob and me yesterday. I think you will see how it relates. A bit of background is beneficial to you first. Remember that Robert had come home from UGA last Wednesday and put a carload of stuff on the dining room table and also on the floor outside his bedroom. Here’s the texting conversation:

Me: A picture of the clean dining room table was sent to him with the note, “all gone!”.
Rob: What did you do? Move it to the living room sofa?

See what I mean? Gotta love it!

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