Realist vs. Reality

I have always wanted to be an optimist.

Is it just me, or does the world just love optimists? Ya know, the always bubbly, glass-more-than-half-full, the-world-is-your-oyster, [insert cliche here], people? I have always wanted to be a person that people walk away from thinking, “Gosh, I just love being around her!” 

Anyone else?

And yet – when it comes down to it, I’m just too much of a realist to be a full-fledged optimist. Despite my best efforts, I simply can’t let go of that rational side of me. By no means would I consider myself a pessimist (and I hope no one else would either!), but total optimism… For me, it’s always tainted with just a little dose of “reality.”

But recently, I have wrestled with this question:

If I claim to be a follower of Christ, who according to the Word is not bound by any limitation, then at what point is my realism no longer realistic?

Countless times (especially since graduating college) I have been excited, hopeful, or dare I say – optimistic – about a possibility or dream when suddenly it’s shattered by “reality” and promptly deemed unlikely, or worse, altogether unattainable. I’ve comforted myself with the explanation that I am simply being realistic. But am I? Or am I simply limiting the options so as to equally limit the potential for heartbreak?

Here we are at a lack of trust again. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

See, I want to fully believe in God’s faithfulness – that “He who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6 ESV). Still, I’m a pro at creating potential road blocks and then convincing myself that God isn’t able “to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT). Did you see that last part? “Or think.” That’s right – not only is He able to do more than I could ask, but He is able to do more than I could ever even think of asking! And yet, I determine that my realist mindset is much more  of a safe bet than placing my faith and hope fully in the God who promises this type of reality. Seems legit.

Even as I write this I struggle with the lack of cohesiveness of this entry because it is difficult to wrap my mind around this concept. Rather, it is difficult for me to accept that God’s reality is available to be my reality, if only I would just choose to let go of my shoddy reality. I don’t know why. I sit here, re-reading my own sentences, acknowledging that I am dealing with undue stress because I’m holding so tightly to this false idea that if I fully trust Him to work out the details of the areas in my life that feel so hopeless my head may float off my shoulders and into the clouds, never to be salvaged, wasting more precious time.

Because when it comes down to it, that’s the fear: Even if I can trust Him to fulfill my dreams and desires, I’m not so sure He understands that I have a timeline – and so far, it ain’t on schedule. We’ve got some catching up to do, God, so if it’s all the same to you, I’d like to hurry this along…

How arrogant of me! And honestly, it’s a thought process that completely cancels out the ounce of trust I say I’m putting in Him to begin with.

If it’s not already evident, I haven’t fully worked through this one yet. I’m still in the struggling. But I’m seeking. I’m clinging to encouragement. I’ve dug enough to hit the root. I know what needs to change in my heart and I know that despite my vast imperfection, He is patient and pursuing me even when try to run the other way.

Hopefully one day I will be the optimist – the girl who encourages everyone she encounters – but I pray that it will be because people are drawn to my reliance on and hope in Christ. Nothing else.

Until then, if you’re out there feeling even one bit of what I have inadequately attempted to express, please know that you are not the only one, so keep choosing trust.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. ~Corrie ten Boom


Alyssa Leigh


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