“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells» (2 Peter 3: 13).
Temperance is usually associated with food, work and other aspects of life, but what is rarely talked about is temperance against negativity and gloomy and depressing attitudes. Looking at the dark side of things or expecting bad things to happen in the future define what we commonly known as pessimism, and in many cases it is rooted as a personality trait. Is it possible to change this harmful habit of thinking? In what way can an optimistic personality trait be developed?
Two basic strategies are effective in developing optimism as a strength of character. If we define optimism as the ability to look at the positive side of things we first need to familiarize our mind to focus on the best things in our life. How do we do that? You can write down in a diary every reason for gratitude that comes to your mind. Remember the best thing that happened to you during the day, week, month, or even in your life if you like! Ask yourself: What am I thankful for? Remember to note down each proof of God’s care and love! You can call this gratitude psychotherapy and if you do it daily, you will be able to develop the habit of looking at the best things from your past.
However, we also need to develop the habit of expecting the best from the future. Expecting that good things will happen in the future is another way of defining optimism. But how can we expect the best from our future if it did not even happen? How can we do it when there are so many disasters that surround us?
Having positive expectations about the future is possible if we fix our eyes on God’s promises. Each biblical promise is a balm for the believer—a balm that brings comfort in suffering, adversities or pain. You can ask God to help you find a promise for every day. Repeat it during the following 24 hours and put it down next to the gratitude reasons. By doing that on a daily basis you will help develop the habit of setting your eyes toward the best possible future.
Even if science has not yet discovered the value of psychotherapy of the promises, you can be sure that you will receive strength and vigor by trusting the One who uttered them. It is certain that life can be filled with doubts, discouragement and confusion; however, the promises will help you get closer to God instead of pull you away from Him. May God help you expect a glorious future according to His promises.